The Bright Horizons Approach

Everything children experience is interconnected and they develop better when their learning works in the same way.

Children are not just learners; they are thinkers, feelers, explorers, and dreamers all at once.

Children's early years are a precious time of growth and development. Our nurseries provide more than just childcare. In our nurseries, our teams practice our unique Nurture Approach; an evidence-based blend of holistic learning alongside support for children’s emotional wellbeing delivered by our dedicated practitioners.

These key elements are seamlessly woven into daily nursery life to nurture your child as a whole – sparking their curiosity, fostering emotional resilience, and giving them a strong sense of self alongside practical skills.

Every act of learning, from buttoning a coat to counting, intertwines with emotional growth, building resilience and self-esteem.

Our child-centred approach which recognises individual needs, challenges, experiences and relationships. We nurture the whole child, creating a brighter future, one smile at a time.

Would you like to know more?

Take a look at our FAQs to learn more about what makes our approach unique.

Our Approach is research-based and unique to Bright Horizons. It guides our distinctive way of being with, teaching, and caring for young children. This creates the conditions for children to thrive by recognising that emotional wellbeing and security provide the foundations to learning and development, and that in turn, opportunities to learn and develop are critical contributors to confidence, self-esteem, critical thought, and emotional growth. This provides a holistic approach to early years care and education.

Our Approach differs from other childcare approaches by placing equal emphasis on emotional wellbeing and cognitive development. While other childcare providers may focus primarily on milestones or academic skills, The Nurture Approach recognises the importance in early childhood of nurturing emotional wellbeing alongside intellectual abilities and ensures the two continually overlap and interconnect.

The Nurture Approach consists of three key elements. These elements are of equal importance, and interconnect with one another to create a fully rounded developmental experience for your child.

  • Holistic Learning – delivered through our unique Bright Beginnings curriculum
  • Emotional Wellbeing – delivered through the Nurture Model
  • Inspirational Teaching & Exceptional Care – delivered through HEARTS in Action

Our Bright Beginnings curriculum encompasses a broad, interconnected approach to learning. It goes beyond traditional subject areas, such as literacy or mathematics, emphasising exploration and independent discovery as interconnected and open-ended learning. This approach supports your child's holistic development by providing a nurturing and supportive environment where they can develop essential life skills such as emotional regulation, social competence, problem-solving abilities, and critical thinking skills. It integrates emotional support with academic learning, ensuring your child can grow and thrive in all areas of development.

The Nurture Approach puts children’s emotional wellbeing and resilience at the centre of our everyday practice. Delivered by our expert practitioners through the Nurture Model, your child’s overall wellbeing and emotional development is key to all aspects of learning.

The model sets out the ages and phases of early childhood emotional development and includes emotional resilience, self-expression, problem-solving, and critical thinking as integral parts of typical child development.

We provide opportunities for self-expression, mindfulness, and social interaction and understand the key role that early brain development and neuroscience has upon teaching and learning for young children. We support children to develop these valuable skills so that they can cope with challenges, and build positive relationships with others as they learn and grow.

We work with our children according to a simple set of values. We call these HEARTS in Action.

These aren’t just high ideals that go on a poster. They’re put into action every day, by every practitioner, at every one of our settings. They set out both what we believe about how children learn and grow, and what we need to do to support them.

Together, they create the conditions for learning and emotional growth in every one of our children.

What are HEARTS?

Healthy Bodies - We support every child to develop physically, stay healthy and learn how to take care of their bodies.

Emotional Wellbeing - Emotional wellbeing is critical to our children’s’ development now, and in the future. We enable every child to recognise and manage their feelings, develop resilience, self-confidence, and self-esteem.

Secure Attachments - Every child needs to be able to form meaningful attachments with key people around them. We work in partnership with parents and carers to help children feel safe and secure with both peers and practitioners, and build healthy relationships.

Strong Relationships - We are committed to building strong, effective relationships with parents, carers, other early childhood professionals and extended families. We value how a diverse range of family cultures and experiences of inter-generational learning can enhance and support children’s holistic development.

Exceptional Teaching - Our practitioners must be skilled and trained to the highest standard, so that they can effectively meet the needs of all children, led by nursery managers who are pedagogical experts in their own right.

