Childcare Provider

Parent Information

Childcare Provider

Play & Learn Outdoors

At Treehoppers children will be able to see and feel the changes in the seasons, learn in an outdoor classroom with natural resources to inspire them, run, explore, play with sticks, build dens, jump in puddles, get muddy, use their imagination and above all …..HAVE FUN! In an age where it can sometimes feel that technology and screens are all encompassing we want to encourage some wild learning.

Like all nurseries, pre-schools and childminders we follow the Early Years Foundation Stage. But the difference is we do it outside! We make the most of our amazing outdoor spaces which give us opportunities for lots of energetic games, sports, walks as well as quieter activities too. When the weather is too ‘wild’ however to be safely outdoors we do have alternative options to retreat to temporarily- a yurt at East Grinstead or the use of indoor space at the Sports Club. At Borde Hill we have a large tentipi, may use the marquee in the grounds of Borde Hill gardens or decamp to Cuckfield Scout hut for the day.

2 to 5 year olds

Children can join our outdoor nursery when they are 2 years old and can stay until they are 5 years old.

Open 46 weeks of the year

We are open 46 weeks of the year, 8am to 4pm Monday - Thursday.

Upcoming Dates

East Grinstead:

STAY & PLAYS: We run free sessions for families with children due to, or interested in joining the kindergarten. These take place monthly on a Wednesday afternoon 1.30-2.30pm & on a Friday morning 10-11.30am.

Haywards Heath:

STAY & PLAYS:We run free sessions for families with children due to, or interested in joining the kindergarten. These take place monthly on a Monday afternoon 1.30-2.30pm & on a Friday morning 10-11.30am.

For more information contact us at

Download our kit list

Generally we carry on playing! Provided the children have the right clothes on they are usually happy to be outside – but keeping warm & dry are crucial which is why we have a recommended kit list and a list of suggested suppliers. It’s often more sheltered in the woods so often the children will carry on playing under shelters – we may have large tarpaulins between trees, shelters and tents to keep us dry. If the weather is so bad that it just wouldn’t be safe to be in the woods (e.g. if there was a storm or high winds forecast) we find a safe alternative space – this will be different at each site. At East Grinstead we have a yurt on the field or can use some inside space at the Sports Club. At Borde Hill we have a number of shelters on site and a large Tentipi but we may also use the large marquee in Borde Hill gardens in extreme weather or hire the Scout Hut for the day in Cuckfield. Having run an outdoor nursery since 2018, please do be assured that it is very rare for us not to keep playing outdoors! We have probably had to shut early due to weather on only a handful of occasions.

We take children from the age of 2 years until the end of the term in which they turn 5 in our Kindergarten. If you are intending to delay the start of school for your child, or are home schooling/flexi schooling please do get in touch. We always have a few children each year who do this and are happy to provide information & advice. We are planning on re-starting our home ed group for children up to the age of 6 in 2024.Please see our page on home education & flexi- schooling for more information.

Not at all. We have facilities available for nappy changing and when children are ready we can support you with toilet training. We have potties on site to use before children move on to toilets and lots of spare clothes in case of accidents. We have composting toilets, which, for some children takes a little getting used to and prompts questions like ‘where’s the flush?!’

We are currently open Monday –  Thursday from 8am until 4pm. We are not a term time only setting so we are open for 46 weeks of the year – we close more frequently in the autumn and winter months and make the most of the warmer, longer days in the Spring & Summer. 

Children will need to bring snacks & a packed lunch with them each day. Whenever we can we will involve the children in the preparation of extra snacks and sometimes prepare & cook on the campfire – for example we may make ‘wild toast’, damper bread, baked fruit and popcorn. It is during the colder months we cook more on the fire but eating together is a great social activity and all that fresh air definitely builds up appetites! We have been inspected by Mid Sussex District Council at both our sites and awarded a 5 star hygiene rating, which is a great achievement for an outdoor setting.

