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Views on whether best to start f/t nursery at 3 or wait til aged 4 for August baby?

(20 Posts)
southpacific Mon 08-Jun-09 17:44:06

dd is 2 in August. We could apply for a place at a state nursery nearby but it is f/t from 3 which seems a bit much to me. Will dd be disadvantaged - socially even academically by not being at nursery f/t if she joins the school at 4? I don't think so but it seems unusual nowadays to wait until children are 4 to start their education.

SoupDragon Mon 08-Jun-09 17:46:30

Personally, I'd apply and see what she is like next September when she is due to start. You can always say you don't want the place at that time but you could struggle to get a place if you decide she would benefit.

Nursery is not education though. Not in my experience. DS2 had a whale of a time at the nursery attached to his primary school.

SoupDragon Mon 08-Jun-09 17:47:00

Oh, and it is only half days - at least it is here.

southpacific Mon 08-Jun-09 17:51:28

Thanks SoupDragon. I know it's not education but couldn't think of a better way to express it. It just seems odd to start nursery at 3 f/t and to even have issues with the nursery if you want to take them out for let's say holidays during term time which is what I've heard. It's hardly like they're in GCSE year now, is it?

SoupDragon Mon 08-Jun-09 17:54:26

I don't think nursery can give you hassle about taking them out. Legally they don't have to be there.

I think they do benefit from it, especially if they've not been away from you much. It makes school less daunting.

sunburntats Mon 08-Jun-09 17:58:51

Why does she have to go full time, is for your work, or is it all that they offer?

Mine went to playschool from bieng 2, it was 2.5 hour sessions twice a week.

there are several advantages to starting nursery before or at 3:

1) socialising and learning to mix and get along with other children not known to them.

2) messy play, they do this big time at nursery, much more than i ever did at home.

3) it gives you a break, which at first you will feel guilty about but there is allot to be said about wandering around a supermarket alone for once. You get absolutely TONS done in the time you have to yourself, it is a luxurious blissful time.(if you dont have to go to work)

4) They are gently introduced to structure, and learning rules, learning what happens at certain times of the day.

5) They have some wonderful craft ideas and your child will bring home the most amazing works of art that you will cherish, and stick to your fridge.

6) it is a small bit of independance from you, they learn that you dont have to be there all the time, but that you will be coming back for them.

Disadvantages
1) guilt guilt guilt

2) the bugs and the sharing of infections

3) the cost, they can be expensive.

overall i dont think that academia comes into it, they learn through play.
hth

tkband3 Mon 08-Jun-09 18:03:04

I think there's a lot children 'learn' at nursery without being aware of it - stuff like sharing, taking turns etc as well as just general socialising with other children (not suggesting at all that your DD doesn't already socialise with other children smile). If it is a nursery attached to a primary school I would imagine it is only half days - but 5 days a week...our nursery is 2.5 hours a day, either morning or afternoon sessions, with preference given to siblings of children in the primary school for the am session.

Our nursery has had issues with parents taking their children out for extended periods during term-time, primarily because it makes the child has to then effectively settle in again when they come back which can be difficult. Also, state nursery places can be very over-subscribed so you might be taking a place from another child who would attend every day.

If you are unsure, why not look at some privately run pre-schools in your area. Once your DD is 3, she gets funding anyway, so you wouldn't have to pay the full cost and private nurseries/pre-schools have more flexibility on attendance, eg your DD could go 2-3 mornings a week, instead of every day.

Either way, I would certainly recommend some form of pre-school before starting in reception - as SoupDragon says, it definitely makes school less daunting.

BeehiveBaby Mon 08-Jun-09 18:04:18

A lot of the school nurseries round here turn a blind eye to children being kept at home one day a week or a few afternoons. I felt it was too young though and have kept DD back until this September. She'll start FT 2 weeks before her 4th birthday but could have gone at 3.

southpacific Mon 08-Jun-09 18:09:53

Thanks very much SoupDragon, sunburnt and tkband3. The nursery is attached to a primary school but is full time. It's a very good school and although there's no guarantee of a place in reception if you're in the nursery - and I know of children in the nursery who didn't get a place in reception because there were others applying who lived nearer - there's a feeling that it might somehow help. It's a good idea to apply for a place but then maybe not take it up if she isn't ready - unless that will piss the school off and jeopardise a place in reception. Thanks once again for your responses.

southpacific Mon 08-Jun-09 18:11:49

Thanks Beehive.

BeehiveBaby Mon 08-Jun-09 18:13:30

The school won't give a hoot if you apply and don't take it....work hours could have changed or anything smile

southpacific Mon 08-Jun-09 18:23:41

Thanks again - sometimes I think I worry too much!

tkband3 Mon 08-Jun-09 18:34:55

As beehivebaby says, the school won't mind at all if you apply and don't take it - there'll probably be a waiting list of children who didn't get in who will snap up your place if you decide not to use it smile.

DadAtLarge Mon 08-Jun-09 19:42:12

Sorry to insert a negative note but children do learn the wrong things at nursery as well, even the "good" nurseries. They copy behaviour that they never displayed before, pick up words that you don't use at home and get nits. Mine unlearnt English and came back with gems like "you was" and "them books" to my very great annoyance (English is our second language and I shouldn't have to be unteaching them what they pick up in nursery). It took me months to knock the estuary out! And to get them to use "bottom" instead of "bum" and to do away with words like "sexy".

Warning: the works of art are more Tracy Emin's bed than Leonardo's Mona Lisa. It's a good thing we've got a fitted fridge (wooden door) and can't stick anything on it! ;)

BeehiveBaby Mon 08-Jun-09 19:58:27

I prefer 'bum' smile

BeehiveBaby Mon 08-Jun-09 19:59:25

....but did take DD1 out of playschool very quickly when she told my dad to 'f**k off' shock so I take your point!

DadAtLarge Mon 08-Jun-09 20:10:04

I prefer bums as well. And sexy ones. But DS will have to get to at least his teens before he has enough expertise to give me lessons

bigchris Mon 08-Jun-09 20:13:15

can you define full time?
is it a private school?
do you mean every morning all week?
do you work?

Portofino Mon 08-Jun-09 20:15:00

My dd started kindergarten in Belgium full time at 2.5. That is the norm here. She loves it and has gained so much from the experience. Playing, sharing, realising she is NOT queen bee all the time, covering lots of different themes, making friends....etc. I guess it depends on the nursery, and the child, but I have a lovely, well adjusted, very confident little girl.

Madsometimes Tue 09-Jun-09 10:47:09

I chose to start my August born dd1 in the January rather than the September to a school nursery. I thought that just aged 3 was rather young, particularly as she had only been out of nappies for a few months. This was for afternoons only. In fact, the nursery teacher was rather strict - she was a primary school teacher really, and dd1 would not have been ready at just 3 for her regime. (Not all nursery teachers are like this).

For dd2, I decided not to send her to school nursery at all. I chose a private nursery, where I could pick the sessions that I wanted and still let her continue with her music and swimming classes. The memory of the strict nursery teacher was still in my mind! dd2's nursery was lovely, and she would have been fine at just 3 or even 2. They had loads of staff and were very child focused (didn't care about accidents or children who fidgeted on the carpet).

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