Southwater Nursery

Little Barn Owl’s Forest School Nursery cares for children from 1 year (confident walking) to 5 years. We are a full time Day Nursery and Forest School, which means all children over the age of 2.5 years are included in our Forest School sessions held every morning at our own private forest 5 minutes drive away.

Your child will join Forest School sessions at least half the amount of days they attend nursery in a calendar year included in the fees. The other days they will enjoy the wonderful facilities that the nursery has to offer including a lovely garden with mud-kitchen and an atelier space (creative studio) stocked with a host of high quality expressive materials such as clay, paints, sculpture materials, charcoals, pastels and lots more.

The nursery also looks out on a huge green playing field which we use for group games, picnics and events. And just down the road is the Southwater Country Park for walks and more adventures.

We have a high ratio of staff to children across the nursery and take providing high quality care, teaching and learning very seriously. We have a dedicated Head of Family Support and a dedicated Head of Children’s and Adult’s Learning who work across both our nurseries. We invest heavily in professional development of our staff at both our nurseries because we know that they are the key to children thriving and providing a first class service to you.

What is the Reggio Emilia approach?

Click here to read about our vision, ethos and educational approach.

What happens at Forest School?

The philosophy of our Forest School is to develop confidence and curiosity within children in their early years through positive outdoor experiences. They focus on developing personal, social and emotional life skills through child-led, nature-based learning.

Typically, children on Forest School build dens, climb trees, prepare, cook and eat their lunch around a campfire, role play in the woodland, carry out bug hunts, use rope swings and make up all sorts of wonderful imaginative games and activities. They also develop group interests and create theories about imaginative characters, such as their ‘dinosaur bird’ who lives in the forest or the ‘forest dwarves who live underground’. These ideas are encouraged and developed with the help of our expert team both in the forest and back at nursery and turn into long term research projects using many forms of expressive and creative mediums such as painting, drawing, sculpture, wire work, clay and many more…

Some of the benefits of Forest School:

  • Children assess risks for themselves and learn to make safe choices
  • Challenging environments with opportunities to climb trees, balance on logs and build dens offer children the chance to engage in ‘healthy struggles’, where their bodies and brains develop resilience which is critical for all learning
  • The forest encourages group interests to develop which are continued back at nursery
  • It encourages children to be naturally curious about the world around them
  • Physical strength and stamina develops as muscle strength improves
  • Nature provides unlimited inspiration for children to wonder and marvel about the natural world, these often become studies of interest about wildlife, flora and fauna
  • Opportunities for early writing and mathematics are ample
  • Playing in the woods helps children develop a life-long appreciation of nature that we hope they carry throughout their childhood
  • Children who play outdoors regularly are far more likely to be fresh-air loving, active adults, research has proven this!

All other information about our Horsham Nursery’s ethos and routines can be found in the About Us section.


Click on the images below to enlarge


Millie has been attending LBO in Southwater since January and loves it! She really enjoys her time in the forest and her imagination and creativity is being developed all the time. The link between what she does in the nursery setting and home is growing, we now have our own nature corner with growing things so she can see roots. This came about because of the uprooted trees she saw with Kelly. I couldn’t be happier, and it’s lovely to see Millie skipping up the path, excited about what she will be doing that day.
— Mum to Millie, age 3

My daughter just loves her time at LBO Southwater.  She has been at the Horsham nursery for a year but I needed to add to my hours at work so she started doing an extra day at Southwater Forest School and it’s been a huge hit.  It was a rocky start as she struggled with nursery 5 days a week (she is only just 2) but the staff where so supportive of her and I that 3 sessions was all it took for her to start talking about it all week!! Favourite statements in our house are now “John’s Bus” and “Forest Building”.  Her development has come on leaps and bounds being with some of the older kids, which I have to confess was the part that made me nervous, but LBO kids are so caring thanks to the direction they get from staff that the older kids have been brilliant. What a great addition to the LBO family offering, now that my hours are going to reduce we are considering changing one of our Horsham days so she goes more often to Southwater, as she just loves it so much…
— Mum to Elise, age 2

To read more testimonials from our parents go to the Parent Involvement page


Our nursery fees are fully inclusive of 3 meals a day plus a morning and afternoon snack, milk, and all nappies, wipes and nappy creams.

