Childcare and Early Years

Day nurseries, preschool and playgroups

Day nurseries

Day nurseries offer care and education for children under 5 years old. Not all nurseries have the facilities to take babies. 

They provide fun and learning on a full or part-time basis and are usually open all year. Many now offer a range of flexible care patterns including part-time, morning and afternoon sessions.

There are different kinds of day nurseries - private, community, local authority or workplace. The size and facilities they provide may vary.  

Pre-school and playgroups

Pre-school and playgroups are for young children to learn and play in small groups, often close to their homes. They provide care for children aged 2½ to 5 years, with some from 2 years. Sessions are about 3 hours in a morning or afternoon during term time. Some pre-schools offer extended sessions so children can stay a full day.

Pre-school and playgroups are run by qualified playgroup leaders. They are often held on school sites, in church halls or community centres. This is a good opportunity for you to meet and get to know parents in your area.

Special needs

Nurseries and pre-schools should have a Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator (SENCo) who works with the rest of the staff to identify and support additional needs.

Our Family Information Directory has details of approved nurseries and pre-schools.

Find a nursery or preschool

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