Pre schools are an excellent facility for preparing children for primary school and providing a certain amount of day care for working parents.
However, Pre Schools differ hugely from one area of the country to another and are usually run on a charitable or not for profit basis.
This means that fees are usually kept relatively low, sessions are often short, and they rarely provide any after school, before school or holiday cover for working parents.
Making the Right Choice: For You and Your Child
Helen used a pre school for all three of her children when she went back to work part time. She said: “I only worked part time and couldn’t have afforded a nanny.
We didn’t have room for an au pair and there was a pre school in the village where we lived, so it made sense for us to use it to be honest.”
“Luckily, my job was only a morning shift so I would finish at 12 and collect from pre school at 12.30. I also did a lift share with a friend so we took it in turns to pick up and drop off in the mornings and after lunch.”
“For us, a pre school was the perfect solution. It was relatively cheap and the kids had a brilliant time. They got to play with their friends, learn lots of new things and spend time with other adults.
As they got older and nearer to primary school age, they all had visits to the ‘big school’ over the road to get used to a bigger and busier environment. It worked really well because by the time they were ready to start school, they were used to it and weren’t nervous at all.”
Simple and Cost Effective
Helen added: “Lots of my friends used a pre school for childcare, but it really only suited those who worked for a few hours a day.
Some children who went there were picked up by nannies, childminders or au pairs so that worked well for them too. As the boys are now at school I can work longer hours and now finish at 2.30pm.”
Visits and Getting Used to Pre School
Most pre schools have a long association with the local primary school, and this makes them an ideal choice for at least some element of your childcare arrangements.
The atmosphere in most settings of this nature is relaxed and there is an emphasis on learning through play, with regular breaks for drinks and snacks and plenty of time for children to rest and relax as well.
Pre school staff are highly trained and experienced, and pre schools are also inspected regularly by Ofsted to maintain high standards of both care and education.
Pre schools are always happy for parents and children to visit and spend time getting to know the staff and other children before their first day.
Most pre schools are run by a committee of volunteer parents who take on the roles of treasurer, chair, secretary and so on.