To ask how people manage with state nursery ?

(183 Posts)
JingleUpTheHighway Wed 23-Jan-13 14:23:48

DD1 is due to start nursery in September with her free 15hrs grant. SIL currently watches her whilst DH and I work .

The nearest nursery to us only spreads the hours over 5 mornings or 5 afternoons . Each session is 3.5 hours long .

DH and I both work - how on earth to people manage drop off and pick up within 3.5 hrs ??

The nursery offers an "after school club" which also caters for nursery age children - but this would cost me £200 per month extra AFTER the grant has been take in to consideration .

SIL can't take and collect her as its too far from her and there are no nurseries within walking distance from her home (she doesn't drive).

Neither DH or I can change our work patterns again.

We simply can't afford that kind of commitment for a year until she starts school . How do people manage ?

We don't qualify for help towards childcare costs .

It looks like my dd won't be able to attend nursery . sad

SamSmalaidh Fri 25-Jan-13 13:05:16

It can cost employers if the employee goes on maternity leave though, as the employer still has to provide the vouchers even if they can't take the cost out of maternity pay.

Chumpster Fri 25-Jan-13 13:05:15

weigh up...

Chumpster Fri 25-Jan-13 13:03:47

Jingle - not sure what I'd do. It would partly depend on my opinion of both nurseries.

I would be tempted to leave DD in the same one all day, because it might be a bit tiring to move about. However, if I felt the state preschool was really excellent then that might outweigh the disadvantage of having to move from one to the other.

Also I'd think about how well DD would be likely to settle at school. If she is very confident and settles easily in new environments then that might encourage me to keep her in the private nursery because school settling would be OK. But if she's a bit more timid then it might be good for her to have some time in the preschool, so that she's used to the school (but equally if she's timid she might find it more difficult to go to two different places, especially if she's not been away from the home/sil home environment very much)

Maybe start her initially just at the private nursery and then ask her if she'd like to start going to preschool as well?
Lots to weight up.

She'll still have friends at the school even if she stays at the private nursery, as some of them will move across. I wouldn't worry too much about that.

I think the company saves on the NI saved with childcare vouchers. Even for smaller companies, it doesn't cost them anything to provide it.

DIYapprentice Fri 25-Jan-13 09:46:45

It shouldn't cost employers anything. The amount that goes on childcare vouchers comes off your salary, so the employer doesn't have to pay NI on that amount. Some companies will charge the employers the whole NI amount so the employer comes out cost neutral, other companies charge less, so the employer can actually MAKE money.

lljkk Fri 25-Jan-13 07:59:02

DH employer wouldn't do it, said that it would cost him considerably more money (?). That was 8 years ago, though, maybe it's much easier now(?)

You can ask your employer to offer them though. Apparently it's very easy to set up.

SamSmalaidh Thu 24-Jan-13 17:35:58

You only qualify for childcare voucher if your employer offers them.

nailak Thu 24-Jan-13 16:44:54

i agree with arbitary

Also to answer the actual question. If you don't qualify for childcare tax credits, you must qualify for childcare vouchers OP. This will help towards the cost of childcare. Different private nurseries have different rules about how you can use your 15 hours. And there are also childminders. Maybe ask around and see if you can find something that works better for you.

Nonetheless remember that nursery is not compulsory. There are other ways of ensuring that she gets a variety of experiences with institutional/institution-like settings and chances to engage with her peer group. Playgroups, mother and toddler groups, any classes aimed at preschool kids, etc will all encourage paying attention, following rules/instructions and positive peer interactions. That's excellent preparation for school. So are all the things you may well have been doing with her for years (going to the park, looking at bugs and leaves and other things, reading to her, involving her in cooking/food preparation, letting her 'help' with household tasks, talking to her, singing to/with her, reading to her, helping her count things, etc, etc).

Don't panic about the consequences of her 'missing out'. It won't even affect whether she knows the children she goes to school with. Attending a nursery class doesn't have any impact on school admissions and many children end up at a different school from where they went to nursery. And there will also be children starting reception who've been to all kinds of other provision. It really isn't the end of the world.

