The importance of the early years

A good early year’s education not only gives children the best possible start in life, it also shapes their life chances and who they become. At London Early Years Foundation (LEYF) we understand how children learn and that wonderful experiences and interactions are crucial to healthy child development.

LEYF a charitable social enterprise, operating 39 nurseries across London. Our socially inclusive approach ensures LEYF makes a real difference to the lives of more than 4,000 children and their families every year, helping them develop a passion for learning, regardless of their background. We run two nurseries in Kensington & Chelsea: Earls Court Nursery & Pre-School; and Colville Nursery & Pre-School in Notting Hill. Both these nurseries are Ofsted ‘Outstanding’.

59% of our nurseries are Ofsted ‘Outstanding’ against a national average of 20%.

How children learn at LEYF

Underpinning all we do at LEYF is our unique Pedagogy, which is based on a wide range of research including Montessori and Steiner and follows the EYFS (the statutory framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) that sets the standards for promoting the learning, development and safety of children from birth to five years). This enables our children and teachers to experience learning that is really engaging. Part of this is building children’s social and cultural capital so that they develop a love of learning and confidence in their place in the world.

The LEYF approach encourages children to be inquisitive. One of the reasons, too many people struggle with maths and all things number is because they have been “scarred” by poor experiences in school and never want to have anything to do with formal learning, exams or books. We take a creative approach so that children naturally engage with maths and science.

Creativity is often referred to as a success factor for business and the economy linked to an ability to think flexibly, develop new ideas and be able to play with ideas imaginatively. Through creative play our children learn to problem solve, develop resilience and the ability to try and try again until they succeed. Our approach also builds children’s literacy skills and encourages children to love reading and writing activities. LEYF set great emphasis on literacy as it is a skill that will reward children well throughout their school life.

Mealtimes are social with children and staff sitting together. The children help set the table and serve themselves and manners are very important. A nutritious menu is prepared by the on-site chef and children are offered a delicious variety of healthy foods. Any dietary requirements can also be catered for.

All our children enjoy at least two hours outdoor play every day. At LEYF we value risky play which is safely supervised as it helps children to evaluate risk as well as developing physical skills. Pre-COVID-19 our children enjoyed regular outings to into their local community, to theatres and libraries and Colville Nursery ran forest school sessions in Kensington Park. Currently our children remain within the nursery but both Earls Court and Colville have their own gardens. Yoga and mindfulness for the children are also regular activities at both nurseries so that children learn to self-regulate their emotions.

Home Learning

At LEYF we aim to form a close partnership with parents and carers so that learning can continue at home. Our teachers hold pedagogical conversations with parents and learning is always centred around each child’s interests. During lockdown we launched our Home Learning service which you can view here.

Our Green LEYF commitment

At LEYF we recognise that some of our actions, however unconscious, are creating situations which may be damaging to our smallest children’s futures. We want to do what we can to improve our sustainability including trying hard to reduce our carbon footprint.

We have started a full review of our carbon emissions and developed the ‘Green LEYF’ approach. This is a system designed to raise awareness of sustainable business practices, processes and activities as well as supporting the children, the staff, and parents to become change champions.

Contact us

Above all our staff are caring and put the child at the heart of all they do. If you would like to find out more about LEYF nurseries please visit or email [email protected] .We are allowing some visits in line with social distancing and these must be booked in advance (we hope you will understand we cannot allow children to accompany you at this time).

“We sent our son as soon as the nursery reopened after the lockdown –  he had just turned 1. We were amazed at how easily he settled in. We were not able to be with him in the room on his first days, but it was not a problem at all. Instead, we spent time with him and the staff in the back garden, while he got familiar with the place and comfortable with the staff. We were amazed to see that he had completely settled by his 2nd full day at the nursery! 

Our son has now been at Earls Court LEYF for about a month and we are delighted at his development. We love hearing about his day when we pick him up and receiving the abstract art work he’s created. We are also jealous of all the delicious and creative meals he has daily; a menu that we would never be able to compete with at home (thank you Carol!)” Parent at Earls Court Nursery & Pre-School

“Our son has been attending Colville Nursery full time for about 10 months now. We are so pleased with his development since starting at the nursery and it is clear to see how much he enjoys being there. The teachers and management are all so wonderful, genuine, and it is very obvious that they care deeply for the children. They are as excited to help the children reach their developmental milestones as any parent would be (example: cheering for first steps, big hugs, etc). The teachers plan daily activities which are age-specific, fun, educational, and engaging for the children. The teachers are very attentive to the children and can easily share details about what our son was interested in or a fun moment from the day. Our son eats very well and is offered a wide variety and types of foods, thanks to the in-house chef. Highly recommend to anyone looking for a warm, safe, and loving environment for your child.” Parent from Colville Nursery & Pre-School