Playgroups and pre-schools

Playgroups and pre-schools are for children around the age of two years and six months to five years old (some care for children from two years). Children attend a session either in the morning or the afternoon for 2-3 hours. 

Your child will be encouraged to socialise and make friends as well as build their social skills and increase their educational development through activities such as art, crafts, music, book reading and sand and water play.  


Playgroups and pre-schools are usually run voluntarily by a group of parents, but they must have a paid, qualified and experienced supervisor with at least one assistant.

  • There must be one member of staff for every eight children aged three to five
  • There must be one member of staff for every four children aged two to three          

Most groups offer places for between 10 and 20 children but there must be no more than 26 children in one room.

Opening hours

Pre-schools are open during school term times.  Opening times may vary for each pre-school. You can see opening hours for each pre-school on the Family Services Directory .

Safety checks

All pre-schools must be registered with Ofsted.  They will make sure:

  • The staff are suitable to look after children 
  • The premises are safe and secure        

Ofsted carry out regular inspections at all pre-schools; to view a copy of the inspection reports please visit the Ofsted website .


The average cost of a pre-school session in Warrington is £8.70.  

Many pre-schools offer free sessions for three and four year olds - this is called the free early years entitlement (FEYE), visit the FEYE section for more information. Some pre-schools also offer free sessions for a limited number of eligible 2 year olds who have fulfilled the criteria for 2 year old funding. For more information please contact the 2 year old section.

Finding a pre-school

To find a pre-school:

How to apply for a place

You can apply for a place by contacting the pre-school directly and asking them for a copy of their application form.  They will tell you about their admissions policy and inform you when a place is available for your child.

Further information

For more information please view the documents on the right hand side of this page.

For information on nursery schools in Warrington please visit the nursery admissions section.