Whale Island

Set in the grounds of HMS Excellent on Whale Island, Whale Island Nursery provides excellent quality nursery childcare for Service families, Whale Island personnel and the local community.  We are incredibly proud of our ‘Outstanding’ Ofsted status, which was awarded to us in 2014.

Ofsted Outstanding Logo 2013&2014

HMS Excellent is a Naval base providing the children with a secure space to play and explore.  The island has much to offer including shore line nature trails and walks around the base where the Royal Marines band could be practising or a helicopter landing to make for an interesting day and a great learning experience.  The children utilise a wide range of indoor and outdoor activities enabling them to learn through exploration and play as well as staying safe and healthy.

Our experienced and qualified staff team at this wonderful Portsmouth Nursery provide a welcoming, safe and exciting environment where children’s development and happiness is our primary focus.  The staff team provide enhanced support for the families of service personnel  by providing a variety of ‘keep in contact’ activities, when one of the parents is deployed. These activities ensure the absent parent and the child keep in regular contact.

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Through membership of the YMCA Community, you will have the chance to feel a greater sense of ownership and belonging, as well as enjoying exclusive member events, discounts and early booking discounts.  For more information visit our Membership page.

Opening times

Monday to Friday 0730-1800 for 51 weeks of the year.  The Whale Island nursery is closed on Bank Holidays and between Christmas and New Year.


Our Whale Island nursery is registered for 58 children from 4 months – 4 years and has two 2 light and airy rooms in a modern building:

Baby Room (children aged 4 months- around 2 years, staff ratio 1:3)

  • Space – a large room with a separate nappy changing room and kitchen, the baby room has its own garden area perfect for exploring and making sense of the great outdoors.
  • Room layout – this meets all of the varied needs of the children with opportunities to cook, get messy, be physically active and creative.
  • Fabulous team – our experienced nursery nurses in the room actively introduce the children and parents to new experiences such as treasure baskets and heuristic play sessions.
  • Environment –  the staff team strive to create a loving and caring ‘home from home’ feel and have firm bonds with their key children and their parents.

Toddler Room (children aged around 2 years-3 years, staff ratio 1:4)

  • Indoor space – a bright room divided into Toddler and Pre-school sections, with areas to match the children’s interests such as a role play and creative.
  • Outdoor space – children have access to a large garden with both safety surfaced and grass areas, large sandpit and a supply of bikes, trikes, balls and crates to help them sharpen their gross motor skills and stay healthy.
  • Activities – children benefit from a mixture of child initiated and adult led activities to enhance their learning and help them achieve their next steps.  The children are encouraged to be caring, confident and active in our care and learn to take safe risks in their play.
  • Staff – our loving team pride themselves on the standard of activities provided to the children. They aim to inspire their young minds by modelling good behaviour and providing exciting activities such as funky feet paining, bread making and imaginative role play.

Pre-School room (children aged 3 years and over, staff ratio 1:8)

  • Indoor space – the room has a large creative area with sand and water play and a quiet area equipped with two computers where the children can sharpen their ICT skills.
  • Active – children can free flow into the large garden where they have space to run, climb, balance and jump or use the changeable role play area that is currently a camp site!
  • Growth – we encourage children in this room to improve their confidence, independence and knowledge and understanding of the world.
  • Independence is encouraged allowing the children to try new things, celebrate their successes and provide exciting activities that challenge them as individuals and to develop the skills to deal with their future school life.
  • Pre-school – we follow the Early Years Foundation Stage (www.education.gov.uk) and our organsiational approach to assist children in developing and preparing the skills needed to succeed in their lives.

For more detailed information on our fantastic Portsmouth nursery, please contact us.  Our new prospectus will be available shortly.

Peace of mind

As with all our nurseries, YMCA Portsmouth Nursery, Whale Island is Ofsted registered (latest report Ofsted Reg: EY 319060) and has a dedicated, well-trained staff team. All staff undergo an enhanced DBS disclosure before commencing employment.

We are incredibly proud of our ‘Outstanding’ Ofsted status, which was awarded to us in 2014.

