Lockdown Recipes – Beef Chilli


2 large onions,

500ml mince,

2 large peppers (any colour),

2 tablespoon of tomato puree,

2 x tinned tomatoes,

1 x tin of kidney beans or baked beans,

1 teaspoon of ground black pepper,

2 teaspoon of paprika,

1 teaspoon of ground ginger,

4 teaspoon of cinnamon,

4 teaspoon of cumin,

2 x beef of vegetable stock cubes


  1. Dice the onions and peppers

  2. In a large saucepan, fry the mince, onions, peppers and all spices with a little vegetable oil on medium heat until soft

  3. Add the tin of tomatoes, tomato puree, stock and ½ a cup of boiling water. Cook for 1 hour on a low heat

  4. After cooking for an hour add the kidney beans and heat through.

  5. Serve with rice, taco’s or baked potato – yum!

Serves 4.

Maureen’s Easter Update

Dear parents,

This must be the strangest Easter we will have experienced.  As I look out over the garden, it is first time ever that there are no grandchildren running around, searching for Easter eggs.  Still, we are all doing the right thing and staying safe.  I am sure your children will still enjoy the day.

The staff working have been doing amazing and creative things with our small group of children and they are having lots of fun.

Phil and Ozzy, two of our Jannies, (maintenance managers as they like to be called) are painting for Scotland and the children will return to their nurseries freshly painted.

Nikki has been busy compiling some fun Easter ideas for you to try with the children which you can find below:

Easter Activity List

I wish you all and your lovely children a happy, healthy Easter.

God bless you all.

Best wishes,


Active Home Learning Ideas & Learning Through Play Opportunities

Below is a selection of ideas to consider for your child during this period of school closures. We are not suggesting you HAVE to do these things, but we are offering them as suggestions in case you run out of your own ideas! Also, keep an eye out for more fun ideas uploaded on our app daily.

You can also keep in touch with us through your child’s learning journal. Why not upload photos and comments about a challenge your child has completed, or share with us something that your child has been doing/exploring within their own free play, or maybe just a photo of family event you have all enjoyed. We can’t wait to see what exciting things you have all been doing from home.

Top Tips

  • Remember all children are different and have their own likes, dislikes, interests, and own timetable of development.

  • Children respond readily to routine and at present their daily/weekly routine is going to be different. Try to establish a daily routine around mealtimes, play times and rest times.

  • Offer the challenges and play ideas only for as long as it is enjoyable for your child – this might only be for 15 minutes or less for most of these activities and you can always go back to them at any time.

  • Allow lots of opportunity for your child to enjoy free play with their own toys, following their own interests and use this opportunity to observe what motivates your child and consider different ways you could develop their own interests.

Communication & Language

Read aloud to your child in your home language – encourage your child to choose the book, join in with a familiar story, hold the book themselves, turn the pages themselves, make up the story/retell the story by looking at the pictures.

Spend some time saying rhymes together/sing songs – revisit old favourites, listen to some familiar ones online, learn some new ones, action rhymes are usually the most engaging for our children

Make up a story together, write down the story as your child tells it to you, if they would like to draw their story encourage and support their mark making by writing simple captions for their pictures. Maybe they could share their story with other family members

Make a card to send to a relative or friend

Health & Well Being

Allow your child to help you prepare their snacks and meals, washing and preparing fruit or veg, spreading their own butter, serving out portions, pouring own drinks, washing up their own plate, cup and cutlery

Encourage your child to think about what you might need from the shops, gather their thoughts on what they would like to eat and write down their ideas and support them to find the products at the shops

Have them help you clean, dust, sweep, tidy the house!

Help to wash the car or their bike/scooter

Help to tidy up the garden/water house plants/feed pets/plant seeds/feed birds

Have a daily local walk/cycle/scooter or visit local park for fresh air and exercise (if we can!)

Check out the Cosmic Yoga & Go Noodle on Youtube – fun interactive video clips

Numeracy & Mathematics

Support them to sort out clothes for washing, organising items by colour for the machine, matching socks, fold clothes, put items away in the right place

Play family games such a snap, bingo, snakes and ladders

Look out for opportunities to count amounts, spot/say or read numbers on signs when out and about on doors/buses (if we can go outside!)

