In just under 3 months time, Dexter will be starting preschool.
He’ll turn 2 at the start of June and will start preschool the following week.
I know peoples views of when they should start will vary. For some they are too young at 2, for others the sooner the better. Cost issues may pay a part in the decision, and some may want their child to be potty trained first.
Whatever your reason, when you do decide to hand over your child, your entire world, to other people to care for and educate, where do you turn? Who do you choose? How do you decide who is best? How do you pick somebody you can trust, somebody that has time to help your child develop and grow and give them the foundations to succeed but at the same time, somewhere your child will be happy.
Luckily for us, this was the easy part! (Sorry if you were expecting some sort of advice there)
My Mum has worked in childcare for almost as long as I can remember. When I was young, she was a registered child minder so our house was almost always full of children. She is currently working at a pre-school and has been there for quite a while now. My little brother and sister when there when they were younger (they’re now both teenagers), both of my nieces and my nephew went there too and I even did my work experience there when I was at school. In fact, I did 2 lots of work experience there as I had to do it again as part of my GNVQ. So its really a place that I already had a bit of an insight into.
Herlington pre-school is the largest preschool in the Cambridgeshire area. That may put some people off, wondering how their child would get noticed amongst that many children, but I’ve seen for myself how well it works. The children are all small groups spread out over a number of rooms with many staff in each room and each child has their own key worker. And you’ve got to wonder why they keep growing, right? When I first went there, they only had a couple of rooms, now I couldn’t even tell you how many there are. They’ve had to extend the building and the garden and they even have a mobile class room too. In fact they are bigger than a number of primary schools in the area!
From what I’ve seen, they never struggle to get enough members to join the committee, I’m on it myself now too, and they are always raising money for new ventures and equipment. Just recently they have purchased a big wooden pirate ship for the garden which the children LOVE and their current project is to raise money for a vegetable garden (guess who’s idea that was!!)
I have been there quite a bit over the last few weeks, volunteering, putting lots of lovely flowers in planters for the children to enjoy and also selling easter craft materials ready for the easter bonnet parade at the end of term.
I’ve had to take Dexter in with me and he has made me so proud. I was beginning to get nervous about him starting in June but while I was planting the flowers, he was off playing with all the much older children, digging in the woodland area and running up and down the hill. He didn’t look for me once! He was so happy and busy playing he completely forgot I was there.
I did however have a little group of children very that were very interested in what I was doing and looking at all the worms and insects I was finding. One day of watching him play so naturally has completely put me at ease and I know for sure he’ll be happy there when he goes.
I was lucky enough while I was there to witness a fire practice. The alarm went off and within 2 and a half minutes 136 children plus all staff were all outside and accounted for. I struggle some days to control one toddler so I was very impressed with that!
They even have a male member of staff too, which unfortunately in this day and ages is a rarity, so I’m happy knowing that he will have a male carer in the setting to look up to too, even though they may not be in the same room.
Seeing how hard the staff work and also how much Dexter loves playing there has made me feel a lot better about him starting. He’s still so little but I know he’ll be ok.
I’ve seen the joy on the children’s faces when they come out with new things that they’ve made that day and while they are in their sessions they always look very stimulated. The garden/play area is well maintained and the children always have access to healthy snacks and drinks throughout the day.
Unfortunately, we don’t qualify for the 2 year old funding (I will look into this again next month with the new tax year) so when Dexter starts, we will have to pay for the sessions ourselves and we aren’t the richest of families by any means so initially he will only go for 2 sessions a week. But I can’t wait to see how much he develops.
Being around different people and seeing the way other people do things and of course the learning and playing and making things and singing and stories and all the other exciting things he’ll do I am 100% certain that this is the best place for Dexter to go and I can’t wait for him to start!
Plus, a few child free hours a week have got to be a bonus right?
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