Private Nursery vs School Nursery: What is the difference?

The basic principles will be the same everywhere. Although, each nursery setting will have different ethos and approaches to delivering the underlining fundamental approaches and learning provocations/opportunities stated in the EYFS document.

Nursery School vs Private Nursery

Nursery School Private Nursery Setting
Short hours/ half day sessions A full day available
Closed during half terms Open during half terms
For children aged 3-5yrs Open for 6 weeks-5yrs and school aged children welcome 
Focus on education through play Focus on nurturing children and education
Education option for young children aged 3-5yrs before starting school Allows working parents to leave their child in a safe environment whilst they work
Usually no cost- possibly for snacks Costly fees to cover the high level of care and environment provided
Ratio is larger more children within a room High adult to child ratio 
Children to be toilet trained unless a SEND child Supports milestones such as potty training, 

A Private Nursery Setting

A private nursery setting, like our Nottingham Nursery, is governed by Ofsted and follows the Statutory Framework, the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS). A day nursery setting provides an environment of nurturing and caring for the child, not just focusing on education.

They build up relationships with parents and personally build up knowledge of the family’s home life and offer support and become more involved. Parents will be invited into the setting to settle the child before leaving them over numerous visits. Parents are able to have direct communication with staff and management. More care and time is given as there are longer hours available to do this and smaller ratios within the rooms.

Opening hours are generally 7.30am-18.30pm, giving the parents more flexibility with their working hours. Children have the opportunity to take themselves off to a quiet area or have naps during their sessions. Invitations to play are changed to meet the children’s needs and interests. A resource of high quality as the budget is more flexible for some nurseries.

A School Nursery

A school nursery is focusing on education, again governed by Ofsted and following the early Statutory Framework, the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS). They will provide short hours of play and socialising. Free play is welcomed, and activities are available until the session finishes.

Parents may assume their child will then have a place following through with school, but this is not always 100% guaranteed. The children will build up great friendships with the children in their class, whom they may transition through the school years. 

Not all nurseries are in excellent facilities. Most of the time, they are located in old buildings with classrooms, playgrounds and equipment that need to be revitalized; this is because not enough money is being allocated for nursery school upkeep and maintenance by the government.

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