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Tell me why your children went to preschool

(43 Posts)
ArriettyMatilda Wed 08-Jul-15 13:42:35

I am wondering as a sahp what is the benefit of putting my dd in childcare or into a preschool. It looks like I'd have to pay for two terms before she is entitled to the free bit as most places do a September intake. This means her starting at 2.5, which I feel could be too early (at the moment I feel 5 is too young for formal education). Also we literally spend what we earn, so where would I get the extra money from! I can't get my head around why this will be a good thing, except that one place I looked at, for example, expects 3 year olds to attend 5 sessions a week, so she would be going from nothing to suddenly doing 5 half days.

I know there would be lots of learning opportunities for her and time to be social, but I do take her to toddler groups and the sure start centre, plus music group. I could also take her swimming more regularly and we go for walks outside, to the forest and park.

Can any sahps persuade me otherwise? What will she miss out on if she doesn't start at 2.5 or even if she doesn't go at all?

sleepwhenidie Wed 08-Jul-15 13:47:15

I felt mine were more than ready for the social aspect and (for me) I wasn't that enthusiastic about doing lots of toddler groups etc. We could afford it, it was an amazing nursery and they absolutely loved it, got loads out of it - but in your situation, if you are happy and it makes more financial sense to keep her out I really don't think DD will be missing out on anything by waiting another 6-12 months before starting smile

PosterEh Wed 08-Jul-15 13:50:28

My dd is due to start at 3.5 and in the last 6months she's been well overdue going. She's bored by toddler groups and wants to play with children her own age or older. I've found that we don't meet children older than 3 very often anymore.

At 2.5 she would barely speak to other adults but now she's confident and seems to want a bit more independence. She talks excitedly about starting.

I'm also hoping that it might take the pressure of me a bit (I'd never have believed it but 3 is worse than 2).

So I suppose my advice would be to be careful you're not ruling it out completely for the future.

Raasay Wed 08-Jul-15 13:50:30

I sent mine at 2.5 to two 2.5 hour sessions a week at a Playgroup .

My main reason was so that they would have some experience of a learning experience without me.

At that time I was a SAHM with occasional babysitting from grandparents and they were very rarely not with me. I felt that some time without Mummy might be beneficial.

Also as twins I wanted them to have the opportunity to make individual friends.

They actually really blossomed and it was a fantastic experience.

ShelaghTurner Wed 08-Jul-15 13:50:55

Because they were/are very clingy and needed to get used to other children. Also the preschool, although not attached, is on the same site as the primary school so they get used to going there and 2/3 of the children from preschool will be in their class at school.

sleepwhenidie Wed 08-Jul-15 13:51:20

Just looking at the last part of your OP, re 'not going at all', if you mean nothing before starting reception then I do think she would miss out on quite a bit in that sense. Reception would probably be a much bigger shock in terms of what is expected of her, not necessarily academically but socially and routine wise. At pre-school they get used to doing different things together at set times of day, taking on responsibilities such as laying out snack, hanging up coats, helping tidy up, take turns etc in a school-like setting. Also by the time she is 3-4 she will have outgrown the company of most DC's at toddler groups etc. I think a year of pre-school is a good idea.

Raasay Wed 08-Jul-15 13:52:04

I will say the first time they come home having learned something you haven't taught them is a fantastic experience.

sleepwhenidie Wed 08-Jul-15 13:52:34

x-post with poster and after!

LibrariesGaveUsPower Wed 08-Jul-15 13:56:12

I have two questions really :

- why can't she start at 3.5 the following September;

- do all the places round you require you use five mornings?

dementedpixie Wed 08-Jul-15 13:57:58

my 2 started at age 3 when they got their free sessions. They went straight to 5 x 2.5 hours each week.

It gave me time to shop in peace or do an exercise class and they got to socialise with people other than me.

ArriettyMatilda Wed 08-Jul-15 14:04:13

Thanks for all your comments, I can see I shouldn't rule it out as PosterEh has mentioned. Raasay makes a good point, dd is always with me or her dad as family live far away.

I'm just concerned about the all or nothing I.e. It has to be 5 mornings a week at 3. Maybe I need to look at a few more and see if I can find one that's more flexible.

With the cost of it I really can't see how I can pay for two terms to ensure she gets a place for the free hours in the summer term (with lots of preschools only having intake in September), but then dd wouldn't start until September 2017 when she'd be 4 at the beginning of the spring term, and I'm now a bit concerned that might be too long for her to wait if she is ready by 3 years old.

Lweji Wed 08-Jul-15 14:06:54

DS started 5 mornings at 3.75 and he was fine.

Meanwhile you can socialise her a bit, if you haven't, by going often to the park, library, play areas, toddler groups, etc.

ArriettyMatilda Wed 08-Jul-15 14:08:22

X-post LibrariesGaveUsPower, I suppose no reason why she can't start then. I'm not sure starting in the summer term and then having 6 weeks off would be a good thing anyway.

One of the places, which I like in terms of environment and ethos does but Ive only just started looking so I can't answer that right now.

