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Hotwell’s Children’s House, a new independent and non-profit setting Montessori nursery and preschool, is opening at Hotwells Primary School in September 2024.

Created by Erin Blessitt and Sarah Mills, experienced nursery managers and early childhood specialists, the small setting will have space for 24 children, and will be open from Monday to Thursday, during term times only.

Erin and Sarah currently manage the twice outstanding Clifton Children’s House, which will sadly be closing in July this year following the retirement of the owner. As good friends as well as colleagues, they have always dreamed of opening their own setting, and the closure of their setting has been the nudge they needed to set the wheels in motion.

Their recent Ofsted report described their leadership as ‘exemplary’ and stated, ‘A sharp focus on children’s emotional well-being is apparent from the moment they walk through the setting door. The emphasis on secure attachments and meaningful relationships with each child is highly evident.’

Erin and Sarah are looking forward to continuing the warm, nurturing and inclusive practice they have embedded at their current setting in their new surroundings.

The setting will be based in a light and airy Victorian building, with access to the outside spaces on offer at Hotwells Primary School. It will be richly resourced, with some well loved Montessori resources being bought from their current setting as well as some carefully chosen new resources planned to enhance the provision.

Children will be free to lead their own learning within a carefully prepared environment, and within the ground rules and routines of the setting. The Montessori philosophy is hands on, encouraging children to learn by doing, and supporting children to see themselves as citizens of the world.

The setting day will run from 8.30am until 4pm, with long periods of time for self-directed learning, interspersed with time to gather together and enjoy songs, stories or music and movement. Two year olds will stay for the morning sessions, and will go home after lunch, and older children will stay all day.

“I am so excited to be on this journey towards opening our new setting,” said Erin. “I’m particularly looking forward to building on our amazing practice and adapting it to the new space. We’re really looking forward to having gross motor activities inside, something we don’t have space for currently, and we have big plans for climbing, balancing and building!”

Sarah added, ““Erin and I cannot believe how lucky we are to be embarking on this adventure together. We have always dreamed of opening our own Montessori setting! We are so excited to make a new, open plan space our own and to serve the local community by providing an outstanding setting that holistically supports families, from a place of empathy and understanding.”

There are some spaces remaining for September 2024 entry, and interest is being registered for September 2025 entry. For more information (including details of upcoming open days at their current setting), visit