East Dulwich (Mobile) Forum

Advice please - School Reception Vs Nursery Preschool

This is a little way off (my son will be 4 this December, so this won't apply until next September intake), and appreciate I'm being a bit premature - but I just wanted to ask for people's view/experience on starting kids off in Reception, as opposed to continuing in the preschool room at nursery.

Pros for moving him to Reception are no more childcare fees, and not having to worry about Yr 1 intake as he'll already be at the school, be settled and have made friends.

Cons are - school holidays! Currently his nursery only has 2 weeks off a year, so it's not much of a biggie. My partner and I both work though, so what's the holiday provision like in this area? I'd be a bit apprehensive about him being a tiny 4 year old in a facility with 11 year olds. Is there anything age-group specific?

I'm also concerned by how much emphasis will be placed on classroom learning vs physical play - again, not something I have to worry about at his nursery.

Thanks! Tara.
I think there are very few schools that regard reception as "optional" - unless you are referring to the private sector.

Reception is a very different experience to pre-school. There is learning - in particular reading and basic maths - and I would genuinely worry about any child joining in year one. But it's also about friendships -my son is about to start his third term of reception. He has close friends, with whom he has close bonds, and there are also children in his class that he's not interested in playing with. I think it might be hard to go into those established groups.

Most schools have separate play areas for reception kids.

There are lots of holiday clubs available to help working parents.

If he's born in December he will be one of the older children in reception - all the more reason to bite the bullet.

Finally, some families find the jump from reception to Year 1 is actually much sharper than the jump from preschool to reception. Year 1 is much more formal in many schools, so might be even more of a shock to your child.

Just a few thoughts though - you will know what's best for you and your family,
thank you for your thoughts :-)

that's interesting re reception not being optional. It's been a while since I've had a child in school this young (my older son will be 21 this May), so my memory of the school entry system is quite hazy!

Very good point about the potentially unsettling leap from preschool to year one. I guess having him used to a more formal setting by that point would be more gentle.

I just really really love his nursery (as does he!), and the convenience of having him in one place for most of the year!
I think he will need to be in reception the term he turns 5, so I'm not sure you'll have the option to stay in pre-school, I may be wrong but the new laws regarding delayed start apply to children born 1st April and later, therefore a December born child will turn 5 in the term which starts September...

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit was april 10, 10:36pm by kristymac1.

Hi Tara,
most children start reception the September after they turn 4. You could theoretically keep him in Nursery one more term but he will probably be the eldest child in Nursery (see his peer group leave in September) and will be one of the older children in the school year anyway (there will be children in his class that will have turned 4 in August).

If you are concerned about the wrap around care at the school you may be able to find a nursery that offers this (I know the nursery on Forest Hill Road offered this years ago, I don't know if they still do). You may find that after school hours are not long enough/flexible enough for you and find sharing a childminder with another parent works better. There are also afterschool clubs that are not based in schools that may pick up from your child's primary. Several primary schools offer holiday clubs, you don't need to attend the school where the holiday club is based. It's worth looking on the Southwark website for up-to-date information nearer the time.

ours was almost 5 when he started (a November baby) and we were worried about all the same things. but he is doing well at school, just gently learning the stuff he needs to be learning plus lots of play. i think he would have been very bored at nursery once all the other kids go.

we started with after school pick ups at his nursery and i changed my hours to start later so i could drop off. then we had an au pair.

its really hard, much harder than juggling nursery, but not hard enough to delay him starting, in my opinion.

sounds like you need to choose a school which is very play focussed, i think they all are to be fair as thats the curriculum but you will find some schools suit you better than others.
Re holiday cover, we used Scamps [www.avpsports.co.uk] which was great when daughter was little. It's only 4-6 yr olds, so all quite little, and she was always desperate to "move up" to AVP with the big kids! Good range of activities. Not cheap, but most holiday cover isn't unfortunately!
That's brilliant, thank you Becca

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