the willow nursery logo
55 Grafton Square, Clapham Old Town, London, SW4 0DE

Tel: 0207 498 0319

  • * Please click on the video above to see The Willow in action.
  • The Willow Nursery School

    Ofsted visited The Willow in January 2018 and gave us a great report. Here are a few of their highlights:

    • Children who have special educational needs (SEN) are extremely well supported. Staff understand their needs and ensure they are met effectively. Staff support parents to access professional support when appropriate and invite professionals into the setting to share children’s learning and development.
    • All children make good progress in their learning and develop the attributes needed for a successful move to school. The manager monitors children’s progress and works closely with staff to plan interesting, stimulating and age-appropriate activities.
    • Children’s emotional well-being is a high priority. Staff skilfully teach children how to regulate their behaviour and understand how their behaviour has an impact on other children. Children have a very good understanding of their emotions.
    •  The manager appraises her setting well. She monitors staff practice and offers constructive criticism. Staff work towards realistic targets to improve their already very good teaching practice.


    RULER (Emotional Intelligence) at the Willow

    The Willow Nursery has been using RULER since 2015.

    RULER is a brilliant method that helps to develop the emotional well being of everyone associated with the nursery.

    RULER has been created by The Yale Centre for Emotional Intelligence, it has been built on years of research.

     Please click here to see the RULER website

    RULER is an acronym and stands for:

    • Recognising emotions in yourself and others
    • Understanding the causes and consequences of emotions
    • Labeling emotions accurately – if you can name it you can tame it
    • Expressing emotions appropriately
    • Regulating emotions effectively


    The first anchor tool for the early years is called the Mood Meter, this helps the children think of emotions in terms of energy and pleasantness.  Parents and teachers alike are delighted by how easy the children find it to use colours to express their feelings and the feelings of others around them. The second anchor tool is The Charter where the children describe the way they would like to feel when they’re at The Willow and what they can do to help themselves and their friends feel this way.

    Every two weeks a new “feeling word” is introduced, we talk about how that word feels, how to recognise it in ourselves and others and if it is a red or blue feeling how to manage our emotions to get to the right place.

    All the staff have been trained by Lulu who is qualified to teach schools to use RULER. Parents have also attended workshops which they have found extremely useful and have started to enjoy talking in colour with their children!

    Parents feedback- 
    Kirsty says- “The Mood Meter has been brilliant in helping Leo recognise his own feelings and those of people around him – his siblings, friends and parents. We all seem to use it now and it has become part of our daily family dynamic” 

     Anna Tyzack, Hector’s mummy, wrote a great article about RULER in The Daily Telegraph. Click here to have a readMummy is having a yellow day!


    Established for over thirty years, The Willow Nursery School remains one of the first independent private nursery schools in Clapham. Using a combination of Montessori and standard teaching methods set within the framework of  the Early Years Foundation Stage guidelines, The Willow is renowned for its creativity especially in the areas of art and craft,  and music and drama.

    At The Willow Nursery School we consider it of utmost priority to provide a safe and happy environment where learning is a joyful and rewarding experience. We strongly believe that encouragement and praise both in work and play, are the crucial foundations for building self-esteem and confidence.

    Our aim is to help your child to extend their social and communicative skills by sharing and caring for others, coping with emotions and expressing their own opinions whilst having the confidence to broaden their inquisitiveness and at the same time, develop an awareness of the world around them.

    Children are taught by fully qualified Montessori & Nursery teachers and assistants.

    Children are taken between the ages of 2 ½ to 5 years.

    The youngest children start The Willow with a ratio of 1:4 staff to pupils. The expansive space of our large room provides ample opportunity for the children to learn either on a one-to-one basis or as part of  a group, whilst also allowing for plenty of opportunity to role play within the safety of the school environment. There is a kitchen in which craft and cooking preparation takes place. The Willow has its own newly developed outside area in which the children can let off steam, whilst having fun with the various outdoor games available. We also have use of a stage for plays.

    Our premises have disabled access, as well as fully accessible toilets.