Along with hundreds of others parents across Derry this weekend, I’ll be waiting on the postman tomorrow morning, because that’s the day the nursery places get allocated.
I’m new to this game as my three-year-old is my eldest, and I’m hoping beyond hope we get our first place.
It’s close to home, has a great track record, and every time we go past it my daughter begs, ‘Can I go there when I’m older mummy?’ It would break my heart to have to tell her ‘no’.
Every year, the usual argument is always thrown up; that it’s the kids with parents who don’t work who get the first choices, and many shout that it’s ‘just not fair’.
And because both my husband and I work, that puts us at a disadvantage when it comes to first choice preferences.
Of course, if my girl doesn’t get her first choice that’s the rant I’ll be sporting but I know deep down that the system has to work that way. Why?
Well, unfortunately Derry has one of the highest rates of deprivation in the country, and it’s proven that children from areas of poverty go to school unprepared - including an inability to go to the toilet independently, hold a pen, or communicate effectively.
But a decent nursery place can help rectify some of these problems.
A good nursery can bolster confidence and instill essential skills.
So I understand that there are children who may need the local nursery more than my daughter.
However, I know for a fact that the five choices that we’ve put beneath our first are also all over-subscribed.
That means the nursery we get allocated may not be one of those either. If that happens, I would have to trek my three-year-old aross the city every morning, into an area she doesn’t know, and away from the friends she has already made at playgroup.
That will be a hard pill to swallow.
Beacuse working parents, like me, are contibuting towards the economy and then the system discriminates against us.
Instead, someone that sits at home all day getting benefits ‘wins’.
But, we know that’s not right either because there are countless reasons why a family may be claiming Income Support and in Derry, jobs are not easily come by.
One things for sure, it doesn’t make me a better person just because I’m lucky enough to have a job.
That said, I really, really want that letter to say all the right things tomorrow.