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poor oppertunities

(12 Posts)
mum2zak Wed 28-Oct-09 22:19:19

i have a son who is almost 3 and we are struggling to find a decent nursery for him. we are a low income family and live in a poor part of a city where all the schools in our catchment area are very poor quality.

my son is seemingly quite bright for his age especially when it comes to anything to do with maths and seems to pick things up amazingly quickly (or maybe im just being a proud mum, but many others have commented also)

basically im really worried about his eduational oppertunities, i have applied to nurseries outside the catchment area but have failed to get a place, if it is this hard for nursery im sure finding a decent school place will be even more difficult. just wondering if anyone has been in a similar situation or has any advice on what to do.

choosyfloosy Wed 28-Oct-09 22:21:41

It may not be the right place to start off the responses, but might home education be an option for you and your son?

I don't home educate myself but IMO it's always worth considering. Lots of info in the HE topic area here.

CaptainNancy Wed 28-Oct-09 22:26:58

I'm sorry you're struggling with nursery places.
You know- most of a child's education actually happens outside school- in the home. At 3yo the biggest influences on his life are you and his family. Keep talking to him, taking an interest in his exploration and interests, introducing him to new things- different music, physical activities, new books or toys from the library, etc

Nursery places have no bearing on school applications- or at least in our authority they do not- people who have a nursery place at a school are not guaranteed a reception place, so you have as much chance as all the other applicants.

I don't know your situation, so I can't really say 'move house' ... but it may be the best idea in the long term. Of course if you are tied to HA or LA housing, that isn't going to help you much, sorry. Are you working at all? Go and see the schools he could get into. If the schools are really as poor as you think, perhaps HE is an option?

ronshar Wed 28-Oct-09 22:35:09

Maybe you should try to find a local independant school. They take the nursery voucher. You can then apply for a bursery if DS is bright.

Try to do lots of easy number counting and go through the alphabet. If you go to local library, find books on Phonics. That is the letter sounds pre reading system most schools use.

mum2zak Wed 28-Oct-09 23:00:27

thanks for all your advice. moving house is no option as we are with housing association and if i work by the time we pay for childcare etc we will be worse off, but im currently studying to finish my degree so in the future things may change. i have considered home education but feel it may be difficult as i have a younger son also to look after, but i think i will have a more indepth look at it as it is increasing seeming like our only option!

unfortuantly we dont have the nursery voucher scheme here you basically go to wherever you get a place and its usually in the closest one.

we do do lots of counting, basic addition, subtraction, tells the time on the hour, knows all shapes etc all basic maths stuff. i also have been showing him the jolly phonics scheme and he has learnt half the letters but is not that interested anymore - he just likes doing!

CaptainNancy Thu 29-Oct-09 08:40:44

Playing shops is a great way for him to practice his counting, and might encourage letter use too- maybe you could make a price list, and he could guess the vegetables from first sound? or playing 'cafes' or whatever.

I don't know how you spend your days, but joining your local nursery (however poor it may be) might be a good way to improve his socialisation skills- a lot of learning at nursery is about how to be part of a group, how to share and take turns, wait for things, sit down quietly, eat at table nicely etc etc etc. Also one of the big things it teaches is that there is not just one way of doing things- there will be different rules at nursery to at home, and it is an important skill for children to learn that different situations have different rules and boundaries. There is also the effect of peer pressure in terms of encouraging them to try new things- eg my dd's physical development really took off once she started nursery school, mainly because wanting to keep up with her friends encouraged her to abandon her caution a little.

And of course, it would give you a break and a little time to spend with your younger son one-to-one which will be invaluable for him and his development too. smile

ronshar Thu 29-Oct-09 09:09:28

The main thing to remember is that your DS is only three. He is still a baby. If you try and push too hard now he will get really bored and by the time he gets to school proper it will be difficult for him to fit in.

Repeat what CN just said. Nursery isnt about learning how to count read etc. It is about learning to play well and interact with other children. Very valuable life skills. Sometimes more important that academic skills.

