Esther and William will be two next month. With Matilda now in our midst I can see how far they have come and how much they have grown. Though they will only have a corrected age of 21 months they are proper little toddlers and they are more than ready for nursery. For pre school.
Because of their summer birthdays Esther and William will only just be 4 when they start school. Their corrected age will be just 3 and 9 months. When they were first born David and I seriously considered not sending them to school until Year 1 but seeing them now I know that would be the wrong call.
Their speech and language is well above average. They are confident physically and love interacting with adults and children. They are sociable and independent. They need to get out and begin to explore their world.
So in September they will start nursery or pre school. The question is where should they go?
The Village Playgroup
We are moving to a very small village. Less than a mile from our house is the village hall and housed in the hall is the village playgroup and toddler group. I am going to start going to the toddler group next week to try to meet some mummies and find some friends for Esther and William. A part of me believes that as we are new to the village and are hoping to make it our home for the future we should support the village playgroup and then the school. My concerns are that Esther and William may need more structure and routine than is offered at a playgroup and because the village is so small there will not be many children there for them to mix with. I am thinking that we may attend the village toddler group for one morning a week and attend a different pre school for two mornings a week. This is because we can make friends in the village where we live but also make connectiions with the school in the next village which we know to be an outstanding school. I know that as Esther and William are so young play and mixing with other children without me should be the most important goal for their preschool time but I want them to learn something too. Esther and William love learning. They know their numbers to 10 and can identify and name a range of shapes and love to recite stories and try to sing songs. I want this love of learning to be recognised and developed by the early years setting we choose. However, Esther and William have two academic years before they start school so there might be an argument for a year at the village playgroup before moving to a nursery or preschool setting???
The Outstanding Pre School
3 miles from our new home is an outstanding, according to Ofsted, pre school. This establishment also has a great, detailed website that I have enjoyed reading. This is a pre school that seems more structured and focuses on early learning goals and encourages learning through creative play. I like the look and sound of this place very much and it is attached to a school that I know to be an excellent school. The school in our village though good with a lovely Head is under threat of closure as it is so small so I do think it might be sensible to have links with this school nearby. This village pre school operates within the primary school setting. The preschool feels better organised and more structured. It also has better resources including a good outdoor space.
The Local Montessori Nursery
Esther and William love to be outside. One of the main attractions of this Montessori nursery is the outdoor learning environment which is always accessible and includes a vegetable plot aswell as a selection of animals to care for.
I have not yet to been to visit this nursery but have already started to fall in love with it through their website. I love that they encourage children to follow their interests and learn at their own pace. I also love that they promote the use of natural materials for play and they have a real focus on developing creativity and imaginary play. My two would adore this!
I can see positives and negatives in each of these places, so how do I choose?
They are all close to our new house. They each have links to local schools and communities. They each provide a safe environment for learning through play. So how do I choose the right one for my two? And will the right one be the the best place for both of them?
I am going to visit each place this term and try to make a decision.
What would you do? How would you choose?