BabyGanoush Wed 08-Jul-15 14:09:18

The main reason to send my kids to preschool for 3 hours 3 times a week was that I felt I needed a break, every now and then.

I was sure they'd be fine, make friends and learn to not be with me 24/7.

I want to be able to piss in peace

perfectlybroken Wed 08-Jul-15 14:10:18

Ds1 started at 2.5 because I felt we both needed him to have a bit of time somewhere else other than with me. He enjoyed it but I think it would have been fine for him to start at 3.

ArriettyMatilda Wed 08-Jul-15 14:10:59

Dementedpixie that does sound like it would rather be nice, if a bit indulgent for me at the moment.

You are all persuading me it will be a good thing for both of us, but perhaps waiting until the year she is 3 for the September intake that year.

LibrariesGaveUsPower Wed 08-Jul-15 14:15:17

Ok. If your answer had been that the pre schools round you were so full that you needed to do two full years of five mornings I would say maybe not worth it.

If you can start at 3.5, particularly if you can do fewer than 5 mornings, then absolutely worth it smile

The reason most places only have September intakes is that children only leave in July (to start school) making spare spaces. If they hold a place for a child to start at Easter then they miss two terms of income but still have to pay their bills. The pre-school I'm involved with had to stop offering other start dates as we nearly went bankrupt! The tight funding is also the reason many places want five days - there is a lot of paperwork involved per child. If you have 30 children five days a week then you have half as much paperwork (almost) as 60 children doing shorter combinations. which adds up to a lot of staff hours and costs.

That said, DD1 did two terms (for various reasons) and DD2 will have done 5 (I paid for 2). Neither did 5 days. The benefits have been massive.

They are mostly to do with independence. Going to a toddler group with your mum is very different to going off and socialising with other children and relying on adults whose main attention isn't on you. Also things like queuing, taking turns, confidence in going to the loo alone, etc.

Also, bluntly, DD2 probably does 8-10 activities in her 3 hour session. I can't offer an art activity, a role play activity, a construction activity, etc, etc all every morning.

Also bear in mind that, when other children go to pre-school, the toddler groups will empty of children her own age. Take a look around at the ones you go to. Are there many 3-4 year olds? Because that can be really hard.

WaferInMyCoffee Wed 08-Jul-15 14:15:23

I would wait til the September after she is 3. My opinion is that a year of preschool is sufficient. In answer to your title question my DD goes to preschool so I can go to work smile

magichandles Wed 08-Jul-15 14:18:56

DD1 is autumn born and started 2 mornings a week (3 hours) a month before she turned 3, then went up to 4 mornings (then 5 pretty quickly after) - so she did 2 years of preschool before starting Reception.

I wanted her to start preschool as at the time I was desperate for a bit of a break to be honest, however, she loved it and it was excellent preparation for her to be in the best place to start school, not necessarily academically, but being used to following instructions from teachers, carpet time and things like that.

FatSwan Wed 08-Jul-15 14:22:14

I'm sending my DD to preschool come September for 5 mornings a week. I struggled with the idea, but I honestly can't wait now.

She'll be able to make friends of her oen choosing rather than me setting up playdates.

She'll learn that she has to listen to adults other than me and her dad.

She'll get into a routine that will encourage her self-help skills.

I'll get a break!

I'll probably be a bit emotional on the first day but ultimately I think it will be a good thing.

Notso Wed 08-Jul-15 14:33:03

I'm never sure what people mean by pre-school is it playgroup?
I'm a SAHM and mine have all started the free Nursery attached to a school the September after they turned 3 (DC4 starts this Sept) one of them was December born so eligible for four free mornings of early entitlement.

Many of the activities they do I could do at home with them. Things I can't provide are peer to peer learning, they do little focus tasks and discuss ideas and answers together, the chance to be away from me, the chance to learn from adults who aren't emotionally attached and who don't have to get on with shopping, cooking and washing, the chance to go to the forest school, have a sports day, a huge pirate party, a superhero day, my eldest is 15 and has two very close friends she made at Nursery.

LibrariesGaveUsPower Wed 08-Jul-15 14:40:25

Yes Notso. Playgroup. But some areas confusingly call the 'mum stays in a church hall' things playgroup not toddler group, so more people now say pre-school. smile

whatsagoodusername Wed 08-Jul-15 14:44:06

Both of mine started preschool at 2.9/10, and will have had two years there before starting in Reception.

They are both quite independent and were very happy to play at activities without me. I found the toddler groups around us mostly had younger children and they didn't interact with the other children particularly. Plus the routine of nursery has really helped with DS2 in particular - he would never sit during group activities and now with preschool he is actually learning to. By the time he gets to reception next year, I'm hoping he'll be able to sit and pay attention.

And I really enjoy having mornings to myself. grin

mrsplum2015 Wed 08-Jul-15 14:44:08

If you don't need the break now just wait and put her in from age 3.5 when it's free. By then she (and you!!) will be desperate for 5 half days a week so I wouldn't worry about that.

whatsagoodusername Wed 08-Jul-15 14:45:21

And DS2 was absolutely desperate to begin after watching DS1 go for a year!

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