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Childminder -v- Nursery (advice needed asap!)

16 replies

Scubes · 09/04/2008 16:45


We put our lo's name down at a local nursery in June 2007...before she was born! We had researched all nurseries and decided this was where we wanted her to go. Imagine our horror when last week we were told she had a place and then yesterday we get a letter saying they didn't have spaces after all!! They can shove us in their sister nursery down the road but we're not sure if that is what we want so I have started to look into childminders.

Basically would appreciate people's thoughts, views and experience on advantages and disadvantages of Childminders v Nursery.

Initially I was keen for her to go to nursery, wanted her to be with peers, receive broad and balanced curriculum and activities, variety of carers etc, rather than be with one carer and children of different ages. Anyway would really appreciate some advice asap as need to make a decision by end of week!


OP posts:
PrimulaVeris · 09/04/2008 16:56

I did same as you. The nurseries sounded very appealing at the time.

Place at nursery came up week I went back to work! Therefore I had to have childminder - but I was so lucky because she was fab. I think childminders are best when very young and need a consistent carer, nurseries fine for toddlers and for wider activities.

Though tbh it just depends on what's available for you, where you live, at the time.

mrsgboring · 09/04/2008 17:08

Tried a nursery - it came all highly recommended, fabulous Ofsted etc. After 6 days in the lousy depressing hole DS and I both felt like crying and I quit. Found a CM which was much better (although in the end I became SAHM for various reasons).

Research I've read says childminders are best for under 3s and long periods in nursery for young children may be harmful. Have a look at this for example

Have a good read on here of the nurseries threads and the childminder threads. Compare the horror stories.

Would have to be a fairly exceptional nursery for me to ever consider using one again.

cmotdibbler · 09/04/2008 20:42

It really depends on the childminders and nurseries in your area - DS has been in nursery since he was 4.5 months old (now 22 months), and have been delighted with his care in both (we moved area when he was 16 months). At both places he has had consitency of carer in that although there were several staff in the room, there was always one of two main staff in there, which allowed a close bond.
He loves spending time with children his age, and is now making close friends.

What I wouldn't want in a nursery is to use a very big one with very defined age groups, or one with little outdoor space.

If I'd been in a position to get a personal recommendation of a CM, then I might have considered that route.

Whichever - you need to look round and spend some time with them to get a feel for how things are really. Ofsted is a tiny capture in time of what someone/where can do with notice of an inspection

lechatnoir · 22/04/2008 23:24

Very similar situation to you - we researched & choose a nursery for all the same reasons but 2 months before I started back at work got a letter saying they had oversubscribed & we didn't have a place afterall . I didn't like any other nurseries in the area so somewhat reluctantly looked for a CM. After seeing 9 (7 awful 2 OK) I found THE most fantastic CM that my son has been with from 11 months until now (2.2yrs) - she takes him to loads of playgroups, to the farm, park, does painting, dnacing, football etc - everything you could wish for & more!

I'm so pleased he was at a CM in a more 'home from home environmnet' at this very young age and it's only really now I'm having to look for alternative arrangments (CM is pregnant) that I think a nursery might be worth looking at as he is a bit older & a generally very sociable & outgoing little boy.

Of course it all depends on the CM & nursery, but certainly in my (rather limited) experience a CM has been absolutely right for younger years.

Main (actually only) disadvantage I've found is extra days off needed if you CM or her children are sick whereas a nursery you only take days off when your own child is sick!! And my CM get 4 weeks holiday but it's unpaid so we just make sure we go at the same time.

Monkeybird · 22/04/2008 23:26

That's really bad practice from the nursery. Next time you need to get the offer in writing as soon as they say there's a place (pay a deposit if you have to)

harpomarx · 22/04/2008 23:29

I reckon childminders better for little ones.

a good one will take your lo to baby groups anyway so they will be with their 'peers' for what it's worth.

but I think a secure adult relationship is much more important for a baby, a good childminder will provide this.

Monkeybird · 22/04/2008 23:33

ratio in nurseries for babies is 1-3 though so pretty much same as childminders though. It is more institutional and not home-like but then you also have people who are supported, trained and managed while looking after your kids. They will have play plans, toy rotation, breaks, will not be focusing on their own children or household tasks etc.

Not knocking childminders at all and some are doubtless very good. My preference (well that and the fact it is subsidised and based at my work ) was a nursery because there's just more people around to make sure things don't go wrong...

