Nursery or Nursery School… What’s the Difference?

If you’re reading this, you may be searching for the perfect Nursery School for your child. Choosing the right setting for your child’s very first steps can seem like a daunting process, and with so many Nurseries on offer, what is the real difference between them? 

Something a lot of parents ask us is ‘what is the difference between a Nursery and a Nursery School?’. If you’ve ever wondered this yourself, keep reading, and our Nursery School Head, Mrs Davis, will explain all.  

The first steps on their educational journey 

If you are looking for a Nursery School that will help your child prepare for school from as young an age as possible, then a setting such as ours could be exactly what you are looking for. A Nursery School is not simply day care; it is the beginning of your child’s educational journey. Children from as young as three years old receive French, Music and PE lessons here at Cheltenham Nursery School, giving them a headstart before they even reach Reception! There is, of course, plenty of time for free play and for our little ones to enjoy socialising with their fellow Nursery School friends, but this is balanced with the beginnings of a slightly more structured day, preparing them (in small steps) for their school days to start.  

Access to wider school facilities 

As part of Cheltenham Prep School, our Nursery School pupils are lucky enough to have access to a whole host of facilities over and above what you may expect. Outside of their brand new, bespoke building and their own dedicated garden space, our youngest pupils are able to head out on an adventure across the school playing fields, into Forest School (they go there once a week), or to our Sports Hall. A real benefit of being based within a wider school setting is the familiarity it brings – pupils who start in the Nursery School are already settled into their environment by the time they move up to Reception.   

Highly qualified staff and specialist teachers 

Our Nursery School children are taught by a brilliant team of staff who are highly qualified EYFS (Early Years Foundation Stage) specialists. They receive a weekly French lesson from a language expert, as well as PE lessons from our Cheltenham Prep School specialist Sport Professionals. Their day-to-day care is provided by a team of caring and enthusiastic teachers who are able to get to know the children well and cater for their individual needs and personalities.  

Inspiring a passion for learning 

As a Nursery School, learning is at the heart of everything we do. We encourage children to learn through play and we find exciting ways to teach the children various life skills, for example ‘Beep Beep Day’ takes place each year, during which pupils learn how to safely cross the road – some children will be the pedestrians and some will be the ‘traffic’ on their trikes and toy cars. The children will take part in regular walks across the campus to post a letter to their parents or grandparents, and in the process will learn how to start writing and how to be safe whilst out on a big adventure. Even our youngest pupils will join in at a few of the ‘big school’ assemblies, where they can show parents what they have been doing at Nursery School that term with a show-and-tell style presentation.  You would be surprised what a two or three year old is capable of with the right support and encouragement!  

See our Nursery School in action!  

Click below to watch our most recent termly highlights here at The Prep, including footage of our Nursery School pupils enjoying their first moments of school life. 

Interested? Find out more…  

If you like the sound of what you have read and would like to learn more about Cheltenham Nursery School, please get in touch! We would love to hear from you and would be happy to answer any questions you may have and arrange a tour of our Nursery School and/or the wider Prep School. Contact our Admissions team today by calling 01242 265 639 or via email at