The environment Hillside has been carefully developed and is seen as the third teacher after the Children and Practitioners and is set out with thought and consideration, it naturally invites children to actively engage and supports children’s holistic learning and development which in turn gives children the confidence to explore and learn in secure, safe, yet challenging indoor and outdoor spaces.  

Three children playing with water and bowls
  • We have removed toys which have a set purpose and limit play and instead have a rich and varied environment full of open-ended resources, authentic materials and loose parts which provoke creativity, imagination, awe and wonder whilst enabling children the freedom and creativity to problem solve and extend their play in any way they choose. 
A soft play area with cushions a tyre and carpet with some books.
  • We believe children are born with a natural curiosity, they want to discover and explore the world for themselves, therefore, at Hillside children are encouraged to be active participants and lead their own play based learning, at their own pace, in a unrushed, happy and confident way. 
A table with cups, spoons, a toy tiger and book "The Tiger Who Came to Tea"
  • Our skilful practitioners facilitate and enhance children’s play and learning experiences by responding to children’s unique learning styles and interests; Provocations for learning are set up with intention, care, thought and consideration which in turn provide opportunities for children to engage in hands on experiences that challenge and enhance their learning and development. 
A boy and a girl playing with building blocks

The Curiosity Approach

Hillside Day Nursery is very excited and proud to be working towards The Curiosity Approach Accreditation. We have been inspired by this approach for some time and in September we officially signed up on our learning journey!

Logo for the Curiosity Approach - with that written and the words Working Towards our Accreditation

As we embark on this journey, we aim to provide the children with rich learning environments that are calming and homely. We will provide invitations to play using open-ended and authentic resources that stimulate children’s innate curiosity, creativity, awe and wonder. Our curious staff team will also be developing their own professional development, as we learn more about the elements that underpin this approach such as Reggio, Steiner, TeWharki and Montessori.

A baby holding up objects whilst playing

We will become mindful practitioners as we support children by allowing them the opportunity to take charge of their own learning thinking and ideas – placing them at the centre of everything. The team at Hillside have already been working very hard on improving their rooms and resources. In the short time we have been on this journey we have already noticed positive changes with levels of involvement of the children and the way children engage with the resources offered – the rooms are feeling much calmer and homely.

Pieces of grey slate with a cup and cubes in a dish. The area is wet. There is also a bright green plant.

We are looking forward to finding out more about this wonderful approach and most importantly to seeing how the children respond to the changes we make for them.


Our skilled Early Years practitioners extend and scaffold each child’s learning using the In The Moment Planning approach.

This approach ensures a child is learning in the here and now and not two or three weeks down the line. This makes each child’s learning a very individual process and as everything is play-based often the children are learning without even realising it!

We track each child’s development and progress using Development Matters from the Early Years Foundation Stage.

Learning Diaries

Vibrant and interactive and secure, Tapestry is a simple and effective way for us to track your child’s learning and development and share their special moments and progress with you online.

Text, images and videos can be easily uploaded via PC, tablet or mobile app – anywhere there’s an online connection. Every entry helps to create a complete story of your child’s time at nursery.

You are also able to contribute to your child’s diary by adding your own pictures, video’s etc from home.

Children achieve their full potential when parents and professionals work together closely; therefore parents and carers are actively encouraged to regularly contribute to the planning and assessing process for their child.

When children leave our setting we can provide you with a permanent version of your child’s journal as a keepsake, either as a hard copy or on CD.

Hillside Benefits

Our teams are passionate about providing high quality childcare and education and are proud to be part of shaping each child’s future.

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  • A rich and varied environment
  • An online journal of your child’s development
  • Nutritious meals freshly prepared on-site by our Chef
  • Baby Room, Toddler Room and Preschool Rooms
  • Allocated Key Person for each child
  • Outside gardens and “forest” play areas

What our parents say

Excellent nursery. We were very lucky to find this nursery when we moved into the area. The staff were very welcoming and our eldest settled quickly (who is now at school). Our youngest is very happy in toddlers and is always keen to go in. The staff do all sort of activities and are keen to know how he’s developing at home which they incorporate into his planning. The garden facilities are great and they like to go on walks outside the nursery. Top marks!

Chris D

Lovely homely, caring nursery. My daughter started at hillside when she was 9 months old and I returned to work after maternity leave. Everyone at hillside made this transition a smooth one and were incredibly understanding and supportive. My little girl is now 16 months old and has settled very well, thanks to the good work of the staff. Who are kind, caring and understanding. I have noticed her time at hillside has had a truly positive influence on her, particularly in her interaction and play with other children. My little girl has formed some lovely relationships with the staff and clearly enjoys her time at hillside. The activities and play the children have the opportunity to take part in are fun and interesting and there is a really nice sense of community with the children, parents and staff. I would recommend hillside to any parent looking for a nursery for your little one.

Rebecca H

Brilliant nursery. My 3 year old daughter started preschool at Hillside in September and has made amazing progress since she started. Her social skills have improved no end and she eats food I would never have imagine she’d eat before. She thoroughly enjoys activities such as forest school and stretch and grow and I am really glad that we found Hillside for her. The staff are really friendly and helpful and put you at ease immediately. I love the fact that it is a small nursery and so not too overwhelming. You really feel like the staff know your children well and they get a good level of personal attention. My 6 month old son just started there and although I initially had reservations about sending a little baby to a nursery (I previously used a childminder when my daughter was a baby), Hillside have been amazing and I have no doubt he is having a lovely time there. I’m so glad I found this little nursery. It’s brilliant.