What is wrong with the sister nursery?

lechatnoir · 22/04/2008 23:33

Doesn't always make a difference - I paid a deposit for what I thought was reserving a place but was actually (so the small print later showed) actually just registering on the waiting list

mazzystar · 22/04/2008 23:51

Well my dcs and I all love our nursery. The reasons why:
it is small
it is independent - not a chain
it is staffed by a mix of younger women and mature women who have families of their own, with a low staff turnover
it is a bit scruffy, but give me scruffy over corporate every day
it has a fab garden with amazing play equipment
all the children mix across age groups as well as doing stuff in their main groups - ds was able to spend the afternoon in the "baby room" with dd the other week because he wanted to be with her
but mainly it is just the warm, loving atmosphere that they have created.

It makes me angry and sad to hear people dismissing all nurseries as hell-holes. Clearly they are not.

I also think that you have to decide what is most appropriate for your individual child and their individual needs and respond to that.

auntyspan · 23/04/2008 09:46

"Research I've read says childminders are best for under 3s and long periods in nursery for young children may be harmful"
This is rather a sweeping statement - it depends on the child and of course, it depends on how long the child is in nursery for.

My DD started in nursery when she was 5 months old - 2 days initially and now she is there 4 days a week (she's 2.4) She has come along leaps and bounds and adores the environments.

I initially chose a nursery as I didn't want her her to have another 'home' environment, or another mother-figure. My nursery is independent, the staff are fantastic and I wouldn't dream of putting DD anywhere else.

But in a nutshell you have to go with your instincts......

SHEENA1 · 23/04/2008 16:34

Hi just wondering after reading this thread is a childminder as good when they care for up to 6 children different ages at a time im just wondering as i am in the same dilema cm v nursery

ThePrisoner · 23/04/2008 19:09

I don't think that a childminder having children of different ages is necessarily negative. The relationships between older and younger children can be really wonderful. I have minded many children who have no siblings, and being with other children in a relaxed, home environment can be such a positive thing.

I also want to correct information given by a previous poster about training etc. Many many childminders have very substantial child-related training over and above what is obligatory. Many of us are part of quality-assured networks, which also offer great support and training.

We are also encouraged to provide curriculum planning (a sore subject) - but many of us do actually have some kind of planning in place, the children don't just run amok all day!

I don't spend my days doing any of my own housework/chores, I focus 100% on the children. My own children also don't come first, as they are all in their 20s and are certainly not around during my working day.

You need to visit individual CMs before you can definitely decide whether this is an option - we all work so differently.

Booboomum · 23/04/2008 20:33

I think it totally depends on the nursery/childminder. Personally I have heard horror stories about both, but great things about both too. My children both love nursery and I am delighted with it. It really makes me MAD when people claim nurseries are awful. The staff at mine are amazing and work really hard to create a loving and caring environment - I totally trust them and think they work bloody hard. Rant over!!
Just a thought... I think some of my friends have found it a problem when childminders have been sick (obviously not their fault)so maybe if you do go with a childminder you need some back up??

Booboomum · 23/04/2008 20:36

ps meant to say mazzystar spot on - scruffy over smart every time!

quint · 23/04/2008 20:43

You can't really give a generalisation - it depends on each individual nursery and CM.

DD1 went to an absolutely amzing nursery that she really thrived at and I was gutted that I was unable to send DD2 there as I couldn;t afford 2 nursery fees. However I have found a local CM who is alos excellent and I will do everything I can to make sure that both girls can stay there.

I really don;'t think it matters what the research says, I know that DD1 loved her nirsery, and I know that both girls love theor CM.

Go with your gut instinct - it will generally be right

Mum2Luke · 12/05/2008 14:22

It really depends on what you want - speaking as a Network Childminder who is NVQ Level 3 (Nursery nurse qualified)- I look after a 3.5 yr old and his parents have left it up to me really as far as 'educating' him. He already attends nursery for the sessional care and gets 1:1 care from me after that until my ds (6), his brothers (9 and 6 yrs) and another lad (5) are picked up from school. He is having a nap at the mo so I snatched 5 mins on here.

I do not do any housework until children have gone home. They don't pay me to do that. I take the children out to museums, library, and farms and we do 'projects' on things like recycling and healthy eating.

Most nurseries are very good, the minority seem to spoil it for the good ones though. Good luck with whatever I decide.

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