Day nursery

Information about how day nurseries operate, whether they need to be registered with Ofsted and other things to consider when choosing this form of childcare.

Age group - 0-5 years of age

Day nurseries provide care and education through play for children aged five and under, but they vary in the ages they cater for. Some take children from six weeks of age and have a baby unit, others take children from age two.

Registration and inspection

They can be private or community run settings, but all must be registered and inspected by Ofsted. Ofsted has a guide explaining how day nurseries are inspected.

Statutory duties

The Statutory Framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) sets the standards for promoting the learning, development and safety of children from birth to 5 years in Ofsted registered settings. The EYFS sets the standards that all early years providers must meet.

Read more about the EYFS in the guide for parents, provided by Foundation Years.

Typical opening hours

Typically they open Monday-Friday, 8.00am-6.00pm, with a choice of full or part-time places, and most stay open through many of the school holidays.

Help with the cost of using a day nursery

Most offer Free Entitlement places. Check whether you may be eligible for other help with childcare costs.

Last updated:
7 September 2023
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