Monday, 11 June 2012

The great nursery debate

I've been wanting to get Leo started in nursery school for a long time now, most of his similar age friends (he's the youngest by 6 months but they are all 3 years old now) have been going for almost a year and Leo often asked why he didn't go to school like his friends. The main reason he hasn't been is the cost, and as I'm not working we couldn't afford or justify sending him and paying so much money out each month. 

Back in January I registered him at pre-school and I was quite stressed about that as I had no idea how or where to go about doing it, and even once I had still had no clue if he actually had a place or when he might be starting, if I would drop him at the gate or take him inside etc.

I eventually got a phone call a few weeks ago saying he would have a place in September but was still none the wiser as to a start date, I asked and they said they would ring me! The other thing that was now worrying me was the fact that he would be starting and doing Monday to Friday straight off just a couple of weeks after the arrival of his little baby brother.   If the baby was late there was even a chance it might not have been me taking him to school, all this seemed a recipe for disaster,especially as he'd never been away from me or my parents for any length of time before. 

I've been looking around for a nursery that would do part time hours, as it's not like I needed full time child care but it would be good for him to get used  to going somewhere so he would not be so shocked come September. In the last week I went to four different places,I found two places which would do part time hours -  one was just plain weird and the other I didn't like much. 

There is an English nursery which does flexible hours but I didn't really want him to get used to going there to then have to face a big language change when he moves to pre-school, also they were the most expensive by far and the furthest drive away.

I had resigned myself to sending him somewhere not perfect, just as I felt the time had come that we HAD to do something, then I went to see a local one last week and fell in love with it! The part time hours are 7.15am till 2.30pm (full time is until 5.30pm)  Monday - Friday and it's €157 euro a month which although is a huge amount of money for us is a really good price. 

It was the only place I visited where I felt welcomed and was shown around the school. Leo's teacher went to great lengths to explain what they do, what I need to take and covered every question I could think of.  It looked child friendly and clean and tidy and she even gave me 7 pages of information to take away with me (in Greek but she translated the whole thing for me). They were also the only ones to suggest bringing him in on the first day at 10am (when they have playtime outside on the big toys) and just leaving him for an hour. 

So today was the day... He was very excited this morning, saying he was going to school like his friends and although there were tears (from him, not me!) he seems quite happy to go back tomorrow!

I'll let you know how today went and tomorrow goes later this week...


  1. I really love reading all about your experiences with Leo here. I am hoping very much that we will be welcoming a little one soon and I am interested in seeing how other expats here are doing it. I am also very interested in births here - for all the obvious reasons!! But I think we will be going the private route after the first class treatment I received from one of the private clinics in Larnaca when I was having the miscarriage. Where have you decided to have your little one??

  2. Hope Leo's first day went well! My daughter starts nursery in August and like yourself, private nursery was never really an option. We signed her up to playgroup one day a week for 2 and a half hours and she loves it. I think she will be fine going to nursery too as she is used to going there already to pick her brother up! Sad to see them go off as big 3 yr olds! What will we do with all our free time?!

  3. I also opted for a Hebrew speaking nursery for the reason you give, even though there are plenty of English speaking nurseries inmy neighbourhood. The only other thing I would say is, if you can afford it, take the full day!!!

  4. Sounds like your doing all the right things. I'm sure the time at nursery school will help the transition to school in September. We're very lucky in France that Nursery Education is free from age 2 1/2. Hope it all goes smoothly for you :)

  5. Hope it all went well. It's such an emotional journey, the start of nursery or preschool. I think if you've found somewhere you like and feel comfortable about then that's a brilliant start. Fingers crossed he loves it and you're happy with him there too!

  6. well done you and also to Leo it is such a big moment letting them go off without you. i think you are definitely doing the right thing, to take him now before the baby is born. i hope he continues to enjoy it xx

  7. Hope he enjoyed his time there and settles down quickly.


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