Safety & Security - KEEPING EVERYONE SAFE is fundamental. We ensure that children develop and thrive in an environment where they feel safe and secure, nurtured by our teams who can support them to take managed and appropriate risks.

The Nurture Approach encompasses our whole way of working with children and families. It is integrated into everything that we do, including all our daily routines and activities at the nursery through our choice of resources, planning of environments, key person approaches, play opportunities and interactions. Nursery teams create a supportive and nurturing environment where children feel safe to explore, express themselves, and develop social and emotional skills through play, learning, and positive interactions with practitioners.

The three key elements/core pillars of the Nurture Approach place the child’s wellbeing at the heart of their experience in a Bright Horizons nursery.

In practice this means we focus on the relationships and the environment to meet the social and emotional needs of every child.

Through the wellbeing curriculum children learn about feelings and friendships and this is underpinned by the Nurture Model training program.

Central to this is our key person approach which aims to ensure that every child develops a secure attachment with at least one person at nursery. This is important because children who are securely attached feel emotionally safe, are confident and curious and open to new learning experiences and opportunities.

Learning is a social experience so to be an effective learner children need to understand their emotions, develop good social skills and learn how to cope when they experience a big emotion or challenge. We explicitly teach children these skills using a relational approach built on trust, safety, play and excellent knowledge of right time child development.

The Nurture Model is a 5 month professional development programme. Training focuses on the latest neuroscience around brain development in the first three years as well as child development, attachment theory, social and emotional learning, adult wellbeing and the importance of play and creativity.

This is backed up by additional workshops on effective communication techniques and the Bright Beginnings curriculum.

Practitioners also participate in additional ongoing professional development opportunities to enhance their skills and knowledge.

You can extend The Nurture Approach to home by creating a supportive and nurturing environment, encouraging open communication and expression of feelings, modelling positive behaviours, and providing plenty of opportunities for your child to develop their emotional, physical, and cognitive skills through play, exploration, and meaningful .

If you would like to find out more specific activities to try at home, or would like further support regarding your child’s wellbeing, your Key Person or Nursery Manager will be happy to offer advice and support.

Children at our nurseries will be encouraged throughout their time with us to develop enhanced emotional resilience and social skills, self-awareness, and a strong foundation for a life-long love of learning. They will learn to build meaningful relationships with peers and caregivers, and cultivate essential life skills for thriving in big school and beyond.

Our Bright Beginnings curriculum has 5 distinct areas, which help us to plan a broad and balanced range of experiences and opportunities.

  • Feelings & Friendships
  • Thinking Creatively
  • Exploring & Learning About My World
  • Technical & Life Skills
  • Sharing Thoughts & Ideas

In practice, all opportunities and experiences will interlink continually, often within a single activity. This is entirely deliberate, because it leads to better outcomes and holistic learning.

And because nursery is part of preparing for life, these opportunities and experiences go far beyond traditional subject areas, such as mathematics, literacy and basic writing skills. For us, it’s equally important that children grow up to be able to share their thoughts and ideas, be emotionally resilient, able to manage their own feelings, be happy and make friends.

The Nurture Approach contributes to your child's transition to school and school readiness by fostering a love for learning, promoting independence and equipping them with essential social-emotional skills for navigating the challenges of school and life.

Through sensitive support, your child will learn to share, take turns, listen to others, and understand how their actions impact others. All these positive experiences build self-esteem, curiosity, and a love of learning as preparation and readiness for their educational journey ahead.

The Nurture Approach supports all children, including those with diverse learning needs or backgrounds by providing individualised support and accommodations to meet their unique needs. Nursery staff are trained to recognise and build each child's strengths, as well as to pay close attention to where they might need a little extra help; the key person provides the secure attachment that ensures children feel a sense of belonging by creating inclusive environments where all children feel valued, supported, and respected.

We understand that some children will need additional support throughout their education and life, while others may need it temporarily as they transition through different stages of learning and development. Each of our nurseries has a specialist SEND practitioner with a passion for supporting the children in their care and our Thrive Licenced Practitioners are able to offer further specialist support for children who need some extra help with their social and emotional development.