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nursery vs childminder -thoughts anyone?

16 replies

fsouthwell · 01/03/2016 10:30

I'm looking for childcare for my son who will be 6 months when I go back to work. My daughter went to a nursery which was ok, but it has been recently rated poor by ofsted so I don't want him to go there. I've been recommended a childminder by one of the owners of the after school club my daughter goes to but I'm a bit unsure. Just wondered what other people's thoughts or experiences are?

OP posts:
PennyHasNoSurname · 01/03/2016 10:32

I use a CM and always planned to. I like the home from home feeling. One adult to care for them, doing stuff dc would be doing with me anyways at home (baking, popping to the post office, the park etc).

Dd now goes to a school nursery five afternoons a week (she is 4), and CM outside of these hours with her brother at the cms ft.

rainbowontheway · 01/03/2016 10:36

We chose a nursery for our son, although he was just gone a year when he started, so not sure if I'd have chosen differently for a younger child. How many hours / days would your child be in childcare a week? There is definitely some evidence that very young children find group childcare with multiple caregivers (ie nursery) stressful etc and benefit more from a childminder setting, especially if they do more than 20 hrs a week in childcare BUT I personally couldn't get comfortable with the idea of just one person taking care of my child and was more reassured by the idea of there being more people working in and visiting a nursery so that anything untoward would be more likely to be picked up, especially with such a young and pre-verbal child. And you have to decide what works best for you overall taking account of all advantages and disadvantages. There's never a perfect solution sadly. Good luck with your decision!

stargirl1701 · 01/03/2016 10:42

We chose a CM because we wanted attachment to one person for years in a home setting doing things we would do if we were at home - post office, bank, supermarket, library, etc.

Downside is covering sickness and holidays. We use GPs for that.

Quodlibet · 01/03/2016 10:48

We have used a CM from when our dd was 1. We visited lots and got recommendations. You will quickly get a sense of who is highly rated locally if you hang out in a few playgroups and talk to other mums/CM.

Personally I think small pre-verbal children need the close input and relationship of 1-1 care. It's scary leaving your child in any childcare setting but if you find the right CM they become almost a part of your family in my experience.

Paddingtonthebear · 01/03/2016 10:57

My DD is at a small nursery. I personally like the fact I'm not relying on just one person and that she is interacting with a varied group of adults and children rather than a couple of kids and one adult.

She didn't start until she was 1 year old and only goes two days a week though. If I was working full time or almost full time and she was in childcare from 8 months or whatever then I would have probably chosen a childminder for a quieter home setting.

It does depend on the setting and the child entirely though. I visited a couple of other nurseries and really didn't like them. The one we chose only has up to 22 kids max on their books, has two groups 1-3yrs and 3-5 yrs, doesn't have a baby room and is in a converted house so feels very homely. All staff fully qualified to NVQ level 3 and in 2.5 years only two staff members have left, both to go on Mat leave. They are also Ofsted outstanding. If we had to move her for any reason we would probably use the childminder that a friend uses, but again I'm not keen on relying on just one person.

namechangedtoday15 · 01/03/2016 11:49

It really depends, there are good and bad nurseries, and good and bad childminders.

For us, we chose a nursery, but it was voted best nursery in the country and I loved it the minute we went in. 1:2 staffing levels for the baby room (which was a separate part of the nursery, separate entrance, no interaction with older children, dedicated cots in a separate sleeping room), organic food. Didn’t think (even with the best will in the world) that a childminder would be able to accommodate that with other children of various ages. Also didn’t want the “popping out to the bank” or the school run every morning and afternoon when childminder was dropping / collecting other children. Chose carefully so they had a dedicated key worker and still got that attachment. Then as they got older, nursery could offer masses of age specific activities (rather than catering for a range of ages), lots of different rooms to explore, lots of activities going on. As they turned 3, they went into a more formal classroom with a qualified teacher which was amazing and really prepared them for school. Several of their friends from nursery all went to the same school.

For us – H and I both work and have appointments that cannot be moved, so the possibility of a childminder going sick with limited notice would have been disastrous. At least at a nursery its not just one person.

But – nursery probably more rigid in hours than a CM, probably more expensive. Its really down to your preferences and your circumstances.

fsouthwell · 01/03/2016 12:16

Thanks for all your replies.

He's going to be doing 40 hours across 4 days. I agree with most of the comments regarding childminders - I'd never considered them because of the holidays/sickness and the fact it's a single person who you just don't know what goes on after you leave. But then I guess the same could be said of a nursery. The cost in my area is actually slightly higher for the cm to be honest.

I went to meet the cm and she seems lovely and had all the relevant paperwork and has a good rating from ofsted. She addressed the holiday and sickness issues by telling me she has a contingency but is rarely I'll and she has no holidays booked so would work it around my needs. Which is great. I think the only way I will know for sure is to maybe have a trial period with her?

OP posts:
Plateofcrumbs · 01/03/2016 12:33

I went to see a couple of nurseries and a couple of childminders and there was only one I could really imagine entrusting with my child so I went with my gut. In my case that was a CM but I can imagine with a different selection of nurseries and CMs I might choose a nursery.

I don't mind the school run/trips to bank stuff - and I like the fact they get out and about a lot to playgroups, parks, museums etc, as well as all the activities you'd expect in either setting (painting, messy play, nursery rhymes etc).