Baking opportunities to explore size, amount and weight

Water play exploring items which float/sink, fill containers different amounts using different sized spoons

Expressive Arts

Listening to music, dancing and playing party games such as musical bumps, musical statues

Use water and different brushes such as decorator’s brushes/rollers, old toothbrushes/scrubbing brushes for mark making on outside paths and walls

Offer opportunities to cut and stick with paper and fabric

Use cardboard boxes, tubes, packaging to make models

Use pots and pans to create drums to play along with different types of music

Make Playdough – use different shaped jars, tubs and boxes as cutters – add stones, sticks to add decoration

Update From Maureen and Parent Pack

Dear Parents,

We have spent today collating a register of the children whose parents require childcare. These are the parents who are essential category 1 keyworkers i.e. Doctors, nurses and healthcare professionals.

Thank you to everyone for helping us in this task. I appreciate this may change on a day to day basis and any category 1 keyworkers whose circumstances change should contact me at maureen@earlydaysnurseries.org.uk

We are also choosing a team of staff to provide the childcare required. This team will be taken from a large number of staff who kindly offered to work. Our other staff will be invited to volunteer for the furlough scheme and many staff have done this to help the business stay viable.  Thank you to them also.

It has been overwhelming to have the outstanding support and commitment from all to help tackle this terrible virus.

To help our ‘home parent teachers’, I enclose a pack which the managers have compiled to help your sanity!  We will continue to provide further ideas as and when we can. Please note that these are best to be opened on a laptop via the website or email to view easier.  If you do not have access to a laptop, Nikki can help get these to you another way.

Parent Pack

Activity Cards

Support learning at home

Please let me know if we can help in any way.

Best Wishes


Further Nursery Opening Information

Dear Parents

I am beginning to feel like Nicola Sturgeon with my updates but here goes!

Firstly can I emphasise that the principal and essential reason for us providing childcare is to help the main key workers, mainly healthcare to  fulfil their critical support.

I must emphasise it is not compulsory for key worker’s children to attend.  Where alternative home provision is available, this is the best option.  The main reason is to reduce the spread of transmission. Therefore the minimum number of parents who require childcare will help this cause.

As from tomorrow 24th March 2020 we will be opening only 2 settings as follows

Melville Street Nursery will be open for the key worker children from Early Days, Old Coates House and Melville Street Nursery

Walker Street Nursery will be open for the key worker children from Walker Street Nursery and Doune Terrace Nursery.  Any Pre School children should be dropped off at No.17 Walker Street and Babies, Tweenies and Toddlers should be dropped off at No 10 Walker Street.

To help contain the spread of this virus we are respectfully asking parents not to enter the nursery building.  Staff from your own nursery will  meet you and the children at the door and take them into their new rooms.    Obviously if any children are upset or unsure you can bring them in to help them settle.

We are currently looking at the childcare that will be needed for key worker children and also looking at the staff we will require.  Once these details are finalised we will update you accordingly.

Thank you again for your ongoing support and lovely comments.


Following the broadcast from our First Minister, we have decided as a company to confirm the following guidance to parents:

Only children of TWO keyworkers should attend nursery tomorrow.

Single parents who are keyworkers and have no alternative childcare arrangements can also attend.

We will continue to keep you updated.

Best wishes


New Important Nursery Information

Dear Parents

Firstly, I would like to thank you for the lovely messages of support we have received. It has really helped the managers and the staff.

As you will know, things are in a constant state of flux, but we will try to keep you updated as and when we have relevant information regarding the nursery. Our first and main priority is keeping everyone as safe as we can and I wish to emphasise that the only reason Early Days Nursery will remain open in some form, is to support the keyworkers, particularly doctors and nurses and all other healthcare workers who are in the frontline of this crisis. We have planned the following measures.


