HIGH FIVE – What’s the difference between day nursery and preschool, pre-prep and reception? What am I entitled to? And how will my child react? Georgina Blaskey investigates the choices for under-fives.
Sending your child to nursery is the first milestone in their education. For some children it can be an exciting journey, the prospect of which leaves them totally unfazed. For others, it can be a daunting, nerve-racking first rung on the learning ladder.
It’s essential to investigate the options fully and choose the right path for your child. Blocking out the gossip from well-meaning friends and neighbours is a good first step – and nothing can replace a personal visit to work out what the right fit is.
“SENDING YOUR CHILD TO NURSERY IS THE FIRST MILESTONE IN THEIR EDUCATION”
What are my options?
Your early-years options may be determined by your needs: are you going back to work after a year’s maternity leave, requiring dawn-till-dusk daycare? Do you want a few after-noons off while your child plays and learns to socialise? Do you want your child to begin learning the curriculum? Here are the options:
What should I look for when choosing a nursery or preschool?
Visit armed with questions and queries about how each nursery, playgroup or preschool operates and how children learn. The impartial education website gettherightschool.co.uk has compiled these questions to help guide parents and aid decision making:
What should I expect when it’s time to start?
Getting up and being there on time after a couple of years of loose timetabling can feel like an immense challenge in itself – to you both. Selecting their clothes together the night before can help avoid confrontations in the morning. Equally, keeping breakfast options limited, brushing teeth downstairs and encouraging scooting to nursery aids a quick turnaround.
Many nurseries don’t require your child to be toilet trained on starting (it’s worth checking), and you may even notice them beginning to think about going to the loo once they’ve witnessed older children taking themselves.
If your child is staying all day, they’ll need a nutritious packed lunch. If you can involve them in the making of it, they’ll be more likely to eat it. Usually, mid-morning and mid-afternoon snacks are provided.
Finally, always pack a spare change of clothes, including pants, as accidents can happen.