COVID-19 update: The Pre-school is open as usual with COVID-19 safety precautions and procedures in place. We are taking bookings for September 2021.
Our natural ethos..
...connect with nature; get fresh air and exercise; develop communication, imagination and thinking skills; build confidence and resilience; and, most importantly, have lots of fun
Alfriston Pre-School, set within the South Downs National Park, has been running for over 40 years, providing childcare to families in the surrounding areas.
We provide the children with a fantastic start in life, where they have the rare opportunity to access education in a beautiful rural setting, making full use of the natural surroundings and our own allotment.
Our highly qualified and experienced staff work at high ratios with our children, enabling individual attention and providing stimulating activities through which each child can learn and grow.
Staff use the web-based Tapestry system (online learning journals) regularly in order to keep parents updated on their child's progress. We encourage strong home-school links by asking parents to add their contributions too.
Ofsted rated us OUTSTANDING in all areas in our most recent report (June 2017).
We have strong links with local primary schools and our proactive transition programme ensures our preschool leavers are prepared and excited about the next step in their education.
We have a FACEBOOK PAGE! Why not 'like' us, to get access to up to date information on upcoming events and fundraising!
Some Parent Reviews!
Wonderful Nursery - the staff are lovely, the location is beautiful and the children have access to a very calm and nurturing environment.
There is always outside space available and the children are taken on walks and even forest adventures when the Forest School is running during the warmer months.
The staff are brilliant at helping your child settle and happy to follow what feels right for you and your child.
We were invited along to the children's Christmas party - it was lovely to see the effort the staff had put in to make it a magical experience for the children.
I really like that the general ethos of the Pre-School is to create a calm environment where the children can explore at their own pace without overstimulation and constant guidance.
I can recommend Alfriston Pre-School very highly - both of my children have attended Alfriston Pre-School.
The setting is beautiful, surrounded by lots of green space, fresh air and opportunities for walks and puddle-splashing. The hall itself feels really welcoming and is always set out with interesting toys and equipment, which change daily - today there was a huge pile of tinsel and baubles, last week there was a doctors surgery in the pretend play corner, last week the wheely boards were out. My son is always so keen to explore what's on offer.
I feel very confident that he is well looked after, has fun and is developing in all his key skills and that can only be attributed to the excellent, friendly and inspired staff.
One of the best sessions is Wednesday afternoon cooking club where the children are involved in producing goodies to bring home. We've had (foraged) apple crumble, autumn vegetable soup, cookies and lots more. My son is always so proud of his efforts and so am I!
The setting itself is idyllic - the staff are fun, caring and experienced. My eldest daughter's transition to school was seamless which I believe is attributed to the nurturing environment of the Pre-School. She speaks so fondly of her time there and often asks me when she can go back to 'the forest'!
We chose Alfriston Pre-School for both of our daughters to attend and consider ourselves extremely lucky to have such an amazing preschool close by.
The Pre-School encourages parents' input to ensure the individual needs of your child are met with regard to their development by planning activities based on their interests and I love the use of Tapestry, being able to see pictures/videos together with educational assessments.
My youngest daughter has settled in so quickly and has grown in confidence. When she talks about her time at the Pre-School she always describes the staff as her friends which I think is lovely!
Three afternoons per week, 12 - 3 our Pre-School children have the opportunity to join us for sessions in a nearby private nature site hidden away in the heart of the village.
Children can enjoy their packed lunch at our hall site before walking up to our nature site where our qualified staff will ensure that the children have the opportunity to connect with nature; get fresh air and exercise; develop communication, imagination and thinking skills; build confidence and resilience; and, most importantly, have lots of fun.
Activities include building dens, making leaf pictures, creating fantasy worlds, cooking in mud kitchens, and caring for the environment, as well as having plenty of opportunity for free exploration of the woodland alongside experienced child-centred staff.
Our allotment, in the village, is made up of a number of large plots. Due to a grant of funding secured in March 2018 we were able to revamp the site to include a bog area, a sensory trail, soft fruits, seasonal vegetables and seating area for stories and reflection.
We visit the allotment several times a week, which means the children can benefit from watching the plants grow and wildlife come and go with the seasons and help to give them a sense of achievement when the fruit and vegetables are ready to snack on!
We rely on Parent and Carer help to keep the plots maintained and welcome any family help.
Our thriving Under Two's community is always busy and we are happy to now enrol children from 8 weeks old.
A special stage-appropriate area is in place for younger children to be safe to explore and learn with our caring and nurturing staff. The babies and toddlers have access to many natural materials in a calm relaxed area where they are able to explore and learn.
The children are also encouraged to join in with the older children in the Pre-School’s daily routines and adventures but with the added bonus of having a quiet retreat to rest and regroup.
