Welcome to the homepage of St. Peter's Preschool,

a unique early years setting for 2-4 year olds on the edge of ancient woodlands in Walthamstow.

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Kids in Slide


Open to 2-4 year olds, the preschool operates from Monday to Friday from 8:45-3:15pm and makes use of the unique setting of Peterhouse on the edge of beautiful Epping Forest to offer an experience that blends the best of a traditional preschool with a 'forest school' style experience for every child who attends.

We are currently awaiting our final sign off from OFSTED and the local authority in advance of our launch on 1st November 2021, but we are very happy to receive expressions of interest and full registrations while these processes are completed.

If you are ready to sign up and register your child for a place now, click here!

Children in Playground

RBF cares passionately about ensuring that every child is able to explore and fulfil their potential. As such, in offering preschool provision we look to create an exciting and engaging environment where children are free to choose activities and resources as they wish as well as enjoying more structured time together.

Our special partnership with the church of St. Peter in the Forest means we can offer a unique early years setting at Peterhouse which benefits from not only a huge indoor space filled with activities for children to explore, but also a large outdoor garden with a large grass and 'wild' area, the beautiful churchyard of the recently restored St. Peter's and the wonderful ancient woodlands of Epping Forest. Gathering in the Peterhouse Hall 'base camp' each morning, children will be delighted by a wide array of activities to choose from before heading out on 'adventures' in the garden, churchyard and forest.

Each week has a special theme according to what is happening in the wider world combined with a core question or thought that is being explored across all of RBF's work, and we regularly ask the children about ideas, topics and activities they would like to explore and include these in our planning - so one week we might be looking for unicorns in the forest and painting glittery pictures of what we spotted, the next we could be making superhero outfits and saving the world in the garden and then on the third week we'll putting up tents in the churchyard and toasting marshmallows around the fire pit imagining we are on a jungle expedition!

As part of the RBF family of OFSTED registered settings, the preschool also benefits from the fact that they are part of a much wider group of projects for children led by the charity, so we can bring staff from other activities that RBF leads to run special sessions including performing/creative arts, sports, dance and more. In addition, as part of our partnership with St. Peter's, we are delighted to welcome members of the church team to the setting regularly and also to hold special performances and services in the church building including services for Harvest, Christmas, Easter and Pentecost as well as our 'graduation' celebration each July!



Kids Playing with Lego


Term Dates

St. Peter's Preschool broadly follows the school term dates of the London Borough of Waltham Forest and we are actively exploring running additional provision during school holiday times where there is demand for us to do so. Our term dates for 2021/22 are as follows:


Week beginning 1st Nov: Settling in week (children attending half day sessions in small groups)

Christmas Term: 1st Nov to 17th Dec


Easter Term: 4th Jan to 1st Apr (INSET Day 11th Feb; Half Term 14-18th Feb)

Pentecost Term: 19th Apr to 22nd Jul (INSET Day 27th May; Half Term 30th May-3rd Jun)


We open for drop off from 8:45am and parents/carers are welcome to drop and go or stay for a drink in the Peterhouse Coffee Bar (or head over to the brand new cafe at St. Peter's). Doors close at 9am.

Children attending for half day sessions are ready for collection at 12noon and must be collected by 12:15pm at the latest.

Children attending for full day sessions are ready for collection by 3pm and everyone needs to be picked up by 3:15pm at the latest.


Children are welcome to attend from one half day each week up to five full days. Please be aware that where we are oversubscribed, priority is given to children attending more sessions as this aids consistency of care and building friendships within the setting.

Where it will not take us outside of our safeguarding ratios, we may occasionally be able to cater for one off situations for current preschool members who need to attend extra sessions (such as where a parent/carer has to go into the office for an extra day) - if you need to access this service please contact at least 48 hours before the session is required.

As a charitable organisation dedicated to supporting families, we want to make our services as accessible to families as possible.


All families are required to pay a £75 holding deposit to secure their place at St. Peter's Preschool which is refunded to you when your child leaves the preschool if there are no arrears on your account. Your deposit also secures you your child's first uniform jumper, jumpsuit and wellies and we ask that when your deposit is returned you consider donating old uniform to us to keep as spares and to help out families who might not otherwise be able to afford it. Please note that if you pay a deposit but your child does not end up attending the preschool then it is non-refundable.


We have a simple pricing structure of £22 per child per half day attended. All fees have to be paid in advance (so fees for September are payable by 28th August) and places will be suspended where families are in arrears. 

Eligible for 30 Hours Free Childcare?

If you are eligible for 30 Hours Free Childcare then you do not need to pay anything. However, the amount which RBF receives from the government for providing free childcare places is significantly less than what it costs us to offer the provision, so we invite all families to make a voluntary contribution to the Red Balloon Foundation of £6 per half day attended to help make up the shortfall. UK Taxpayers can additionally Gift Aid their donation. Please note that donations are entirely voluntary and if you cannot afford to make them your child can still access everything that the preschool has to offer.

St. Peter's Preschool is run by a charity and operates on a not for profit basis. Any surplus that the setting generates is reinvested into supporting vulnerable families across RBF's work.

