Young families are well served on the nursery front in west Hertfordshire – including both standalone nurseries and those attached to schools - and not all have waiting lists. Our Choosing a Nursery article provides insight into different types of nursery, as well as how to choose a nursery.
Nurseries near St Albans
Brock House Nursery and Day Care has a central location and lots of flexibility with breakfast clubs, after school clubs and holiday clubs in addition to all the usual day care. Little Steps Day Nursery, run from a large house in a residential area, offers a homely feel, while Ladybirds Nursery has a greener location in Highfield Park. Some of the nurseries (including the chains) have instant availability, others a wait of up to nine months.
Many of the private schools have nurseries. Beechwood Park School’s is purpose-built and uses specialist music and PE teachers from the prep, while Westbrook Hay Prep School encourages its nursery children to take part in school productions and really feel part of pre-prep life. In Manor Lodge School nursery, we liked the colourful classrooms and theme-led learning, while at Abbot’s Hill School the setting is stunning. If you’re lucky, you’ll only have to wait between three and nine months but in some cases, you’ll need to sign up in pregnancy.
Nurseries in Harpenden
Now on bigger premises, Noah’s Ark Preschool has impressive imaginative play areas and there’s a great virtual tour on the website. Highfield Preschool is a Christian-run, affordable option that’s popular among locals, while Batford Nursery School and Daycare is true to its word of taking littluns’ ‘boundless energy and big dreams’ seriously. For outdoorsy types Fingertips Creative Arts Preschool and Forest School is a family run nursery based on two sites. St Hilda’s School is the local private school offering, which runs a fun-filled nursery. Three months tends to be the longest wait.
Nurseries in Radlett
Christchurch Nursery is one of the oldest in Radlett, dating back to the 1960s. Located in a carpeted church hall, it also has a pleasant garden. Among the popular chains is First Place Nurseries on the outskirts of town – a particularly spacious offering. Little Acorns Montessori School in Bushey is popular. Waiting lists in most cases – usually over three months.
Among the private schools with nurseries is Edge Grove School where there are 40 places. Aldenham Prep School’s nursery stands out for its grounds, flexibility of hours and lovely staff – and they get to learn French straightaway. Parents also rate the nursery at St Margaret’s Junior School – a place for real discovery and fun, we heard. Waiting lists are longer for these – usually over six months, sometimes more.
Nurseries in Rickmansworth
Rickmansworth Nursery School has been a firm local favourite for nearly 30 years. Located just outside the town centre, it overlooks the playing fields and Chess valley. Rickmansworth has two Daybreak Nurseries – we recommend the one in the town centre, with recently refurbished premises. In Chorleywood, Hillside Community Preschool provides a stimulating environment. And because most of the children go on to one of the three Chorleywood primaries, they and their parents get to move up together.
There are multiple school nursery options, especially for girls. At Royal Masonic School Cadogan House, most girls join the nursery at 3+ for automatic entry into reception; ditto at Charlotte House Preparatory School for Girls, where tiny tots love mixing with the older girls.
A mixed bag in terms of waiting lists – anything from a month to over a year.