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Opening A Pre-school


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Hi All!


Was just wondering how I would go about setting up a pre-school in a local community centre? My knowledge in this area is very limited, but it is something I would maybe like to try and do. I have seen a nice location but am unsure as to how I would go about setting provision up.


Would be very interested to hear how others have managed to do this, if you are willing to share your stories!



Edited by Clare
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Hi Clare

I can't answer your question but i am very intersted in what response you get. This is something i have been thinking about but can't find a location, so your one step further than me.

Good luck with it!

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Not sure about a pre-school, but from advising prospective providers on starting a nursery....


* Market research - ascertain demand BEFORE DOING ANYTHING ELSE!

Check that you would not be stepping on the toes of any other local providers by taking away their customer base. Think about offering something different - opening times to fit around shift workers in the area perhaps?


* Carry out a business plan - get some ideas down in wriitng about what you would like to offer, how you are going to fund it, venue, operational side of things (committee run, voluntary management group, limited company) and possible budgets (rent, equipment, staffing etc)


* Find more out about the venue - would they be happy to have this kind of group there, what days/hours could you use it, what is the cost?


* Get familiar with Ofsted Standards if you are not already (unless you are planning to operate for 1 hour 59 minutes everyday!)


*Contact your local preschool learning alliance or your (friendly) Development Team at the local authority


* Find any books on starting a business - I know that NDNA do a 'starting a nursery' book for £20 so I guess the PLA may do something similar?


* Approach schools to see if they are developing Extended Schools provision as you may be able to have space in the school or grounds and develop wraparound care


* Be prepared for a challenge!!


That's all I can think of for now... RB x

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Hi Running Bunny and thanks for that!


I have lived in the area that I propose to open my pre-school all my life so I know the area pretty well. I have found a suitable location, but as you say, I need to contact them to find out whether or not they would be willing to consider my proposal!


I had considered approaching local schools to see about offering provision, but to be honest, I'm not sure how to go about this.


I received some information from the local CIS, telling me how to go about it, but it is written in such jargon that even after looking at it, I was still none the wiser as to how to go about it!


Hadn't thought of the PLA so thanks!

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Glad that I offered some help...


To approach a school, I would recommend getting together a portfolio of information about -

* who you are - qualifications and experience

* services you could offer - age of children full time/part time, wraparound service i.e. before children access 2 1/2 hours nursery education and after to allow parents to work, developing after school/holiday care in the long-term

* what you would want from them - permenant space (class, portacabin, ground to rent so you can put a cabin on) how much it would cost them, if anything

* what you propose to do - activities, play-based learning, social experiences, easing transition to nursery, supporting parents that wish to work, return to work or train and can't due to lack of childcare in the area


If you show that you have thought the idea through, you are presenting a more professional image and schools are more likely to sit up and take notice.



RB x

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ditto running bunny


The PLA might be a good source of suport not just for books but advisors and accessing grants, if you decided to go ahead with project you youll want as much financial help as possible


two things I have noticed in my area is community

- preschools are decreasing fast surestart centers are popping up everywhere and more schools are creating foundation stage units to included nursery children.

- The playgroups that are doing well seem to have a toddler group as well.


think of contingency plans ways to diversify just in case, preschools are very vulnerable to the changes in the community and I will echo running bunny in saying DO MARKET RESEARCH!!!


originally our preschool was 2 1/2 hour sessions and for children aged 2.5 up to school age, but when a school nursery opened up the road it halved our numbers over night two other groups in the area closed imediatly and one other lasted 6 months, we dropped our age limit to two and gradually things picked up but then a surestart day nursery opened around the corner and we have increased our opening times to provide a lunch club on the end of sessions We are ticking along nicely but its a struggle each year and I dont know what the next year holds.


Dont let me put you off Clare, If I can do it then it cannt be that difficult!! its and exciting challenge and I hope it goes well.

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Have been in touch with my local CIS and they forwarded me to the PLA. I phoned them today and I have an appointment to see them on Tuesday!! They also mentioned there was funding available in my area, so who knows what the future holds....!


Like you Alison, there is a SureStart unit near to my location and I am a little bit concerned about that, but there are very few pre-schools and only 2 others connected to schools. I am hoping to be connected to my old primary school, as I know they have the space! I'm just doing as Running Bunny says and doing my research and putting together my proposal. Trying not to get to hopeful, for obvious reasons, but if it isn't there, I'm sure I'll find somewhere else!!


Will let you all know how it goes. Thanks for your replies!

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Hi clare


Location is our biggest problem because we are situatied away from the primary schools I didnt start my preschool it was opened 35 years ago by a church, ideally I could do with moving but thats not an option


if your working in partnership to a particular primary school its benifitial

and if you are on the premises then great, I think its the best location to be. So many parents dont bother to look around when choosing a preschool and automatically go for the one nearest their childs school. well thats what they are like in my community!


sounds great clare keep up the good work!

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Although Surestart can be seen as a threat, they have a very useful section on their website with lots of business advice, downloads, etc and every area has a Business advisor.

Have a look here


business resources



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I found out we had a business advisor a few weeks ago and phoned them and we had a long chat about what we do at preschool and general "stuff" I found them really helpful I think sometimes it helps to chat to someone who is thinking business rather than childcare.

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