Early Years Development

Banner. Text: Babies

A child’s first two years are critical for the development of the brain and for language development.

From birth, babies are busy, active learners, immediately investigating the sights, sounds, and feel of the world. Babies and toddlers are sensori-motor beings. They explore the world with their senses when developing motor skills. Long before they understand a concept like "under" or "far" with their minds, their bodies are learning to navigate the up and down, over and under of the physical world: their perceptions are sorting out sizes, colours, and shapes.

At Bright Horizons we provide babies with what they need: a safe world, rich with opportunities to actively explore, with books, songs, and a lot of listening and responding to their vocalisations and words.

Banner. Text: Toddlers 

A child’s third year is a time of huge change: the experience is similar to adolescence in that it is transitional. In the same way that adolescence stands between childhood and adulthood, two year-olds are moving from the total dependence of babyhood to the more independent, mobile world of preschoolers. At this age children are exploring their powers to communicate, to move purposely, to assert their independence and individuality, and to control their important bodily functions.

At Bright Horizons we provide the manageable challenges and relaxed environment that two to three year olds need. Staff understand the frequent changes in moods, interests, and capabilities and provide calm, consistent care and supportive teaching.

Banner. Text: Preschool 

As children move into the independence of the preschool years the programme for learning develops into a more structured pace of meaningful and purposeful learning, where children are encouraged to approach the world with curiosity and with a positive disposition to learn. At this stage children need confidence and the skills and desire to think for themselves, to solve problems, to work with others, to communicate, and to gain an increasing understanding of the world and how it works.

The Bright Horizons programme for learning is designed to lay the pedagogical foundations that prepare every child to:

  • Be ready to read: confidently equipped with the desire, vocabulary, and language-deciphering skills they have developed through experiences that are meaningful to them.
  • Approach the world with curiosity and the knowledge and skills that lead to success in maths and science: a growing interest in the properties of things and the relationships and forces that exist in the natural world.
  • Use their social skills: listening skills, self-discipline, patience, and discipline for the task, ability to work with others, and ability to solve problems.


Banner. Text: Growing Enhancements 

Our unique preschool Growing Enhancement activities focus on the Core Areas; Growing Readers, Growing Writers and Growing Mathematicians, all designed to help provide children with a love of learning and prepare them for school. Following each countries national curriculum our Growing Readers, Writers and Mathematicians bring these documents alive, translating learning and development standards into meaningful and purposeful activities and experiences.

“Play is the work of the child” Maria Montessori

We know children learn best through their play, which is why we ensure children are provided with activities that engage and excite them. Staff skilfully interweave learning outcomes into activities using actions, experiences, words and open-ended questions to stretch and challenge children.  Natural interest and curiosity is used as a springboard to their development in all areas such as problem solving, memory and the processing of information.

We recognise each child’s emerging needs and interests, guiding their development through warm, positive interactions. As children grow older, and as their development allows, there will be more activities led by adults, to help children prepare for learning that is more formal and their transition to school.


Our nurseries in England follow the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS), which sets standards for the learning, development and care of children from birth to 5 years old. Within the learning and development section of the EYFS there are seven areas of learning and development which we use to shape the educational programmes in our nurseries.

If you would like to know more information about the EYFS, visit the Foundation Years website.


Pre-Birth to Three

In our Scottish nurseries the national guidance document ‘Pre-Birth to Three: Positive Outcomes for Scotland’s Children and Families’ is used by staff to ensure they are providing the best experiences for children under the age of three.

Curriculum for Excellence

All our nurseries in Scotland use the Curriculum for Excellence to ensure children over three experience a broad education that develops skills for learning, for life and work, with a real focus on literacy and numeracy, and promotes an active and healthy lifestyle.

Getting it right for every child

For further information on Getting It Right For Every Child (GIRFEC), visit the government website


Birth to Three Matters

Our nursery in Wales follows the Birth to Three Matters framework for all children under three years of age.

Foundation Phase

Our nursery in Wales follows the ‘Foundation Phase’ which is the statutory curriculum for all 3 to 7 year olds in Wales.