Blogspot: A guide to applying for nursery or pre-school
Business / Mon 21st May 2018 at 10:17am
A guide to applying for nursery or pre-school
By Deb Newman Cert. EYP
Kidz OK Ltd
What is the difference between a school nursery, day nursery and a pre-school?
School nurseries are attached to schools and run by school staff, they will have a teacher with a qualified teaching status who can have a ratio up to one adult to thirteen children. Day nurseries provide full day care for working parents, they are open all year round and offer various hours so parents can work full time, they also take babies, toddler and pre-schoolers. A pre-school, such as Kidz OK is open during school hours, we take children from around 2 years and 9 months. We are closed for the school holidays. Normal ratios in pre-school are 1:4 for 2 year olds and 1:8 for 3 & 4 year olds.
When should I apply?
Most parents should start looking around their chosen settings about a year before they intend for their child to start, this could be much sooner for parents who are going back to work, or if it is a particularly popular setting. It is always best to get your child’s name down as early as possible. Kidz OK take children’s names down on their waiting list from birth and start to offer sessions usually in the April of the year the child is going to turn three. It is always best to start looking early and get a feel for different settings and what they have to offer.
What should I be looking for when I look around a setting?
Always base your decision on your child’s interests and needs, for example does your child love the outside? Do they enjoy playing in the mud? Do they like craft? Are they a bookworm? All settings should be able to provide for a wide variety of interests and should be able to cover what they love, but some may provide it in a different way. For example Kidz OK free flow around the setting, this means that children can access either of our rooms and the outside whenever they choose. We often have a rolling snack, which means children are not stopped from their play to come in and eat, but are able to access food and drink throughout their time in the session so they can come when they find a gap in their play, this allows them to become engaged and engrossed with a deep level of learning without a teacher telling them they must stop. Other settings may offer activities in a more structured environment. Parents should think about what type of setting might suit their child’s needs the most.
School nurseries, day nurseries and pre-schools all follow exactly the same curriculum called the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS). Children will also follow this for their reception year at School. The curriculum covers Personal, Social and Emotional development, Communication and Language, Physical Development, Mathematical Development, Literacy, Understanding the World and Expressive Arts and Design. Different settings will plan how to cover the curriculum to meet and expand your child’s needs and interests and on visiting your setting you may wish to get an understanding of how they plan their activities.
At Kidz OK we offer In The Moment planning. This means we look at the child’s interests on any given day and use those interests to move on in their learning. For instance, if a child finds a spider in the garden we could use that to count spider legs, create cobweb pictures, sing incey wincey spider or listen, read and make up stories about spiders. This can cover the entire curriculum in just one session.
What funding is available?
Funding is available for 38 weeks per annum and can be stretched over the year for full time settings. Children from the age of two can access funding if their parents are in receipt of certain benefits by contacting their chosen setting or going to the local children’s centre. Children aged 3 & 4 automatically receive free government funding for 15hrs.
This can increase up to 30 hrs by logging on to www.childcarechoices.gov.uk if both parents work a minimum of 16hrs (and are a couple), both parents earn more than the minimum wage, and less than £100,000 per annum. If you are a single parent, only the resident parent needs to work with the same earnings as above. You need to log on and update your details every term to ensure your child continues to receive their funding. Most settings will offer self-paid sessions too if you do not meet the criteria for funding.
Most settings will offer funded hours at certain times of the day, other times will be chargeable. Kidz OK’s funded hours are 8:40-11:40am & 12:15-3:15pm. We run a lunch club for £2.50 in between close of morning session and open of afternoon session. You are welcome to collect your child between these times if you do not wish to pay.