The Difference between Day Nurseries, Pre-Schools and Playgroups

Pre-schools usually falls into three categories: Day Nurseries, Pre-Schools or Playgroups so what is the difference between them?

Day Nurseries

Day Nurseries typically care for babies from birth to four or five years old. Most are privately run and all are required by law to be registered by Ofsted and are inspected by the local authority who checks the premises,equipment and observes the staff and children and how well they are cared for.

Some day nurseries may have long waiting lists and although they are open all year round they may not be flexible enough if you work night shifts or weekends.

Day Nurseries provide professional care for your child during the day and you can trust it is well managed and vetted by the local authority.


Pre-Schools are similar to Day Nurseries, in that they provide care for your child during the day but in addition they offer an educational programme that intends to educate your child like Bright Little Stars Nursery. They may have specially designed facilities and the government has a framework called EYFS (Early Years Foundation Stage) covering the child’s development from birth to 5 years old. The idea is to give your child an early foundation leading onto primary school.


Playgroups are a childcare facility that you can take your child to for around 2-3 hours usually between the ages of 3-5 years. Some providers will take children from 2 years.

They are usually voluntary groups that can be run by a team of parents or members of the public who have experience helping on a voluntary basis. Some groups will be mother and toddler where the mother stays with the child for the duration of the session, others allow you to drop your child off.

Playgroups are required by law to be registered with Ofsted and meet their national standards.

Request a Viewing

Nursery Viewing

We encourage all our parents and carers to come in for a viewing before registering with us. This will give you a chance to look around the nursery, meet the team and answer any questions that you have. We will be delighted to show you around the Nursery near North West London or send you our prospectus and registration paperwork.

Our Philosophy

Nursery Philosophy

To provide a learning environment that is creative, inspiring and rich in opportunities and to enable children to learn through play.

Our emphasis is on providing exceptional care and learning whilst supporting each child individually within a framework of the highest ethical standards and equal opportunities.

Specially Designed Rooms

Specially designed nursery rooms

We have specially designed four bright learning rooms with your child’s best interests at heart, each tailored to one of our particular age groups of babies, toddlers and pre-school complete with carefully selected sophisticated resources, facilities and modern technology suited to encourage children’s exploration for plentiful learning opportunities.

Pre-School Nursery

If your child is ready for Pre-School, at a day nursery with a learning programme like Bright Little Stars Nursery, research has shown the pre-schooling leads to higher GCSE grades. Research by the EPPSE project launch in 1997 followed 3,000 children from an early age to 16 years old. The research was carried out by leading academics and the Institute of Education, University Oxford and Birkbeck, University of London. 

Reviews from parents


We visited couple of nurseries in the area. BLS is surely higher quality by a large difference. When we registered, BLS was not outstanding by Ofsted, but it didn’t really matter once we visited the nursery. It is not cheap, but you do get value service for the money you pay. The quality of team looking after your most important person, is great and the cleanness of the rooms is really good (which is very important to us). They do really put the effort to provide quality service. Now they got the “outstanding” grade from Ofsted which they deserve.


BLS is undoubtably the best nursery in Mill Hill and the surrounding areas. Having watched the team grow since my eldest son started there in 2014 they’ve gone from strength to strength, and now my youngest is there too we are still huge fans. They take such good care of all the children, providing a wide, varied list of activities that stretch them to academic levels beyond their peers. They never settle and are constantly thinking up new ways to make what they do even better.


Our son first started going to another nursery , but was constantly unhappy and was frequently in tears whenever we picked him up. We then decided to move him to Bright Little Stars in Mill Hill from around 16 months and he settled in straight away, hardly shed a tear and instantly built bonds with several members of staff. We are very happy with the care and attention paid to our son by the staff. We love the way that all special occasions are celebrated and the children are encouraged to create their own Mother’s Day cards and even cook their own Pizza’s, to name a few activities they have been involved in. The daily automated e-mail is a clear summary of the key highlights of the day for my son my wife makes frequent use of the access to CCTV and is happy with what she observes. Facilities are excellent and my son is happy. We will soon be ending our second son to BLS as well, as we love the place. Highly recommended to all!