As with our older children, our outside area is always available come rain or shine, as well as lovely rural walks.
Out and about, our community links
We enjoy being part of the community and Pre COVID we would often pop up to the village stores for fresh bread or cooking ingredients. We hope to re-establish this soon.
Most days you can find small groups of our children and staff walking on the paths along from the Tye or up to our local park. The children enjoy taking photos of nature and items that interest
them on the way and sharing them with the rest of the group back at the hall. our Forest School ethos is always with us when spending time outside.
We have developed a relationship with St Andrews church and enjoy learning about the church and the special celebrations involved, as we do for all cultures our children are in contact with.
Meet the team
Our Management Committee is made up of parent volunteers whose work ensures the smooth running of the Preschool outside that of childcare.
Committee from September 2020:
Nicola Mills and Kelly Slade - Joint Chair
Victoria Claxton - Secretary
Suzanne Pritchard - Treasurer
2020 Preschool Sessions & Fees
Mondays - 9:00am - 12.00, Hall site. 12.00 - 3.00, Nature Site
Tuesdays - 9:00am - 3:00pm, Hall site
Wednesdays - 9:00am - 3:00pm, Hall site
Thursdays - 9:00am - 12.00pm, Hall site. 12.00 - 3.00, Nature Site
Fridays - 9:00am - 12.00pm, Hall site. 12.00 - 3.00, Nature Site
£ 7.00 per hour from April 2019.
All children are eligible for the Early Years Education Entitlement (EYEE) from the term after their third birthday to compulsory school age.
The EYEE entitles your child to receive up to 15 hours of free early education over a minimum of 38 weeks a year. You can claim this through the Preschool. We will assist with all the necessary paperwork, although you will need to provide us with a copy of your child’s birth certificate or passport as proof of identity.
From September 2013, the Government also made the EYEE available to every 2 year old who meets certain criteria. To find out if you and your 2 year old might be eligible and to access the online application form, visit www.eastsussex.gov.uk/childrenandfamilies/childcare
30 hour funding.
The government have introduced thirty hours of funded child care to parents who work up to 16 hours per week.
Eligibility rules for 30 hours free childcare:
Your child will be aged 3 or 4 when the scheme starts in your area
Both parents must be working - or the sole parent is working in a lone parent family
Each parent earns, on average, a weekly minimum equivalent to 16 hours at National Minimum Wage or National Living Wage
Each parent must have an annual income of less than £100,000
You live in England
Tax-Free Childcare is a government scheme to help working parents with the cost of childcare.
Parents will be able to open an online account, which they can use to pay for childcare from a registered provider.
For every £8 a parent pays in, the government will pay in an extra £2. Parents can receive up to £2,000 per child, per year, towards their childcare costs, or £4,000 for disabled children.
The scheme will be available for children up to the age of 12, or 17 for children with disabilities.
To qualify, parents will have to be in work, and each expecting to earn at least £115 a week. Each parent must not have income over £100,000 per year.
You'll be able to apply for both the 30-hour scheme and the Tax-Free Childcare scheme through a joint online application being developed by HMRC. This is because the eligibility requirements for both schemes are aligned.
Clothing - Our Pre-School uniform is available online to order, we encourage children to wear the uniform as it helps them feel part of our community and as some activities like digging, cooking and painting sometimes get a bit messy you may prefer your child doesn’t ruin their own clothes.
Pathways for Families - Services that are available to families to access to support childhood development. These are services available for our parents/carers to access independently that offer a range of services.
Children’s Integrated Therapy & Equipment Services - A specialist service that provides occupational therapy, speech &language therapy and physiotherapy to children and young persons aged 0-16yrs.
Tel: 0300123 2650, E-mail:
I-SEND Early Years Services (EYS) - Supporting children aged 0-5yrs with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities(SEN) and /or complex needs where those difficulties create a significant barrier to learning and/or inclusion.
Tel: 01273 335270, E-Mail:
Sensory Needs Service - Provides support to Hearing Impaired (HI) and Visually Impaired (VI) children across all ages and ability ranges and their families. The SNS works directly with children and their families, Pre-School and schools to support and promote inclusion of children with HI & VI in a range of settings. They also run four hearing support facilities (HSF) in East Sussex in which our highest need pupils are placed.
Tel:01273 481154, E-Mail:
Hailsham East Children’s Centre - Eastbourne, Hailsham &Seaford area child health clinics. Early help with speech & language development.
Tel: 01323 464340, 01323 432300, E-Mail: esht.hv.eastbourne
Parent Carer Forms-These are representative local groups of parents and carers of young people with disabilities who work alongside local authorities, education, health and other service providers to ensure the services they plan, commission, deliver and monitor meet the needs of the children and families. More information about these forums is available from the websites of Contact a Family and The National Network of Parent Carers Forum.1.13