Heslington Pre-School operates during school term time.  The capacity of each pre-school session is 20 children.  There are a minimum of 3 staff/adults present in morning sessions.


Pre-School (children aged 3+):

Monday 8:55 am – 11:55am, 11:55am 2:55pm
Tuesday 8:55 am – 11:55am
Wednesday 8:55 am – 11:55am, 11:55am 2:55pm
Thursday 8:55 am – 11:55am, 11:55am 2:55pm
Friday 8:55 am – 11:55am

Early Starters Session (children aged 2 years 6 months+):

Tuesday 9.15am 11:15am


The purpose of this group is to provide a general introduction to making that big step of leaving your child for the first time.  The Toddler Group Coordinator, Helen, is always present in this session, which helps your child to settle if they have come to Toddlers in the past.

Photos of children playing in the classroom

Children are brought into the session by their parent/carer and collect a name label to hang their coat and bag up with.  The sessions can be varied, and due to weather conditions, indoor/outdoor play can be quite fluid, however a typical day might proceed as follows:

The room is laid out with play opportunities to engage the childrens' interest although often these 'put out' items change as the session progresses!  The children have free access to a wealth of other educational and fun toys.  Once all the children have arrived, staff run an adult-led activity which children may choose to join in with, for example: planting bulbs for springtime; sensory collage; nativity scenes at Christmas; pottery lamps for Diwali; and PE in the summer (physical education/sports in the school hall).
At around mid-session the tidy-up-time music is put on and everyone helps to tidy up!  The register is then taken, followed by a short table-time with the children in their key groups: the children love to be 'spiders', 'ladybirds', and 'butterflies' and enjoy playing with their key person.  Afterwards, children and staff go outdoors to play in the outdoor play area with a variety of different play equipment. 

Children playing with grass cuttings

Play is always planned with the childrens' interests in mind, and often from observation of their play, staff will develop a major theme for the week.  For example, we have had a 'pirate week', where everyone dressed up as pirates, and the entire room was decked-out as a pirate galley!  Music week is another example of a child-led there, where staff had observed the children using cardboard tubes and boxes as musical instruments.  Parents/carers were invited to visit and share their musical talents with the class. 
Image from Music Week

For holidays and special occasions such as Christmas and Diwali, the room is very colourful and the children are involved in creating fabulous decorations and displays. 
Images of Mothers' Day Cards

Other special activities include: the sponsored Pea Hunt, World Book Day, a visit by the dental educator, and watching caterpillars transform into butterflies.

Butterflies Image

We are a registered food business, rated VERY GOOD (Date of inspection: 15 October 2018), and are allergy-aware.  We provide basic snacks including a carton of milk in each session.  Healthy snacks include: a variety of fruit and vegetables, supplemented by breadsticks. cheese, crackers, and include ethic foods such as arabic bread, and parents are asked to make a small contribution each half-term to cover the cost of this.
Afternoon sessions from 11:55am  2:55pm; children should bring a packed lunch.  This should be a healthy lunch, and must not contain nuts (including peanut butter) or chocolate, to be aligned with our allergy policy.  A drink is provided.
Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) is an integral part of life at pre-school.  The staff are all highly trained in all aspects of the curriculum.  Play is based on educational principles from the EYFS.  Staff love to share this with families, and to do this, operate a shared record which child, carer and key person all contribute to.  This is simply called "My Book" and it keeps evolving!  It is great fun and quite a lot of work for staff.  It is an organic document and records the child's individual development in the EYFS learning areas.  Parent's Meetings are held to share this record with parents/carers, and these have been well attended.  Children usually develop a true pleasure and ownership of this record throughout the year.  For more information about the EYFS, please see the relevant document at the bottom of this page.  


The nursery education grant covers 15 hours of session time for children over the age of 3 (children are eligible from the start of the term after their 3rd birthday), and any additional sessions can be billed separately.  We accept Childcare Vouchers.  Children can join sessions as soon as they turn 3 (subject to availability of spaces), however these will need to be paid for separately.

The Early-Starters session is billed at at discounted rate.  Children may qualify for free spaces under the nursery grant scheme. 

Latest information 

June 2019

Want to find out if you’re eligible and apply for Tax-Free Childcare and 30 hours free childcare? Watch this video for step-by-step guidance on what you need to apply 👉

Visit to learn more.

To help parents check their eligibility and apply online for Tax-Free Childcare or 30 hours, see this YouTube video which sets out the steps: 

The Department for Education (DfE) is launching a campaign to promote and raise awareness of the benefits that using 30 hours free childcare can have for working families. Chelsea from Telford shares her story of how #30hours childcare helped her find a healthy work/life balance. Hear more from Chelsea and other families who have benefited from 30 hours here:



If you think you are eligible and would like your child to access up to 30 hours free childcare, you need to go online and apply at…/app/applynow 

If you are eligible you will receive an 11 digit code which you will need to take to you chosen childcare provider(s) along with your National Insurance number and your child’s date of birth.

You do not need to apply if you only want to access the universal 15 hours entitlement for your 3 and 4 year old.

For further information on the 30 hours childcare, Tax Free Childcare or other help with childcare costs, please visit the Childcare Choices at:"


If you would like your child to wear the Heslington Pre-School 'uniform', t-shirts and jumpers/cardigans with the Heslington Pre-School logo can be ordered from Myclothing website, please use this link.  There is absolutely no obligation to wear the uniform, just dress your child appropriately for the season, and for messy play!



Heslington Pre-School are now using the Tapestry software to create electronic learning journals for the children at pre-school.  Staff can take photographs and record observations efficiently using tablet computers, and these can be linked to the EYFS learning areas.  PDF files can be created to create a permanent record of each child's time at Heslington Pre-School.  For more information, please see the Tapestry website here.  Please note that we will not be using all features of the software at present, so you will not be given online access to your child's journal at this time.