You will need to think about what you're going to do for childcare once she starts school too. It can be a nightmare, and also very expensive.

malinois Thu 24-Jan-13 11:57:09

nailak - no, our nursery does not close for inset days, it's open every day 7-6, except bank holidays, for which I am very grateful!

redskyatnight Thu 24-Jan-13 11:27:48

I'd also suggest visiting both nurseries and seeing how they are structured/which you like. IF the day nursery offers the facility to take children to the other one it sounds like there will be several children doing this, in which case your DC might consider this to the "norm".

Have you thought about what you will do for childcare when DC starts school? Unless SIL can help you out again, you may well find that breakfast/after school and holiday clubs average out at over £200 a month (they do here)

elliejjtiny Thu 24-Jan-13 11:08:35

Our local private nursery has a manager and deputy manager who both have degrees in early years and EYPS. All other staff have an NVQ3 at least. Same with our local community preschool. The only difference seemed to be that at the nursery a lot of the staff were fairly young and energetic and at the preschool a lot of the staff were more mature and "mumsy". DS1 thrived at the nursery and DS2, who is less confident and has SN, loved the preschool.

lljkk Thu 24-Jan-13 10:55:03

Jingle do whichever option suits you financially and physically, she doesn't need to be in her school's feeder state nursery to have a good social life in reception.

BUT, what will you do when she starts school, how will you manage childcare then? Gotta work it out.

I paid £500/month for 2 tots, 2 days/week, private nursery 11 years ago. So £200/month for one child nowadays sounds about right, pretty much what I'd expect. You've been lucky to have lower costs until now.

sweetkitty Thu 24-Jan-13 10:49:16

In our situation I became a SAHM and we reduced our outgoings and lifestyle accordingly.

From my friends and my DCs peers, most attend state nursery but have grandparents etc for wraparound childcare. We do not have this option.

I would love to work part time by right now it would be impossible

DIYapprentice Thu 24-Jan-13 10:44:01

nokidshere - being geared towards child led play does not mean that the child only does what they choose to do, it can also mean they can interpret an actitivity in a way of their choosing, and that A LOT of their activities are led by them - not ALL.

Very few children don't want to do an activity at all, usually they would just prefer to do something else. DS1 was a prime example of that - if you left it up to him he would NEVER choose to do the craft activities over playing outside. Yet he needed to do at least some. Towards the latter part of the week when he hadn't spent any time on the craft activity the nursery worker would say 'Come on DS1, it's time to do X' in a bright and cheery voice and he would pipe up with 'ok' and happily follow her. If she said 'DS1 would you like to do X?' he would quite honestly say 'no' and keep on doing what he was doing.

And Ofsted WILL mark a nursery down if too many children aren't developing over the range of the EYFS developmental charts/lists. They also complemented the nursery on their outside nursery activities (walks in the woods, two staff members are forest trained). If the children had been given a choice, quite a few would probably opt to stay at the nursery and not go for a walk. Quite rightly they don't have the choice, they have to go. (If children aren't well enough to go for walks outside in the cold, then they aren't well enough to go to nursery).

shrinkingnora Thu 24-Jan-13 10:32:31

Of course nokidshere has now put it all much better than I did! Good post!

shrinkingnora Thu 24-Jan-13 10:31:09

Also might help to think of the vouchers as a help IF you wanted your child to go to nursery rather than thinking that she is 'due to start nursery'.

nokidshere Thu 24-Jan-13 10:30:29

Blimy. Poor OP!!!

I have forgotten much of the original discussion since there was quite a lot of crap being spouted on this thread.

Children do not NEED to go to an educational facility in order to be ready for school. They are all different, there is no blanket solution for all children. Secondly every single childcare provider whether they work in a school, a pre-school, private or state nursery or from home as a childminder are all required to deliver the same things. Children under 5 in any childcare situation ( and yes nursery and pre-school are included in that) will be following the EYFS framework.

Children who don't attend a childcare facility are dependant on the level of input from their parents. However, we all know that there is good and bad childcare and you could have a child who has never been anywhere starting school with better skills than a child who has been in bad childcare.

DIY Ofsted and the EYFS are very much geared toward child led play with less input from adults. Although I have heard rumours about this changing in the near future.

