How to start a nursery

Ever considered setting up your own nursery? Carlo Pandian gives you some tips on how to start a nursery.


Starting your own nursery can seem like a daunting prospect. There are many things to consider, but working with children can be enormously rewarding and many people make a successful business out of running nurseries.

A nursery school does not just provide childcare. As a pre-school establishment, your nursery resources will be expected to provide a structured environment with an aim to achieving education through play.

You do not need any formal qualifications to start a nursery as the proprietor. You do need a qualified manager however and appropriately skilled staff.

Do your research

As with any small business you will need to draw up a thorough business plan and the first thing to consider is whether there is actually the demand for a nursery in your area.

You can canvass parents informally, through friends, family and social groups to get a feel for what is needed and what is already available.

For a more detailed overview you can request to see the childcare audits carried out by local authorities to identify what type of early years resources are present in the local area and what funding is available.

Finally, don’t be afraid to contact existing nurseries to ask whether they are over-subscribed and have waiting lists.

Find your premises

This can be easier said than done depending on your exact requirements. These requirements will of course be shaped by the number of children you propose to cater for but sometimes you will have to strike a balance between the ideal premises and what is actually available.

Location is of prime importance but so is generally suitability of the building and any potential health and safety issues. You will need to undertake a risk and safety assessment as set out in the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) and it will also be your responsibility to get the premises insured.

You will also need to register with The Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills (Ofsted), who are responsible for inspecting and regulating the provision of care for children.

What to teach

A nursery school should be far more relaxed than a primary school but, as a provider of key early years resources, you should tailor activities towards an educational outcome. In England these goals are set out in the Early Years Foundation Stage.

They are not too rigorously defined but include the following areas:

  1. Personal development
  2. Language and communication
  3. Mathematical development
  4. Knowledge and understanding of the world
  5. Physical development
  6. Creative development

Find the right staff

No business can operate without the right people and when dealing with children it’s even more imperative that your staff are up to the job.

A nursery should have a full-time manager who oversees the day-to-day running of all nursery resources and he or she should have at least an NVQ level 3 in childcare and appropriate experience in a daycare environment.

Ideally, other staff will also hold childcare qualifications (including NVQ, BTEC and CACHE qualifications) and should have the patience, care and discipline required to help make your nursery a success.

*Carlo Pandian is a freelance writer based in London and blogs about food, technology and education covering everything from organic food to nursery resources. When he’s not online or cycling around town you can’t get him out of the kitchen for his love of food.

Comments [36]

  • demi says:

    hi, I was wondering if I could open my own daycare with a CACHE qualification?

  • Jill says:

    Hi I am a qualified teacher and I was wondering if I need to do further qualifications to open my own creche.


  • Kiran says:

    Hi I’m a qualified secondary English teacher but want to start a nursery
    To take on the role of a manager is an NVQ 3 necessary for me and does it have to be a full time role as a manager?

  • Farzana says:

    Hi,I would like to open my own nursery, but I don’t know how to start!! Which would be the first step?? Can you please help me!
    Thank you!!

  • Lisa merritt says:

    I am currently a chairman of our local preschool, we are in the process of applying for a grant to move premises as our current location is now unsuitable. We have been told that we will have to change status from a charity to a business, is this correct and if so where do we start

  • Ameena says:

    what is the easy way to get the certification in (NVQ, BTEC and CACHE )
    and how long it will take.

  • Chloe says:

    Hi, I’ve read the previous comments but was wondering what else there is behind opening up a nursery setting. I’ve researched the round about amount of money you would need but thought there must be a lot more behind it or surely everybody would be opening their own setting. I recently found out that a nursery close to where I live is closing and would wondering how complex it would be to reopen it as a new setting. I have worked in a nursery environment for just over 3 years and the person I could potentially pair up with has worked in a nursery environment for a few years more but with managerial experience.
    Any answers would be a great help!

  • Anonymous says:

    Hi, I also would like to open my own pre school but I do not know where to start, can you please advice me

  • Zoe says:

    i’m currently in college after having my son
    i’m in my last year of a level 3 child care course
    my dream is to open my own nursery and i’m looking for a rough price of how much is is to buy somewhere and get all the things i would need, i have already put some money away but i just want a rough price so i can work out how long it will take to save up enough money.
    i know it will be in its thousands
    does anyone know how much roughly it would cost?

  • Betty says:

    Hello I would like to open. A nursery but what training do I need

  • Angel says:

    Hello, I would like to start my own nursery but don’t know where to start it and what steps to follow to put up plans?

    I live in United Arab Emirates

  • Anonymous says:

    I want to start my own pre school. I have QTS and have leadership experience. I have no money to fund this so am wandering where would be the best place to apply for funding. I already have a terraced house which I could possibly convert or I know of some closed business shops etc in my area which I could rent. Any help would be appreciated.

    Editor: Contact the NDNA who are experts in this area

  • Anonymous says:

    Hi I would like to set up a preschool at my home for only 8 children to begin with, is their anybody who could give me some advise?

    Editor: Please follow the link above.

  • Anonymous says:

    Hi I would like to open my own nursery , I also don't know where to start . How much money will I need to start this project and is there any help out there for me. Your advice please and thanks.

    Editor: Please follow the link above.

  • Anonymous says:

    Hi,I would like to open my own nursery, but I don't know how to start!! Which would be the first step?? Can you please help me!
    Thank you!!

    Editor: Follow the link above.

  • Anonymous says:

    Hi,Banana Moon Day Nursery has given the opportunity to start daycare franchise for those who are willing to start their career in this field at desired location.

  • Anonymous says:

    Hi myself and a friend would love to start our own day care setting, we are both qualified early years practitioners and have worked in private nurseries for over 8 years, we hope to hire a hall and do it up as our setting. we had started thinking that we would be child minders but would it be classed as a nursery if it wasn't in a residential setting? thank you

    Editor: Please contact the experts here

    • AMG says:

      I’m not sure how old this post is so apologies if this is not relevant anymore. Myself and 2 friends are interested in opening a nursery in Isle of Dogs or Greenwich but do not have the relevant experience. However, we do have access to funding so may be interested in partnering with like minded people who want to provide this service to the local community.


  • Anonymous says:

    i was wounding about opening my own nursery i'm a level 2 and soon to train for 3 and work in nursery for 5 year. didnt know if i got someone to help who was a level 3 to be a manger with me if i could do this or would it be the case of being owner till i finish my level 3 them go onto a manger stage.

    Editor: See the link above to get specialist advice on this.

  • Anonymous says:

    I was wondering about what qualifications I will need from college or university to be able to start my own private nursey. Can you help me please?

    Editor: For specific questions about setting up a nursery please see the comments above and the links suggested.

  • Anonymous says:

    i will like to open my own nursery but need help and someone to go over my business plan with me

    Editor: For information on writing a business plan see

  • Anonymous says:

    Hi i went to open my own school but i need help

    Editor: see:

  • Anonymous says:

    Hi I am thinking of starting my own preschool ..i need some advice help on this. what do i need to have and how to start.

    will appreaciate for your help

    Editor: See the link above.

  • Anonymous says:

    Hi i want to open my own day nursery but have no idea how to find best working class family location.

  • Anonymous says:

    Hi im thinking of starting my own preschool but I have no idea how to get funding to get it started so any advice would be appreciated thanks Natalie.

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