Additional Fees

Please note that collections made after 3:15pm will incur a charge of £10, rising by £5 each time in the term that a family is late to pick up. The Peterhouse Hall is used by other groups every evening and our team needs time to clean and clear the space ready for the next users.

Please be aware, in accordance with our Safeguarding Policy we have to make a report to Waltham Forest Social Care with regard to children who are persistently not collected in a timely way from RBF activities that they are attending.

Children in the Garden


Kids in Preschool


Our day begins with free flow choosing within the Peterhouse Hall. When all of the children have arrived and settled, we gather for our first circle time of the day where we introduce the children to what today's adventure will be - whether we are playing in the hall and garden, the churchyard or the forest (or maybe some extra indoor time if the weather is really bad) - then we toilet, get suited and booted and head out for our morning adventure.

We offer healthy snacks and drinks throughout the morning and afternoon wherever we find ourselves and, where possible, the children are involved in preparing and sharing them with one another.

All children who are staying for the full day are requested to bring along a packed lunch with them and often we will enjoy our lunches outdoors as a picnic. Children who are only staying with us for the morning do not need to bring lunch. Children who are joining us at midday should bring a packed lunch with them rather than eating before they attend.

We are looking at whether we will provide pre-made packed lunches for the children and/or a cooked lunch on one or more days in the week. Once we have feedback from parents/carers on this, we will incorporate this into our offer from January 2022.

During the afternoon we may have another adventure to a different area or stay out if we have had a picnic lunch. Usually by around 2pm we head back to the Peterhouse Hall to get out of our coveralls and wellies, use the toilet and have some final circle time where we reflect on our adventures, listen to a story and then we're ready for pickup at 3pm.



As part of our role as a pre-'school' we believe it is important to prepare children for their primary school experience by having a simple uniform.

All families will receive a first set of a sweatshirt, coverall, plimsoles, book bag and wellington boots once their place is confirmed and deposit received and will be signposted to our uniform suppliers to purchase additional branded clothes. Families for whom the cost of buying any uniform item should contact and we will always offer support with costs where needed.


  • Navy Blue Sweatshirt or Cardigan (with logo)

  • White Polo Top

  • Grey Jogging Bottoms/Leggings/Shorts/Skirt/Pinafore

  • Sky Blue Gingham Summer Dress

  • Plimsoles

  • Sky Blue Coverall (with logo)

  • Red Wellington Boots

  • Book Bag (with logo)

  • Waterproof Winter Coats, Hats and Gloves (please avoid mittens and do not send children with scarves) 

Children will change into their plimsoles on arrival and these will remain at the preschool overnight. Please note that children will spend lots of time in their coveralls and wellingtons so wearing summer dresses/skirts/pinafores may be uncomfortable when bunched up under their coverall - families are encouraged to try out different combinations at home to find what their child is most comfortable in before they start at the preschool.

Please consider your child's toileting needs when choosing uniform - things they can get on/off quickly are often desirable! We ask that all families provide a spare set of underwear, socks and joggers/leggins in case of accidents.

Toddler on his Tricycle


RBF is a Christian organisation and our activities are of course open to children and families of all faiths and those with no particular beliefs. There are faith-based elements in most of the preschool sessions that we deliver. For example, there will usually be a 'Bible Story of the Week' which children can choose to engage with, in our reading corner there may be books containing Bible stories and we will say grace before our lunch each day.

In addition, St. Peter's Preschool benefits hugely from its position as a partnership project with St. Peter in the Forest Church, so your children will take part in celebrations of key Christian festivals like Harvest, Christmas, Easter and Pentecost at the church and will meets visitors and volunteers from the church who might share stories at circle time, teach special songs, etc.

In our entire time operating as a charity we have never had a complaint from a parent/carer about a faith based element in our sessions and we are proud to have had families from every major world faith as well as atheists and humanists take part in our provisions through the years.

We actively encourage children from other faiths or those who hold no particular beliefs to share what is important to them with the rest of the group and would ask that if, for example, a family is about to celebrate a particular festival at home that they let our team know so we can talk to their child about it and encourage them to share it with the rest of the group.


If you would like to discuss this aspect of our preschool further, please contact

Preschool Class


If you feel like St. Peter's Preschool would be right for your child you should complete a booking form and pay your £75 deposit. Please note that places are being booked for September 2021 quickly and we cannot hold places without deposits being paid.

If you are ready to sign up, click here to submit your application.

If you would like to find out more before you register or come in and chat to our team you are very welcome to do so. At the moment (as at June 2021) the Peterhouse site is still very much a work in progress with extensive building and upgrade works going on to get us ready for our September launch, but you'd still be welcome to come and visit, meet our team and get an idea for what it will be like when we open! If you would like to book in a time to visit, please contact, or you could pop along to one of the other groups that RBF facilitates with St Peter's like Peterhouse Toddlers or Friday Club!

Once your place has been confirmed, please note all families pay on a monthly basis four weeks in advance and missed payments will result in your child's place being offered to the next family on our waiting list.

Where we have a waiting list in operation you are still required to pay your £75 deposit but, if no place becomes available to you, your deposit will be returned. All enquiries regarding the waiting list can be sent to