Pre-schools (playgroups)

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

Age group - 2-5 years of age

Pre-schools, also known as playgroups, provide care and education through play for children aged 2–5 years of age. Some pre-schools only start from age three.

Registration and inspection

Pre-schools are registered and inspected by Ofsted. Ofsted has a guide explaining how pre-schools 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

Sessions are usually mornings or afternoons, with some offering a lunch club to allow children to attend for longer. They are typically term-time only. 

Help with the cost of using a pre-school

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

Last updated:
17 July 2024
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