I thought that the government gave 12.5 hours of free nursery to EVERY child in the country. Nurseries have to supply places.

lljkk Thu 29-Oct-09 09:53:06

Why do you describe your local schools as 'poor quality'? Why do you feel that you can say that with confidence?

There may be a small contingent of children exactly like yours, OP, in the same area: if so, the nurseries/schools will likely respond well to meet their needs. I would only be worried if I had strong reason to believe that he was outstandingly bright compared to absolutely every other child.

Also, more money gets put into schools in socially deprived areas than into schools in privileged areas (Fact). Class sizes tend to be smaller, too. Opportunities to learn more about other parts of the world are usually greater.

If I were you, I'd visit the local preschools, and choose the one that suited my child best (and given that we are white, I would be inclined to choose an especially multi-cultural school -- that would be extra stimulation for him). And then see how things go.

mum2zak Thu 29-Oct-09 13:40:45

thank you captainnancy for your ideas i will definatly try those!
i dont think anyone would say i push my child - mainly because i dont really have the time to spend with a baby also, drumming things into him, he really does things by himself with me explaining a little and reading and singing rhymes a lot, and from watching tv and as we have a large exended family around us he has lots of older cousins who teach him things etc he only has to be told or shown something once and he will remember it.

my concerns with the nurseries here is that as we live pretty much next door to one is the amount the police are there sorting out things that the local older kids have damaged, plus its next to a park so people throw empty beer cans, glass bottles etc into the nursery playground. ive seen physical fights between the parents outside school gates. the language used by both parents and children is awful. i could go on and on. i may sound like a snob to some but i dont think thats the type of environment for children to learn. im not blaming the school as such im sure they are doing their best.

we are a mixed race muslim/christian family, and our friends are from all over the world so our children mix very well in that sense so thats not something that is a particular concern for us as it is part of their homelife and general life anyway.

apostropheisback Thu 29-Oct-09 14:16:41

You might find an answer with the Sutton Trust. It's designed to help bright kids from less advantaged backgrounds.

Good luck, and be reassured that one of the most important factors in your son's success is how much support he gets from you. And it looks like you're already supporting him

helencw77 Thu 29-Oct-09 22:32:00

Hiya, it sounds like you are doing some serious thinking, and it's definitely good to look in advance at nurseries and schools etc. I certainly don't think it's snobbish to want the best for your children, your local nursery sounds awful. I know that home support is extremely important, but given that children spend so much of their time at school then I can understand that it worries you if his peer group are thugs and hooligans. The term after your son turns 3, he will be entitled to 5 sessions of 3 hour childcare per week. I'm pretty sure you can take that wherever you choose so definitely look a bit further away if you can get a bus, or drive or something.

As for schools, my ds did not get into any of our chosen local schools. We ended up phoning around and seeing if schools had places left (ie under-subscribed). We found a lovely school, 15 minutes drive from us, but it's not popular as is just an infant school. I have since heard of another really nice undersubcribed school just because it didn't have many 4 year olds living close to it this year ! My ds' school has a good Ofsted, and my ds has really enjoyed his first half-term there. If you can find a less popular but still nice school, then apply for a place there and you might be lucky. Even if you get a rubbish place allocated to you (and don't get any of your choices), you can still phone round and see where might have places, it takes a bit of time, but it can be done. You still have a year before you have to apply for his place so you could put some groundwork in now and work out how far you could travel (20-30 minutes on a bus or drive even might be worth it).

Hope I'm making sense, I know others have given you advice on how to help your son out now at home, and I agree with them all too.

Builde Fri 30-Oct-09 09:57:24

Why don't you look for a private nursery; they can still take the funding that the government provides for children over 3. Therefore, the place is effectively free to you.

With respect to school places, they are to do with where you live and not to do with what nursery your child went to.

Plus, it might be worth taking a proper look at your nearest schools; arrange to see the head teacher. Sometimes reputations are worse than reality. Remember, that you never see the 'nice' children in a school because they are all walking home quietly with their parents or going to swimming lessons; it's the noisy, badly behaved ones that get noticed.

Our local school (and our dds school) is like that; full of lovely children but you only notice the badly behaved ones. In school, the behaviour is all good.

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