Fees as of 1st January 2017 for all children aged 1-5 years:

Full day 8am-6pm          £68

Early drop off (7.30 am to 8.00 am)   £4.00

3 & 4 year olds attending nursery using Free Entitlement Funded hours only (and not part of other full day) are available free of charge between 1pm-4pm Monday to Friday. These do not include the Forest School sessions.

2 years old - Free Funding (the term after your child turns 2)

Funding is now available for some children aged 2 and each application is assessed by the Department for Work and Pensions. Our nursery does not have the authority to award funding but we are always happy to look into whether you child would be eligible on your behalf.

3 and 4 years old - Free Funding (the term after your child turns 3)

As we offer the funding for the full 51 weeks we are open, a maximum of 11 hours funded hours a week is available that can be taken as part of the morning, afternoon, school day or full day sessions.

We do offer limited free funded places only for 3 & 4 year olds that can be used between 1pm and 4pm Monday to Friday (up to 11 hours a week all throughout the year). These do not include meals or Forest School sessions, although you can book Forest School sessions ad-hoc so your child can still be included. These will be charged at the regular session fee of a morning.

Free entitlement funding does not nearly cover the cost of running a day nursery and forest school, especially with the unique approach and high quality services we offer. For this reason we charge for additional services such as Forest School, transport to and from Forest School, meals and several other services which are detailed in our terms and conditions. The following details how much you will need to pay once free hours have been applied and additional services have been charged along with the remaining nursery hours in each session:

Fees left to pay with Free Funded Hours applied for 3 & 4 year olds inclusive of additional charges not covered by free funded hours:

Full day (6 funded hours per day free)  £45

Our nursery discounts:

  • 10% discount is awarded to full time children
  • 10% discount will be given for both siblings attending nursery or each of our nurseries
  • 10% discount will be given for twins and triplets


Fees are collected in advance on the 1st day of every month and are to be paid by standing order electronically. Fees are calculated by taking the weekly figure payable X 51 weeks a year, divided into 12 equal payments and invoices are emailed monthly. Late payment charges occur if fees are not settled by the 7th of the month.

Registration Fees AND SOME BASIC T&C’S

A registration fee of £35, used to cover the cost of a home visit and settling sessions, is payable along with a refundable deposit of £200 to reserve your child's place in the nursery. Two months notice is required to terminate your child’s place at any time for all or any days they attend. There is generally no reduction in fees for absence due to holidays and sickness, only in very severe cases would this be considered, and we do not allow children’s days to be swapped for other days of the week. Additional days can be booked in advance ad-hoc for those odd occasions you need extra days where we have the space. Our nursery closes at 6pm so to have time to discuss your child's day in depth, we ask that children are collected from 5.45 – 6pm. Late collection after 6pm will be charged. Full terms and conditions are provided with the registration form for parents on admission.

Childcare Vouchers

Little Barn Owls Day Nursery accepts all recognised childcare vouchers as way of part payment of fees.

Most recent Ofsted Report

Our Southwater Nursery opened in January 2017 and we are awaiting our first inspection. Our Horsham Nursery was graded OUTSTANDING in 2013 and 2017 and the latest report is available to read here.


southwater nursery

Little Barn Owl’s Forest School Nursery is located in the heart of Southwater, around 6 minutes drive from Horsham on the A24. Although we are on the outskirts of Horsham, we have ample parking and there is no need to fight with the town traffic early in the morning. Many of our Horsham based parents find this very convenient when they are eager to drop off their child and get to work.

Little Barn Owls Forest School Nursery

Church Lane
RH13 9BT

Telephone 01403 732722