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Childminder and Nursery: The Differences We’ve Found So Far

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It’s been two weeks since Dexter left his childminder and moved to a nursery. I was recently asked to move in my job which meant reducing my commute by thirty minutes and working in a bigger branch, so naturally I jumped at the chance. It was difficult leaving a childminder that Dexter was settled with but unfortunately I had no choice as she is based in the town I no longer work in.

At first I wanted to put him in a childminder’s near my new branch, but the one childminder that I found that was rated Outstanding had no availability. I decided to start looking at nurseries instead and the majority didn’t have any places. We eventually found one near to our home which was reasonably priced, offered term time only and had a Good rating from Ofsted and decided to give it a go.

Nursery life is totally different to that of childminder life. Dexter doesn’t seem the least bit fazed but it has been a bit of a culture shock for me and my husband.

Regular Updates

Our childminder always kept in regular contact with us throughout the day with WhatsApp messages including around ten or so photos. They usually came through in a burst when I was on my lunch break and really perked up my day. Nursery is slightly different in that there’s tons more kids there and I’m guessing not all the parents consent to such updates. We do have access to a system called Tapestry but the details aren’t loaded until the end of the day and so far we’ve only had one update out of the four days he’s been there.

The People

When you are dealing with just one childminder you get to know them and their families so well. I knew all of my childminder’s kids, her husband and her parents and I knew all the parents of the kids who went there as it was a small group. Now he is at nursery I have no idea of the names of the girls who work there and seem to see someone different each evening. I see different parents’ faces everyday and it always seems such a frenzied rush at pick up there’s barely any time to chat or get to know anyone!

Day Trips

Dexter was taken out every day by his childminder to somewhere: Speke Hall, the pinewoods, the beach, Martin Mere, the park or simply the woods; there would always be a morning activity outside. We are lucky that this nursery which is slap bang in the middle of a busy city centre does have an outdoor space but there are no more trips outdoors to National Trust properties, farms or the woods. I guess I now really have to make sure I get him out and about as much as possible on our days off together.

I guess this feels like a bit of a negative post, but it has been a strange transition moving from childminder to nursery. I am happy with the nursery we have chosen and the girls who look after Dexter are lovely, it just feels a little less personal than it did when he was at his childminder’s. I know it will take a bit of getting used to and I am excited to see the development Dexter makes. Dexter has six weeks until the end of term and I think I’ll post again then with my thoughts.

Does your child go to a nursery or a childminder? Or have they tried both? What were the differences you found?

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