When Freddie was approaching 18 months old, we knew that we wanted to put him into some sort of nursery setting once he turned two. With James we hadn’t done that at all and so once it was time for him to start the school nursery at three, we had a total nightmare of reduced hours for the first three months as he was getting himself so upset. In fact, James cried at drop off at the school nursery every day from September till the July! We knew we didn’t want to go through all that again so decided to look for somewhere for Freddie to go even just for one or two sessions a week, to get him used to being away from mummy and playing with other children.
Most of the private nurseries around us that we looked at insisted on a minimum of two full days a week from 0730 till 1800 at a cost of around £50 per day! This was something we knew we could not afford, then we found out about the independent playgroup which is attached to James Primary School. At a cost of £12 a session we knew this was something we could afford to do as it worked out to be £48 per fortnight instead of £50 per day!
We put his application in before the end of the summer term of James being in Reception with a view to starting the following January when Freddie was two and James would be in year one. The sessions at that time ran from 0830 till 1130 then 1145 till 1445. When mummy and Freddie visited to see what he thought before he started after the Christmas holidays, he loved it! He found a toy like James had at home and that was it!
One of the reasons we chose to put Freddie into this playgroup was the fact once he turned three, he would be able to use his fifteen free hours there from the January before he moves to the school nursery in the September. And with Freddie already being in the system he got priority over choosing which sessions we wanted him to be in for once he had his fifteen hours over people putting their children in from three just to use the hours. There has been such a demand for places that from this January they have readjusted the timings and added an extra session in so they now from 0830-1130, 1130-1430 and 1430-1730.
Freddie has spent the last year doing two afternoon sessions a week from 1145 till 1445 and it has benefited him so much! He is such a social child and he loves northing more than going in and playing with the other kids, he even manages to see his big brother when he is outside on playtime from the school as the playgroup windows look out onto the school yard.
Now we are into his fifteen hours and its been quite a shock to the system as he has gone from two afternoons a week to three afternoons and two morning including one full day from 0830 to 1430! The first week he bounced in no problems on his first two mornings and was fine when I collected him. The second week as he had been ill over the weekend and was also still having issues with a food reaction, I ended up having to collect him early, but he was fine going in on the afternoons like what he was used to. It is also nice to have a little bit extra money to put away for other things or treats for the boys now we are not having to pay for his sessions.
He is still creating a bit on the mornings at drop off but the staff at the playgroup think he is so used to James going into school before him, he thinks he is going to be missing all the fun when he goes in before James.
I know once he is in there he soon settles down and every time I go to collect him, he comes bouncing out with a big smile on his face!
Picking this playgroup for Freddie has been one of the best things we ever did, and it has prepared him for going into the school system so much!