Cranfield University Pre-School for children aged two years nine months to four plus (or compulsory school age) is located in a residential area of the Cranfield campus surrounded by green open space. 

About Cranfield University Pre-School 

Its main facility is a large bright room, with areas for quiet time, computer skills, role-play, construction and creative arts. There is also a separate room for music and movement and other physical activities. There is an enclosed garden for outside play. All Cranfield University Pre-School staff:

  • Have a relevant early years qualification;
  • Are committed to ongoing training;
  • Are trained first aiders;
  • Have passed all Disclosure and Barring Service checks.

The staff to child ratio meets Ofsted guidelines.

In our last Ofsted inspection, we were rated Good

Opening hours

Term-time only: Monday-Friday, 9:00am-12 noon

Admissions and fees

We can accept applications for the pre-school once you have been secured a place at the University. You do not need to wait to be allocated an address on campus before you apply. Please contact in order to secure your child a place on the waiting list.

Children are entitled to 15 hours of government-funded childcare per week the term after their 3rd birthday. If spaces allow, children aged 2 years 9 months to 3 years will be charged per session. There is a charge of £15.00 per session for non-funded children which must be paid termly in advance. 

A snack fee is paid termly by all children at a rate of 80p per day for a healthy snack.

Early Years Foundation Stage Framework

At Cranfield University Pre-School we follow the Early Years Foundation Stage. The EYFS Framework exists to support all professionals working in the EYFS to help your child, and was developed with a number of early years experts and parents.

It sets out:

  • The legal welfare requirements that everyone registered to look after children must follow to keep your child safe and promote their welfare;
  • The 7 areas of learning and development which guide professionals’ engagement with your child’s play and activities as they learn new skills and knowledge;
  • Assessments that will tell you about your child’s progress through the EYFS;
  • Expected levels that your child should reach at age 5, usually the end of the reception year; these expectations are called the 'Early Learning Goals (ELGs).  

The EYFS Framework explains how and what your child will be learning to support their healthy development. Your child will be learning skills, acquiring new knowledge and demonstrating their understanding through 7 areas of learning and development. Children should mostly develop the 3 prime areas first.

These are:

  • Communication and language
  • Physical development
  • Personal, social and emotional development.

These prime areas are those most essential for your child’s healthy development and future learning. As children grow, the prime areas will help them to develop skills in 4 specific areas.

These are:

  • Literacy,
  • Mathematics,
  • Understanding the world,
  • Expressive arts and design.

These areas are used to plan your child’s learning and activities. The professionals teaching and supporting your child will make sure that the activities are suited to your child’s unique needs. This is a little bit like a curriculum in primary and secondary schools, but it's suitable for very young children, and it's designed to be very flexible so that staff can follow your child's unique needs and interests. Children in the EYFS learn by playing and exploring, being active, and through creative and critical thinking which takes place both indoors and outside.

You can find the Early Years Foundation Stage, which includes the Early Learning Goals, on the Foundation Years website. This site also includes a range of resources and contacts.

Key person

Every child will be allocated a key person.

This is the person who:

    • Is your main point of contact within the setting;
    • Helps your child to become settled, happy and safe;
    • Is responsible for your child’s care, development and learning;
    • Takes a careful note of your child’s progress, sharing this with you and giving you ideas as to how to help your child at home;
    • Completes your child’s profile.

Term dates

Term dates 2023/2024

Autumn 1st half term

6 September-20 October 2023

Half term holiday

23 October-27 October 2023

Autumn 2nd half term

30 October-20 December 2023

Christmas holiday

21 December 2023-2 January 2024

Spring 1st half term

3 January-16 February 2024

Half term holiday

19 February-23 February 2024

Spring 2nd half term

26 February-28 March 2024

Easter holiday

29 March-12 April 2024

Summer 1st half term

15 April-23 May 2024

Half term holiday

24 May-31 May 2024

Summer 2nd half term

3 June-17 July 2024

All subject to staff training days.

Pre-School policies

Cranfield University Pre-School has a range of policies and procedures which parents are required to review prior to admission. These will be sent to parents by email.

If you would like a copy of a specific policy, please email

Special Education Needs and Disabilities Support (SEND)

View the Local SEND offer.

For more information, visit the Central Bedfordshire website.