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Old Jan 21st, 2016, 18:51 PM   1
sewing_mama
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Pre-school dilemma (UK)


I have taken the attachment parenting route and cared for my little girl full time since she was born, and we are considering home education too. My daughter is 3 now and here in the UK she's entitled to 15 hours of pre-school (infact because we're on a low income she was entitled to it from age 2). So far I have opted to keep her at home with me but i was planning to send her to preschool for maybe 2 mornings a week from September when she'll be almost 4. However after looking in to it the lovely preschool I had in mind requires kids to attend 5 days a week. I called to ask if we could do just two days but they said they do not encourage it as children wouldn't settle in. There are nice Montessori and Steiner nurseries locally but they are out of my price range. Since 'school readiness' is one of the major reasons for kids going to preschool i am wondering if it's really necessary if we are considering home ed.

Has anyone else done a minimal amount of preschool or not sent their child at all? I am being asked about it constantly at the moment and feeling quite alone in my wish not to send her for a full week. It just seems so much for a 3yo.


On the other hand I don't want to do her a diservice by not sending her. She's bright and friendly and we do all sorts of groups, crafts, activities etc. It feels like such a big decision.



 
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Old Jan 22nd, 2016, 09:08 AM   2
MindUtopia
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I would keep looking and see what else you can find. Actually, it's pretty unusual for a preschool to require kids to attend full-time 5 days a week. I've never heard of such a thing and definitely we don't have that around here. In fact, my daughter who does attend full-time 5 days a week because I work full-time is one of the very few in hers that is there every day. Some only come one day a week, others two or three. There should definitely be no problem settling and actually I think being part-time is excellent for settling in because they get the experience of being there and also the support and security of still having plenty of time with their most trusted caregiver. My daughter was just two mornings to start (over 2 years ago), then 3 days, and only went to 5 days a few months ago and she settled in amazingly and loves it there.

I think socialisation is important no matter how you choose to educate and yes, I think definitely having some sort of regular communal experience with other kids is really key. Even kids who are home-schooled need to learn at that age how to interact with others and problem solve in relationships and take turns and show empathy for other kids, etc. You don't have to use a preschool for that if you have a community of other like-minded folks who you can get together regularly to let your LOs have that experience in a social setting and there's lots of homeschooling groups who do just that. But it's obviously more of an effort on your part having to find and organise those sorts of things. Nursery and preschool have been hugely beneficial for my daughter and actually I think because we took an attachment parenting approach, she's flourished there even more and gotten even more out of it. Because she has such a healthy attachment to us, she's really confident being in another safe, trusted environment with other caregivers. Attachment isn't all about keeping them with you all the time forever, but about making them connected, secure and confident, and being in any sort of social situation where they can form attachments that are ongoing with other adults and kids is really good for them. So I would find something that will give your LO space to do that, but doesn't have to be preschool.

That said, I'm assuming this preschool probably does that because it's easier adminstratively and they make more money that way - fewer kids, less juggling around of schedules, more hours per kid. So I get it, but I would rather be somewhere flexible where they weren't primarily concerned about money and what was easiest for them. A good preschool will have some flexibility and work with your individual kid to fit their needs, whether that's being their one morning a week or 5 full days.



 
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Old Jan 22nd, 2016, 13:21 PM   3
sewing_mama
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Thanks for your reply, lots of good points to think about, I really appreciate it.

I didn't mean that i wanted to keep her with me constantly, more that going from all day every day with me to 5 days at nursery would be a big change. I'll definitely keep looking for a more flexible nursery place.



 
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Old Jan 23rd, 2016, 11:47 AM   4
tublet
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Your free 15 hours wouldn't cover a full-time place so I don't think they can say that in the first place? What about using your hours over a couple of days instead?