Ofsted Outstanding Logo 2013&2014

 Healthy meals

At our Portsmouth nursery we aim to assist children in healthy child development so therefore provide breakfast, mid morning snack, hot homemade lunch, a mid afternoon snack (normally made by the children) and a light afternoon tea.  All meals and snacks served are age appropriate; we aim to use meal times as a chance to enhance your child’s social skills and confidence with food.  We can also cater for children with their individual dietary requirements.

You can contact us at our Portsmouth nursery in the following ways:

Tel: 02392 547182

Email: whaleisland@ymca-fg.org

Alternatively, if you have any feedback from our Portsmouth Nursery please email feedback@ymca-fg.org.

Our postal address is: YMCA Little Whale Nursery, HMS Excellent, Whale Island, Portsmouth PO2 8ER

We are located here:
Google Map


Feedback from our customers is very important to us as we seek to improve the service we offer.  Here are some comments from our parents:

“Excellent nursery / pre-school, they really do take it that one step further to establish their Outstanding status.  Staff members care about what they do and show that it’s not just a job, but a career.  Highly recommended if you want your children to have a head start going to school.”

“I cannot recommend Whale Island nursery enough, the children are happy, healthy and well cared for.  There is a big focus on the outdoors and always an interesting programme.  Whether it is walking down to visit the boats, watching helicopters land or watching the marching bands.  My 2 year old loves it there and I cannot recommend it enough.”

“What I value the most about Little Whale Nursery is the management and staff are continually striving to develop the children and assisting families with their individual needs and requirements. This is something that we have benefited from” Karen Morris

“My daughter has been in Little Whale nursery for two years (since the age of 1), and I can honestly say that every day my daughter goes in and comes out happy.  The management and staff are friendly and approachable and genuinely care about my daughter and the other children at nursery. The children do very interesting and often “wacky” activities, always stretching them physically and mentally.  Planned activities within the nursery and off site provide the stimulation and physical challenges that my very active 3 year old daughter requires!”  Caren Doig

“Above all else we value the fact that George is happy to spend his day at nursery, he’s excited to arrive and is always having fun when we arrive to pick him up” Emma-Jane Jagger

“Little Whale Nursery have looked after both of my children and I have always been so impressed with the way the staff communicate and look after the children. I love how the staff show a genuine interest in the children and find they really do have a passion for the job they do. Thank you to everyone at Little Whale for providing me with such comfort when I leave the children each day” Ceri Taylor

“Both of our children have very different personalities and the staff have nurtured these needs in a safe, caring, fun and stimulating environment helping us to raise two confident happy children. Both of our children have amazing relationships with the staff and I believe this has helped them socially and in preparing them for school.  My daughter enjoys the many varied activities undertaken throughout the day, and that she is encouraged to enjoy the outside areas in all weathers, R enjoys finding the biggest muddiest puddles to jump in and all this energy is replenished by healthy food and snacks provided by the nursery” Samantha Howard

YMCA Nursery, Whale Island Recommended on daynurseries.co.uk

Call us to arrange a visit

We are very proud of our Portsmouth nursery and would love to show you round.   To arrange a visit, please contact us on 02392 547182.

Our fees, valid from September 2017, reflect our excellent care.  After your visit, if you decide that you would like your child to join the nursery, you will be asked to complete our Enrolment Pack and our Starter Pack, and to read and sign our Nursery Terms and Conditions.

Free Pre-School Sessions

Each child in the UK is entitled to 15 hours of free pre-school sessions per week effective from the term after their 3rd birthday. Please contact us if you require further information regarding this.


Prospective parents are welcome to arrange an appointment to view the nursery. Please contact us if you have any further questions.


Keep up to date with nursery events and whats on by following us on Twitter and like our Facebook page.

Our Procedures

We want to work in partnership with parents and carers, and it is important that we are open about what we do and why. Therefore, our childcare procedures are accessible to all.

These may answer some of the questions you might have about us, and how we work, day to day. If you have any queries on any of these procedures, please do not hesitate to contact us.