As you know from the press there is doubt about the definition of keyworkers and whether it is one or two. Everyone’s circumstances are different, and we hope to have clarity from The City of Edinburgh Council and also a hotline where we can refer specific family circumstances which do not fall into certain categories. In the meantime, children of keyworkers should report to their own nursery on Monday the 23rd March and thereafter we will update you following the instructions from the city of Edinburgh Council . The proposed plan is to gather the children of keyworkers in one or two nurseries (to be decided) but will be spread out inside and taken out to the beach, parks and the forest where and when possible.


Parents whose children do not attend nursery will not be charged fees for April and this will be reviewed month by month. The council have honoured the 1140 hours for 3-5year olds on the pilot scheme and this will help towards the ongoing costs of rents, salaries etc.


We will have a skeleton staff going forward and the governments plan to pay salaries up to 80% for people not working for the next three months has significantly helped our business viability and reassured staff. Staff working in nursery will be re-trained on essential hygiene procedures especially for Covid-19.


A hotline will be established and the app and e-mails will be kept updated as things change. Laura is leading all the nurseries and can be contacted on 0131 226 5751.

Finally we are aware that our precious children will no doubt be trying to make sense of their completely changed world and we should try to keep things as consistent as we can. We will be sending out a pack of ideas and activities for our “home” pupils soon. Any parents who would like any advice, tips or who have suggestions (nice ones!) please forward them to your nursery. My e-mail address is maureen@earlydaysnurseries.org.uk I am at present working from home but I am on call at all times on 07789937055.


New Important Covid-19 Update

Dear Parents,

As each day goes by in these challenging times, we have more issues to address.

We are advised that as a Private Nursery we can remain open to support solely the children of key workers and vulnerable children.  We wish to gauge how many parents would require childcare who are on the government’s ‘key worker’ list, a link to this is at the bottom of this message.  This will enable us to make appropriate provision. We would hope to be given more clarification on this ‘key worker’ list over the weekend. If you feel you fall into one of these categories, could you please contact your nursery manager by email to confirm your child’s attendance from next week. Please also specify which nursery your child attends.

As you can imagine this will take a bit of planning and organising and requires time to implement.

We are also awaiting the chancellor’s address today to say what support will be given to businesses and parents to ensure sustainability for all.

As a nursery business we have been told by our insurers that we are not covered for COVID-19.

Staff are also anxious and we are all working together to find answers.

Please bear with us and we will keep you up to date as soon as we know.

Best Wishes,

Maureen Crandles


Further Covid-19 Update

Following the statement by the Scottish Education Minister John Swinney at 2pm this afternoon, we now have updated information on the current situation.

We were advised that the private and third sector providers may remain open so long as they review their operating models to support the children of key workers and the families of vulnerable children. Whilst we wait for clarification of the definition of key workers, we will be open for business as usual.

Could you please inform your nursery manager of your current situation to help us assess the overall childcare requirement throughout each setting.

This is an unprecedented and fluid situation which changes on a daily basis and we will keep you updated accordingly.

Thank you for your continued support and understanding at this challenging time.

Early Days Management Team

Covid-19 Update

Dear Staff and Parents

I understand today’s government announcement regarding school closures will cause added anxiety during the Covid-19 crisis.

Whilst I fully understand this, can I ask all staff and parents to bear with us over the next two days until we have specific guidance and have time to formulate our in house action plan.

We will endeavour to do our best for all staff, parents and children during this challenging time and we thank you for your patience.

Can I ask that all parents download our Early Days Nurseries App where possible, and ensure that notifications are switched on as this will be the quickest way for us to get information directly to you.

If you cannot for any reason download the app, please can you contact your nursery manger.

We will of course send information via email and update our website regularly.

Once again, thank you for your patience and understanding.

Maureen Crandles

Activities Update

As you are aware, we are reviewing our practice and routines daily due to the ongoing COVID-19 concerns.  As a preventative measure, we have decided to stop all swimming, Tutti Footy and Bambino Beats from next week.  We will review this weekly and keep you updated if we decide that it is suitable for them to commence again.

We will continue to provide a range of other outdoor activities.

We will not be visiting indoor public places such as the museum, library or soft play areas.

As guidance continues to change daily, we will keep you updated with any other changes that we feel necessary to implement.

We thank you for your ongoing support at this challenging time.