At our East Grinstead site we rarely see visitors in the woods during the day as we are quite tucked away. We have gates and ‘dead hedging’ (natural fencing which is great for wildlife) around our site to help keep it secure. At our Borde Hill, Haywards Heath site we have picket fencing in place and gates that are kept locked during the day.Our numbers are small and we have very high adult to child ratios so are always able to keep children within sight. We do ask that children come to Treehoppers in a bright raincoat please and can recommend some good suppliers, many of whom have offered us discount codes to use. We can also provide a yellow branded t-shirt & sweatshirt to help ensure that the children are dressed in brightly coloured clothes that are easy to spot in the woods! If you aren’t able to buy a bright jacket then we may be able to lend you one for a term and we also have our own branded hi-vis jackets for the children to wear.

We generally only take children for a minimum of 2 days. This helps them to settle into the Kindergarten easier, make friends and really benefit from the Forest School approach. For young children in particular, a week is a very long time!You can send them to Treehoppers as well as another pre-school, nursery or childminder and if you are claiming funded hours we are happy to  help you with any paperwork.

Please contact us for more details of current fees and funding.

We do accept Government funding and to find out when your child will be entitled click here. 

We would encourage you to check if you are eligible for 30 hours childcare even if you are not intending to use all these hours. If you are eligible you will then be able to use some of these ‘spare’ hours to cover the additional weeks that Treehoppers are open and minimise your childcare costs. Click on this link to be taken to the Childcare Choices website.

Some 2 year olds are also entitled to funding currently. This includes families on a low income, with a looked after or adopted child or with special needs/disabilities. Please check this link for more details on who is eligible.

Funding is due to be extended to more 2 year olds from April 2024 – we are intending to offer places although haven’t yet received all the details of rates from West Sussex County Council.


Please be aware though that most of the literature you will see about Early Years Funding refers to it as ‘free’ and whilst the hours are to be given free, there are costs to the nursery which are not covered by the government funding. Where parents choose to access an enhanced offer (over and above the basic Government funded provision) there will be an extra charge that covers our additional services. These services include, but are not limited to: resources, additional snacks, activities like Tiny Tekkers football, yoga, cooking, woodwork, equipment or gifts that the children take home. You are not obliged to take up these additional services and you can access your funded only hours at NIL COST over the 46 weeks. However, not all of our funded sessions are NIL Cost and we have limited spaces available on this basis. There are a few different options, depending on your childcare requirements: get in touch for more information.

Like all nurseries, pre-schools and childminders we will follow the Early Years Foundation Stage. But the difference is we do it outside and we believe that anything you can do inside, you can do better outside! Literacy is so important and a huge part of our day – stories, songs, rhymes, role play activities, learning the names of animals, insects, reflecting on the activities they do during the day – all of this helps to build children’s language, literacy and communication skills. Outdoors, just as indoors there are lots of opportunities too for early maths – for example counting and calculating various materials/resources/sticks and while playing games. Children will spend so many years of their young lives inside, sitting at a desk – let them enjoy their early years outside!

Forest school is fun! We have well trained and highly qualified teachers who plan exciting activities to capture children’s imaginations and encourage them to play, explore and build skills. As you can imagine we have a lot of risk assessments in place and the children are taught safety rules in an age appropriate way. For example our older children learn a safety poem which reminds them about how to keep safe outdoors. 

Yes we can arrange visits to either our East Grinstead or Haywards Heath site – we usually only offer afternoon visits as our mornings are very busy.We encourage new families to come along to our monthly free ‘stay & play’ sessions. This is an opportunity to stay for longer, your child to play and for parents to meet some of the team. Before you visit we would suggest you have a look at our social media pages and for our East Grinstead site you can view our ‘virtual tour’ on YouTube. This was filmed during the first lockdown and features one of the teams children! Hopefully it will give you a snapshot of the sorts of things we get up to. Please get in touch with us by email to find out more:

Forest School East Grinstead
& Haywards Heath

Explore our locations

East Grinstead
Treehoppers at East Grinstead opened in 2018 and is set within woodland at East Grinstead Sports Club, Saint Hill. With 33 acres to explore the children have both woodland and fields as their outdoor classroom and can watch the steam trains of the Bluebell Railway go past too.
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Haywards Heath
Treehoppers at Borde Hill Gardens, Haywards Heath opened on the 4th May 2021! It is an enormous, wonderful space, very centrally located and accessible to families living in Cuckfield, Haywards Heath, Lindfield, Burgess Hill and surrounding villages. We take the children on regular visits to the gardens too.
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