Nursery vers preschool?!


As a childminder and previous working in day nurseries, I often get asked what’s difference between nursery and a preschool?! Should my child be in pre school now they are 3?! Here is my views.

Honestly there is no great difference… Childminders, nurseries and preschool and reception classes, all work from the same frame work the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) this is a statutory framework setting the “standards for the learning, development and care of children from birth to 5 years old. All schools and Ofsted-registered early years providers must follow the EYFS, including childminders, preschools, nurseries and school reception classes.”

More about that here

Some nurseries have pre school within them some call the room or class where children ages 3-5yrs the “preschool”. These will often provide the 3year funding for families and additional childcare topped up around it. These can provide care on full day basis e.g. 7.30am til 6pm most weeks of the year.

Some school have “preschools” attached, some of these may only be open school term and school hours. Some like one attached to my children’s school. Use the other school facilities e.g. Dinning hall. Some do not. Some of these school based preschools often help provide further links into the school with he aim to the children attending that school. Some may have qualifies early years teachers and be able to provide a more “education” based learning.

Some preschools are not attached to nurseries or schools, maybe ran from a village hall, and like some attached to schools offer sessions based around school terms and hours.

Childminders are able to offer this 3 year old funding and like nurseries childcare are able to be there to what suits the families and the childminder. These are home based providers, smaller ratios and many will often link with local schools for school runs etc.

However there is no great difference, as mentioned at the start each setting follow the same framework, each settling as child approached 5 all work to “school readiness” Which is referred to under the EYFS as “School readiness is vaguely described in the foundation stage as “Children reaching a good level of development in the prime areas and literacy and mathematics”.

If your child is happy and thriving within the childcare choice you have made, why change?!

Ok yes you may need to change if your current provider does not offer the funding and you wish to acces it, or you can use funded place along side your current provides ion for childcare.

Each setting has it own qualities, pros and cons. How ever ulimitly there is not great difference, it is your choice and your child’s happiness.

There is no different a in frameworks the providers works to until after the child turns 5, (end of the EYFS) then it’s your choice to join them into mainstream educational system or even private or home school your child.

Go with your gut feelings over these issues, do not just follow what other families say and do. You have to find the right fit for you child and your own situation with work etc.


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