"Lack of Children Centre playgroups to suit my son’s age (almost 2 and a half years old)"
About: Mansfield Woodhouse Children's Centre Mansfield Woodhouse Children's Centre NG19 9BT
Posted by caring parent (as ),
I have been attending groups run by the Mansfield Woodhouse Children’s Centre (previously Surestart) since before my son was 6 months old. I have always been happy with the groups and at one point my son and I were attending 4 groups a week but now there seems to have been a decrease in the number of groups suitable for us. My son is almost 2 and a half years old.
I understand that the government makes cuts and issues targets, however, I feel that this has meant that not all groups of people are catered for. My son and I can now only attend 2 groups a week as the other groups seem to be for the 0-2 years age groups only. One of the groups was to be cancelled, but thankfully it has been saved – though it is only every now and then, not regular.
My son does not start nursery until January 2016, and although we are not entitled to the free 15 hrs for 2 year olds, we also cannot afford to pay for nursery. Therefore, these groups are the only regular contact my son gets with other children his age.
I have even tried getting details for other branches of the Children’s Centre but it seems to be the same story; not many options for my son’s age group and the ones he is the right age for are on when we are already at another group.
Another point I would like to raise is the cost of the courses available. When we first started attending groups I put my name down to do a First Aid course. I can’t remember the reason but the course was cancelled/full and I was to be put on the next course. I never heard anything further and did not attend a course.
Recently courses have begun costing £5. 50 a week unless you are on certain benefits. Again, we miss out on these as we just exceed the requirements and we also cannot afford to spend £5. 50 a week. Worse still, a First Aid course has now come up - £5. 50 per week (original on I was down for would have been free). I am aware another First Aid course is to be run but due to there not being a creche available, I cannot attend.
I would love to attend the courses as I enjoy learning new skills and having my son in the crèche would be great for him as he would be learning to be without me for a while and he currently does not have the opportunity for this.
I feel very frustrated that the focus seems to be on children up to 2 years old then it seems to taper off, as I feel that the development of my child at this age prior to nursery is just as important.
I do however want to end on a positive note, that being that the groups we do attend are excellent. The staff are very professional, friendly and helpful, enthusiastic and really take an interest in both child and parent/carer. The groups are well thought-out, flexible enough to take into account children’s needs at that point and good use of props! So thank you for all of this as it is invaluable to my son’s development – learning to share with other children, play together, listen to instructions, communicate with other children and adults, improving motor skills and such like.
The Tuesday singing group at the library is my son’s favourite, which we have been attending for well over a year now. Thinking back to when we started, he would run around playing and not pay much attention to the singing. Now he gets involved with the singing, actions and props, he knows the staff and although he doesn’t always sing at the group, he has started singing the songs at home.