Pre-schools and playgroups give young children the opportunity to learn and play in small groups, usually for two to three hours in the morning or afternoon during term time only. You don't have to stay with your children once they are settled in but some parents stay to help out at the sessions. A fee is charged for each session. Pre-schools and playgroups provide a range of activities which varies from group to group depending on the accommodation they use, (many have to pack up daily, whilst others are able to leave equipment set up). They all provide an opportunity for children to develop their social, creative, physical and imaginative skills. Due to the short hours of pre-schools and playgroups and their closure during school holidays, they aren't always an ideal childcare option for full-time working parents, unless they're used as part of a childcare package, e.g. with a childminder or nanny, who would be able to drop off the child and pick them up. 

A list of pre-schools/playgroups can be found at

All pre-schools and playgroups must be registered with an inspected by OfSTED.  If they are registered to accept Nursery Education Grant they will also have to undergo an OfSTED nursery inspection to prove they are working towards the DfES Early Learning Goals.

All pre-schools/playgroups have to ensure that at least 50% of their staff are appropriately qualified up to Level 2 or Level 3 or have an equivalent qualification.  It is worth checking the qualifications when you visit the setting.

Cost and Allocation of Places
Pre-school and playgroup sessions vary in cost and may be reduced for families on low incomes.  Most pre-schools and playgroups allocate places from their waiting list and so it is best to add your child's name to such a list as early as possible. The Early Years Entitlement is accepted at most pre-schools/playgroups.

If you are looking for a pre-school or playgroup please look at our Family Information Directory - Bathnes 1 Big Database to search for childcare.

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