OP I hope you solve your childcare problems in the most cost effective way for your family.

shrinkingnora Thu 24-Jan-13 10:29:55

We couldn't use the state preschool that feeds the primary as they only do four mornings a week and I needed to work 9.30 -2.30 every day. It didn't seem to bother the other families in the area as most of them had one high earner and one stay at home parent. It has an amazing reputation but in fact the preschool my DC went to had them much better prepared for school and they had a much broader and somehow more realistic life experience.

When you are making these decisions it often feels like everyone else has chosen the other option but when school actually starts you'll find that the other children have been doing all sorts of different things.

Just another thought - we are on the border of two counties and the preschool was in one an the primary school in the other. It may be worth looking at the next county along for prechools if you are in a similar position.

You could find a child minder who attends structured toddler groups and in all likelihood your DD will meet children who turn up at her school anyway.

That's exactly my thought re DD nursery. It's close to my home and my catchment primary. I think almost all the children will end up in one of the two primaries in the area anyway.

shrinkingnora Thu 24-Jan-13 10:16:29

OP - Both DD and DS1 went to our nearest reasonable preschool that provided enough hours care for me to do my hours at work. The preschool is a mile away in one direction and the primary school they have ended up attending is a mile in the other direction and as a result they did not know any children at all when they started reception. Both have been absolutely fine and made loads of friends (and are actually still in touch with children they were at preschool with). I think it has actually made them more confident as a result and they have had a really good mixture of friends from different backgrounds.

I did worry about it when DD was transferring to school but I now realise that it really doesn't matter at all. Provided that the primary school deal with the transition well there should be no problem at all on that score (reception teacher visited the preschool for both DC).

I would work out what is going to be least stressful for you (provided you are happy with the setting of course!) - if that means going for the cheapest option then do it. Happy stress free parents are worth so much more to a child than the possibilty that little Emily might go to the same school.

Childminders are an excellent budget option - you don't have to use the vouchers you know! You could find a child minder who attends structured toddler groups and in all likelihood your DD will meet children who turn up at her school anyway.

DIYapprentice Thu 24-Jan-13 10:06:48

TO ANSWER THE OP'S QUESTION - Op, not knowing the two settings, the usual recommendation would be to go for consistency, as you are only sending for 2 days a week. Usually children need 2 days in a setting to really be settled.

However, our local nursery (and I may be biased because I'm on the committee but everyone who visits it raves about it) is just so wonderful, that I used a CM to drop him off and pick him up and paid her for those hours that were 'free' at the nursery. (But at least I didn't have to pay twice!!)

Visit both settings, and see how you feel about them. Don't underestimate the value of a very good nursery. Our local Infant school has said that the children that came from the local committee run nursery have coped with the transition into school so much better than the other children, and not solely due to knowing some of the children before they started.

This is what Nailak has been trying to say, I think. All settings learn through play, but excellent directed play is incredibly beneficial to children. Learning to sit for some mat time at the start of the day (not as easy in a daycare setting with children being dropped off at different times), encouragement to try activities that a child normally wouldn't try on their own, the enthusiasm that staff show (it's a darn site easier to be enthusiastic for 3 hours than it is for 10!!!), etc.

The fact that the private nursery offers a drop off pick up service means some parents are choosing it. You need to ask yourself why, and instinct would tell me it's because the state nursery is a damn good one.

ReallyTired Thu 24-Jan-13 10:01:37

I think that to run a good nursery requires flair and imagination. The art is setting up the toys in a way that makes children want to engage and develop their fine, gross motor skills, speech, numeracy and knowledge of the world.

Ie. Last week dd's nursery teacher turned the role play area into a doctor's surgery. There were children pretending to write notes. Examine dolly, use the steposcope. The previous previously the role play area, has been a gruffalo cave, a supermarket, a bedroom, and a spaceship.

There is no easy way to test the level of imagination that a potential nursery nurse/ teacher/ childminder has. I doult that the necessary spark of imagination can be taught.

There's also been a pilot 'New Leaders in Early Years' programme of postgraduate study running since 2010 in England. I think many people have quite an outdated image of the early years workforce that ignores how much has been done in terms of training and professionalisation over the last decade.

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