 
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Old Jan 24th, 2016, 17:25 PM   5
sewing_mama
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Just to clarify it's 5 x 3 hour sessions, so 5 mornings/afternoons or 2.5 full days. I was just surprised that they require you to use the full 15 hours and about the attitude that kids wouldn't settle in doing less sessions. I thought it was pretty common for kids that age to do just a couple of mornings a week. It's a shame as it's a really good nursery.

I found another nursery attatched to a school that lets you choose up to 5 sessions, so it sounds like you can do just a couple of days. I guess i need to visit them and get some applications in, but i'm still not sure about sending her at all, I may try joining in with some home ed activities in the meantime. Xx



 
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Old Jan 31st, 2016, 16:23 PM   6
freckleonear
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I home educate my two children (aged 8 and almost 6). They never went to a traditional nursery or preschool although they did do one day per week for a couple of terms at a Steiner/forest school preschool. It certainly isn't necessary, I don't feel they've missed out on anything by not going.



 
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Old Feb 6th, 2016, 16:48 PM   7
minties
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My son only briefly went to preschool (like 4 months of his life) and in his case, it has had a great effect on his social skills. He's extremely resistant to communicating with other children (totally refuses), misses social cues and a few other things.

I am a real home body and extremely shy so have not done enough to make sure my kids socialise enough. I don't much like sending kids to preschool if they hate it as they are only little for such a short time, but I'm trying to get Sophie down to the park often and to some groups. She's never spoken or gone near a child or adult in public ever, she won't even go near a slide if another wee one is near it.



 
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Old Feb 6th, 2016, 17:47 PM   8
LilMiss_91
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Just for your info, some Steiner and Montessori places are covered by your 15 free hours. My son will be going to a Montessori nursery and they are a registered childcare provider for the 15hrs. He'll be going Mon, Weds and Fri morning from 9-12.



 
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Old Feb 7th, 2016, 16:15 PM   9
sewing_mama
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Thanks everyone for your replies. The Montessori nursery locally does accept the 15 hours but they require that you put them in for 30 hours a week, so only half of it would be covered. The local Steiner also takes the 15 hours but website says this doesn't include forest school which is an extra £300 per term!

I am keen to make sure she will be confident and social. At the moment she's very sociable with adults and one on one with other kids. In groups of kids I think she finds it harder. I take her to dancing, music group and toddler group but I find she spends most time interacting with me more than the other kids. I am also a fairly akward person and I struggle a bit with chatting to other mums so I don't want to be her only role model for socialising.

That said... I dread the thought of leaving her at nursery. But I have been to visit the one attatched to a school and it is very sweet and they are OK with her doing 1 or 2 mornings.

I think the thing that strikes me is how keen they all are to get kids in for the full 15 hours. The receptionist was urging me to apply for 5 mornings as she said it would get her ready for school and she'd learn to sit still and listen and not be running all over the place when she started school. I think it's sad that they want to teach them to be quiet and complient so young... She's 3. She has a lifetime to come of having to follow rules and fit in.

Of course I am only speaking for myself and my own kid, for many people full time preschool is absolutely the right thing, not judging anyone else at all, just wanting to do what's right for us. Xx



 
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Old Feb 20th, 2016, 10:54 AM   10
jazzandru
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My DD was 2 in Dec and entitled to the free childcare. I started her doing one morning a week back in Sept I think so she could get used to going. In Jan she started 3 mornings a week which uses all her free time as we use 12 hours a week all year rather than 15 hours which would be term time only. I'm a bed sharing baby wearer and am serious considering homeschooling at least in early years. However she is an only child at the moment and I don't know anyone with kids her age. So for us it was about socialising. She loves it. It took 3 or 4 sessions for her not to cry when I left but I phoned after 30 mins and she was always fine and playing. She runs in ahead and hangs up her bag etc. Definitely the right option for us.

That said, play days, children's centres etc would do the same and allow you to be there too. My DD would rather be with me and I find she doesn't join in if playing with me is an option. In an ideal world I would have 5 kids all a year apart and keep them all home!



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