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PostPosted: Thu Apr 28, 2011 12:51 pm 
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My DS will be 3 in August, and will then qualify for the free 15 hours nursery grant. However, I'm not sure whether to send him to a school nursery, a Sure-Start/Pre-school Alliance nursery or keep him at his present playgroup.

The school nursery class is 8.30 - 11.30, 5 mornings a week at my other DS's school. - That would mean the school run 3 times a day.

The Sure-Start is 8.00 - 1pm with a hot meal, for 3 days a week. It is a stone's throw away.

Then there is his present playgroup which is okay 9.15 - 12.15, five mornings a week, and he likes it.

He will be just three when he starts, he doesn't speak very well (waiting for speech therapy), and is struggling a bit with potty-training.

Any advice, anyone? I didn't have to make the choice with my others as I was at work and they were in day-care nursery - so I don't really know what the difference might be between the three settings.


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 28, 2011 1:17 pm 
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There could well be a big difference between the 3 and you need to visit to see for yourself.If he was a bit older and not having the problems you describe, I would say perhaps the school nursery if it follows that he will continue on to the school with the other children who are there ? but if he isn't speaking much and he is still getting to grips with potty training, I think it's probably best he stays in the setting which he already knows and is comfortable with, as getting to know new adults/ children, trying to communicate and different toilets to contend with too is a lot when you're only just 3 !


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 28, 2011 1:49 pm 
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Location: Birmingham
I'm grappling with the same question for my soon-to-be 2 year old. 'Proper' nursery setting for 3 mornings from September or playgroup in a hall for 3 mornings.

It is difficult but in the end I chose the playgroup as they have a lot more outdoor activity/bigger outdoor play area, and ds likes being outdoors. Also they were a little cheaper, although that wasn't the major decision-maker. Seems a simple thing but they were very similar in terms of other factors so it made my decision.

Perhaps you could make a list of the most important things to you in a setting, and then 'score' each place on those priority items...it might help.

You might also want to check (if you've not already) the Ofsted reports for the settings


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 28, 2011 1:54 pm 
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Joined: Sat Mar 19, 2011 9:46 pm
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Our school nursery does not like to take children until they are properly potty trained, they do not allow pull-ups etc.
Speak to the school and see if he will be offered a place in the next in-take if he does not start in Sept, assuming they have places this shouldn't be a problem and it will get him a chance to be that little bit further on with his speech and potty training.
(Bear in mind that 4 or 5 months is a long time in a child's development and he may have come on in leaps and bounds by then anyway.)
I think it's a good idea for him to go to the school nursery at some point before he starts school, my two youngest both formed friendship groups that made their first day in reception so much easier for all of us!
If he's happy at his playgroup I would advise leaving him there until you feel he's ready to move.


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 28, 2011 2:27 pm 
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I know the playgroup well as my 4 year old went there last year, then left to go to school nursery, but he was at the other end of the age range - that is, he is one of the oldest children in the nursery class - and had outgrown the playgroup.

My instinct to keep him at playgroup, but I don't want him to miss out on any 'educational' aspect of the school nursery.

He is the youngest (and last :!: ) of 6, and I have treated him as my 'baby' a bit too much I think - it doesn't help that he is tiny, and still in 12 - 18 month clothes :) - perfectly robust and healthy though and I thought the school nursery might help him mature a bit.

I truthfully only considered the Sure-Start as it very convenient for me, two minutes walk away - I don' think it has any advantages for DS over the other settings.

I will have to go away and do a pros and cons list for each setting I think - have to let school know in two weeks time - so I'd better get on with it :!:


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 28, 2011 3:24 pm 
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I shouldn't worry about missing out on a more educational setting....they come on just as well playing with playdough.My DS2 was very shy and at the age of 2 1/2 I shipped him off to a rather academic pre school thinking it would help with his speech etc...I had just had another baby.....and he was distraught, I would leave him there banging on the door to be let out and then he would eventually stand there with silent tears running down his cheeks.I wish I'd left him at the old fashioned playgroup near to me which he liked.He still remembers the feelings of sadness...and he's now 9. :(


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 28, 2011 6:59 pm 
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brummum, I think all playgroups, even the most informal ones, get inspected by Ofsted so you should be able to see from their most recent inspection report whether they are providing everything your child needs. Every setting has to follow quite strict guidelines so I'm sure you don't need to worry about whether or not the playgroup is academic enough.

Definitely leave your child where he is happy - one of mine hated the expensive day nursery I put her in and ended up in the school nursery 3 mornings a week. The other two loved the day nursery and infact my eldest went to 3 different settings each week and loved all of them.)

My only thought is - if the playgroup are used to your child they may not encourage him to make himself understood and they may unwittingly anticipate his needs and not wait for him to communicate them. A friend of mine was given her early years vouchers early so she could put her 2 year old in a nursery setting as it would mean he would have to try and communicate (he wasn't speaking at all). If you think your DS would cope perhaps one day a week in a different setting might help?

Do watch out you don't lose your chance of a space at the school nursery if you might want one later in the year though.


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 28, 2011 7:24 pm 
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Location: Maidstone
My thoughts are go with your guts and leave him where he is. It will be unsettling to move him if he is happy and you are happy where he is.

My son will be 3 next week and I am suprised you are seeing a speech therapist for your son. I say this because mine says VERY few words and when I asked the Dr they said its really nothing to worry about at least until they are 3 and half. Regarding potty mine has accidents half the time he is at the Montessori (he goes 3 times) and we have been potty training since Oct last year. I am finding that children really do develop at diff rates. At this stage my DD was very clear with her speech and was nearly dry at night and yet I am still battling to make sure he stays dry in the day. I am even contemplating my son going to school at 5, I cant really see how he will be ready next september.

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PostPosted: Thu Apr 28, 2011 7:47 pm 
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sherry_d wrote:
I am even contemplating my son going to school at 5, I cant really see how he will be ready next september.


I can see what you mean but think how much he will develop in that year. It's another 16 months - think how far he has developed in the last 16 months - it's a huge amount of time development wise and actually a fairly large proportion of his life so far. What I am trying to say, rather cack handedly, is that he will come on SO much in the next few months.


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 29, 2011 6:42 pm 
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Joined: Tue Sep 21, 2010 12:48 pm
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Thanks for all your replies, I've got another week or so to make up my mind so I'll go and read the Ofsteds again before I choose.


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