The downside is that if she is ill or her children are ill we can be unexpectedly without cover and we also need to account for her holidays. The upside is she is much more flexible than a nursery - if I am delayed at work or by cancelled train I just send a quick text and I am not panicking about late fees or 'three strike rules' etc. The upsides outweighs the down for me.

eastmidswarwicknightnanny · 13/03/2016 20:32

For ds1 we did both initially 3days with cm from 9mths and added 1day nursery from 13mths then changed cm at 19mths as she had a baby/mat leabve so did 2 days of each til he started school at 4 worked well for us we took days off if cm was on hol (he went Tue n Fri which was good as I had Mon off so it just made for longer weekend) or if needed we booked extra session at nursery.

Both have their pros n cons and there are great cm and great nurseries equally there is the opposite.

Sadly cm was fully booked so ds2 now 15mths is in nursery 4days started at 9mths for 2.5days then 4 from 13mths I would have preferred a mix but its a little nursery different to one ds1 went to and couldn't find a cm we really liked found an OK o e but cost same as nursery and wasn't worth added inconvenience for what we saved which is OK had she of been great.

DaleTremont · 13/03/2016 20:38

Nursery for me. I work FT with no family nearby, I needed guaranteed childcare and didn't want to have to accommodate someone else's holidays or sickness. I also didn't want DD out and about, doing school runs etc. I also wasn't keen on one sole person being in charge of her.
I was however incredibly lucky having a fabulous nursery round the corner, so that helped. Pros and cons of each option really.

IndomitabIe · 13/03/2016 20:41

We use a mixture of nursery & cm (our cm works part time, otherwise we'd have her ft!). This has been a winning combo - often if the cm has a problem, the nursery can take DS and vice versa.

It's also given DS a different set of opportunities, another set of friends. It's been ideal, frankly, and I recommend it. Having the the cm for part of the week makes it feel less like f/t childcare. They have a fantastic bond and she's been an amazing help in negotiating parenting! (I realise not all cm's would be quite like this though!)

jannier · 15/03/2016 18:57

There have been many comments on nurseries and little that is correct on child-minders, there are good and bad of both and they are all regulated in England by the same inspectors - Ofsted. and work to the same Standards. the EYFS.
If you consider a cm remember that not all cm;s work alone and can have up to 4 qualified staff. Of those that work alone most will discuss time off well in advance. I've given my dates 12 months in advance so booking 3 weeks including Christmas is not that hard. Many of my parents have 5weeks each so take a week separately and Christmas together leaving them 3 weeks to take...and I normally go the same time each year and they have family holiday at this time. I've had a total of 3 weeks sick or emergency care in 20 years as that includes both my parents dying and my in laws that's not a lot and doesn't effect many families.
There are many published cases of abuse in nursery environments as well as serious injuries so numbers do not guarantee safety you need to look at the individual setting.
Parents with siblings often find that mixed age groups mean younger children are more advanced in school readiness, and skills like speech, reading and construction. artificial isolation by age is generally not recommended as it can hold children back purely because they were born at a certain date. Babies can do messy play much earlier than is commonly allowed and research shows this has positive outcomes for speech and communication as well as eating.
Ratios often refer to adults on the premises' and not always working in the room.
All children in any setting should have their own bedding that is a legal requirement.

School runs and outings - these should not be a negative experience I have children of 2 who know their letters and numbers by playing stand on d for daddy or hunt the number. It is not about dragging children in a rush to one school then another, if a child is asleep they can stay home with a fully registered cm as there are 2 of us with the ratios of 1.
Many cm's choose not to do school runs which is another option.

Many of us are equivalent or higher qualified than nursery room managers let alone the less qualified staff that can work with the children. So you can not assume qualifications are higher in a nursery. You also know who has worked with your child not just who is a names key worker who may have the day off or be seconded to another room or just does the paperwork.

Take the time to look at various cm's and nurseries and decide what really feels best rather than any assumptions.

HSMMaCM · 16/03/2016 12:45

I agree to look at the set up when considering CMs. I work with 2 other people, I don't do school runs and I'm a qualified teacher.

Your child could grow up with one Carer, who can continue looking after them when they start school, if that's something you're interested in.

There are pros and cons to both CMs and nurseries. Have a good look round.

unlimiteddilutingjuice · 16/03/2016 12:53

I chose a CM for my eldest at around the same age. He's three now and still goes (although also at nursery school now) and his little sister started at 5 months too!
For babies I would always prefer a CM to a nursery as I feel they do best when they can develop a strong one to one attachment to a single care giver. Its the closest you can get to what the care I would give at home -actually my child-minder probably does the job better
I picked a lovely older woman as my child minder. She is very experienced and is like a grandmother figure to them.

lucycole · 20/03/2016 20:41

I agree that there are good and bad nurseries and cms. I just could not bear the idea of baby girl being with just one person all day. I worried that something could happen and she would not be able to tell me. I chose an outstanding nursery, met the head and the coordinator for the rooms and also the room teachers. i was impressed with everything I saw, I spent around an hour there and the one thing I loved about it was that they have windows and glass doors everywhere. I loved that it was calm and homely but also that there was a lot of interaction with children too. The other thing I worried about was that the other children being looked after might be difficult in a cm and if there were only a couple of them, it is more difficult to get interaction BUT I did like the idea of a granny-figure looking after her, I just prefer it to be in a nursery. call me neurotic....
I think the most important thing is that you are happy with your choice, then surely you feel less worried when you drop off?

wineandsunshine · 21/03/2016 16:34

Totally agree with Janier above - I am a CM (and qualified teacher) and believe that the experiences I provide, including popping to school are great for the children I look after.

I also give holiday dates out 12 months ahead.

On a personal level, my own older boys went to a CM purely for the home environment and they thrived. I went with my gut instinct after visiting nurseries too.

Go and have a look around Smile

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