It is where Wendy, John, and Michael Darling sleep and play, equivalent to a kids' bedroom and playroom in modern times.
When George discovers Wendy is once again telling what he calls "silly, impractical stories" to her brothers, he kicks her out of the nursery as the "last straw" in his discussions with her, stating that she will have her own room by presumably the next night as part of her maturity. At the end of the film, unlike the events of the novel and 2003 movie adaptation where they are awake and flying into the nursery window, Wendy and her brothers are revealed to have been sleeping the duration of their parents' absence, with Wendy mysteriously asleep at the window seat. A cloud shaped like a galleon sails across the moon a short time later, after Wendy wakes.
The nursery makes a reappearance in Return to Never Land, repurposed as Jane and Danny's bedroom, though the sequel has many inconsistencies and continuity problems. It also appeared in Tinker Bell, albeit much smaller as John and Michael have not been born yet and Wendy is Michael's age. It also made an appearance in Once Upon a Time, albeit configured a bit differently and with colors more closely matching the 2003 Warner Brothers film's version rather than the Disney version, though the dormer, window seat, and French windows are still there.
It is located at the top of the roof of the Darling home, and it can be viewed from a gable dormer (a dormer resembling a doghouse) on said roof. Inside it's a quite enormous room with three beds, a dressing table, a toy chest at the foot of John's bed, and a foyer that leads into another room presumed to be a storage space, as Nana and Wendy leave this area carrying medicine bottles and a water pitcher respectively. Other objects in the nursery include various framed pictures on the walls, a dining table with chairs, a vanity with mirror, and what appears to be a bookcase on one wall near the door. Another shot reveals a chair that remarkably resembles a modern-day recliner.
The room is largely covered in purple carpeting except for the floor edges, which are hardwood. On top of the carpeting are several circular rugs. However, the version featured in Peter Pan's Flight removes the purple carpeting, leaving the floor completely hardwood, and is significantly smaller that how it appears on the movie or the sequel.
Definition of nursery
While the modern connotation of the word applies to infants in modern-day speech, in Victorian and Edwardian times, for the wealthy and middle classes, a nursery was a room or suite of rooms, usually at the top of a house (where the roof is), made for the purpose of caring for a family's children. Sometimes, this would include the night nursery where the children slept (with beds, as most often depicted), and a day nursery where they ate and played, or a combination thereof (as depicted in the Disney movie). The nursery suite would include some bathroom facilities and possibly a small- to medium-sized kitchen for the preparation of the children's meals. Like in Peter Pan, children who became too old to continue their care in the nursery are assumed to have got a separate room when they became old enough to leave. In the Victorian and Edwardian household, the children's quarters were referred to as the nursery, but the name of the responsible servant (or servants) had largely evolved from "nurse" to "nanny". The nursery maid was a general servant within there, and although regularly in the presence of the children, would often have a less direct role in their care, unlike how Nana is portrayed as being very much involved in the film.
The nursery maid reported to the nanny (or nurse) and assisted her in taking care of the children of the employer's family, her duties including tidying and maintaining the nursery, lighting the fires in the nursery during wintertime, and carrying meals, laundry, and hot water between the nursery, kitchen, and scullery. It was a junior role for young girls in real life, working under the supervision of the experienced and usually older nanny. Nursery maids typically wore a uniform, similar to the other maids in the household. In 1845, for instance, the satirical magazine Punch published a guide to domestic servants in which it suggested that any girl could undertake the duties of a nursery maid, as every girl had the requisite training of "snubbing and slapping" either her own siblings, or the siblings of other people. Domestic service agencies supplied nursery maids and sometimes gave basic training, for which popular manuals were also published..
In many houses, the nursery was situated at the top of the house so children could not be heard and clutter from their toys and games could be limited. Here the nursemaid spent much of her time washing, dressing and undressing the children. The coal and/or wood fire was kept alight on all but the hottest days of the year, as the top rail of the guard was used for airing the children’s clothes and shoes, creating humidity.
Once the children were washed and dressed, breakfast was sent up from the kitchen. During the morning there would be lessons (basically homeschooling if a family was wealthy enough), followed by lunch, which was usually eaten in the nursery.
After a short sleep in the afternoon, followed by a walk in the park or other recreational activities in those days, the children were washed and changed and taken down to the parlor to spend an hour or so with their parents. Here they talked politely, sang or recited to visitors, or listened to music before returning to the nursery for tea. After tea there was time to play with their toys and games for a while before they were washed and put to bed.