Pre-schools and maintained nurseries

Pre-schools (also known as playgroups) offer young children the chance to learn and play in small groups, often close to their home. 'Maintained nurseries' are pre-schools run by schools. Pre-schools and maintained nurseries are registered with Ofsted and inspected regularly. All staff must have a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check.

All pre-schools and maintained nurseries provide free early education. Most pre-schools and maintained nurseries open for 2.5 hour sessions, but many now open for longer hours.

Pre-school and maintained nursery staff work with the children, and parents often help out. Pre-schools and maintained nurseries offer a range of stimulating activities for children, encouraging them to learn through play. They plan the children's learning opportunities on the basis of the Early Years Foundation Stage curriculum, which prepares children aged 0-5 for Key Stage one in year one of school.

Many pre-schools are community groups managed by parent/carer voluntary committees. Parental involvement is both welcomed and encouraged and without it many groups would struggle to exist. Pre-schools meet in a variety of venues including church halls, community centres, scout huts and school sites. Maintained nurseries are run by the Local Education Authority and are based on a school site.

Plus Points

  • Your child is safe and can make new friends.
  • Your child can develop new skills and build greater confidence.
  • You can meet other parents and get to know your local community better.

Where can I find a pre-school?

Search our database of childcare in Southampton or call the Family Information Service on 023 8083 3014.

For childcare outside of Southampton, contact your local authority.

How will I know my child will be safe and secure? SHOW


How many children will there be? SHOW


What age range of children will there be? SHOW


When will services be open? SHOW


Can pre-schools offer full-time childcare? SHOW


How much will it cost? SHOW


Can you help me choose a good childcare provider? SHOW