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Anonymous 

My twin toddlers are with a wonderful childminder who looks after about 12 kids (she has helpers). She has just told us though that we should be signing them up for a Montessori nursery for a few mornings a week when they turn 3. We will need to carry on paying her fees as well as the nursery fees though, which is something we have to think seriously about as it will demand a lot of cut-backs elsewhere. Does this sound like a normal thing to do? I didn't expect to having to pay twice. She says some of her kids don't go to the nursery, but I don't want mine to be missing out if that's what they need...

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Ben Tantrum 
We've just got the nursery for Tess so simply pay one set (of very expensive) fees. There is however a Montessori near us and we looked into it - it's much cheaper than the nursery but does reduced hours so we'd be in the same position as you needing 'wrap around' care which adds the cost straight back on. I guess the answer to this one kind of depends on what you want most - Montessori style teaching, socialising in a nursery environment, keeping your existing childminder because you like them? I suspect if you want the social element and reduced fees it'll be cheaper to go for a straight nursery 8 till 5/6. There'll be a little readjustment for your toddler but they're very good at adapting at that age.
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Ben Tantrum 
We've just got the nursery for Tess so simply pay one set (of very expensive) fees. There is however a Montessori near us and we looked into it - it's much cheaper than the nursery but does reduced hours so we'd be in the same position as you needing 'wrap around' care which adds the cost straight back on. I guess the answer to this one kind of depends on what you want most - Montessori style teaching, socialising in a nursery environment, keeping your existing childminder because you like them? I suspect if you want the social element and reduced fees it'll be cheaper to go for a straight nursery 8 till 5/6. There'll be a little readjustment for your toddler but they're very good at adapting at that age.
Anonymous 
Thanks Ben, that's what we need to decide now... Montessori should go full-time!
Katy Furber 
Maybe use your 15 free hours on the montisori?

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