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

End Of Week 2 Update from Maureen

Dear Parents and Staff

That’s another week of self-isolating over. My intention was to give my house the love and attention it deserves but sadly I have failed. I will do it next week!

I hope your home-schooling is going well and to help you out, we will be putting out some more ideas on the app this weekend.

A few parents have e-mailed us to say they have been charged fees for April, please be assured no fees have been charged but we cannot amend your standing orders or voucher payments, this must be done by you. Any payments received will sit as a credit on your account, should you wish these returned please note the following

  • Standing orders can be returned if you e-mail your bank details to Susan at

  • If you have paid by voucher and wish this returned, you will need to contact your voucher provider, request their bank details and reference required to ensure they allocate this back to your voucher account correctly. Once you have this information please forward to Susan at

Our little group of key-worker children are doing well and thoroughly enjoying the extra attention they are being given by the lovely staff. They are all experts at hand washing including our babies.

The staff currently working are enjoying their 3-day working week and like having even more time to play with the children. They are missing their furloughed colleagues and I wish to express my thanks again to everyone who agreed to be furloughed.

As always, I send you best wishes, keep safe.


Maureen’s End Of Week Update

Dear Parents and Staff,

We have now completed our planned tasks for the first week (I think). A huge thank you to the managers who have helped coordinate all of your arrangements in the Cobra room at 10 Walker Street office!

Nursery Arrangements

  • No 10 Walker Street is the only nursery open

  • There are 11 children registered there as category one key worker children

  • The staff appointed there who volunteered to work are:

  1. Nikki Monaghan -Nursery Manager

  2. Jose – Old Coated House

  3. Amy – 10 Walker Street

  4. Lilly and Alex – Doune Terrace

  5. Steph, Kay and Astra – Melville Street

  6. Nic (Admin) – Early Days

  7. Isabel (Admin) – Walker Street

  8. Sylvie (Cook) – Doune Terrace

  9. Phil – Maintenance Managers (Jannies)– Walker Street

  10. Ozzy –  Maintenance Managers (Jannies)– Melville Street

Sincerest thanks to our staff who volunteered to help.

The staff chosen will work a three day week and will have their hygiene training form Nikki on Monday. She will be the main contact for key worker parents at Walker Street. I am working from home as well as Susan (accounts) and Lillian (book keeper).

The remaining staff have generously agreed to the furloughs arrangement and I thank them for that.

Contact details are:

I will try to keep in touch weekly for as many updates as I can give. In the meantime keep safe and give your beautiful children a hug from us.

Look out for some fun daily ideas on our App also!

Warmest Wishes



Dear Staff

We have now collated the registers of children who will be attending nursery based at Walker Street.  This has enabled us to identify the number of staff that will be required in order to be able to provide care for these children.  The children are from all four nurseries and on average there will be between seven and twelve children attending on a daily basis.

I would like to thank everyone who volunteered to work, similarly thank you to all staff have expressed an interest in being placed on furlough.   Please find below a letter which explains in more detail the furlough process.

Letter explaining potential furlough

Once you have read the letter, you are required to email HR at by 1pm on Wednesday 25th March.  Please can you include the following information in your email :

Full Name


And one of the following statements:

  • I wish to volunteer to be placed on furlough
  • I wish to remain at work

If we move to a furlough situation, we will take into account a number of factors when considering the team which is to remain in work.  Where possible, we will select the staff that are to remain at work from those who respond that they wish to do so.  I must advise of the need to ensure that key a range of key skills/knowledge/roles and training is covered and that if this is not available from the pool of individuals who wish to remain in work we will need to look at those who have volunteered to be furloughed.  I must also advise that, depending on the response, it may not be possible for all of those who wish to remain in work to continue to do so. If this is the situation we will select those who are to remain based on the nurseries requirements, the staff that have not been selected will be placed on furlough.

Thank you once again for your patience and your support, I will keep you updated as and when information becomes available to me.

Best wishes


A Message From Maureen

Dear Staff

Firstly thank you all for your understanding and patience during this uncertain time.

I just wanted to keep you updated with where myself and the managers are with key worker children and staff.

As you know the managers have spoken to you all to ask if you would like to furlough and receive 80% of your salary for up to 3 months or if you would like to continue working.  We are considering  all of your replies as well as collating details of how many children will be requiring childcare.  We ask you to bear with us as we do this as you can imagine this is a big exercise.  I promise to have this finalised so you all know what is happening by Friday at the very latest.

The council are also gathering information on what childcare is required throughout Edinburgh and we are liaising with them throughout this process.

Your managers will be issuing a staffing up to and including 31 March this evening.  As the numbers are low staff who are due to work this week and next will  be given extra days off.  Salaries will be paid as normal.

Can I also reiterate that you will be paid as normal on the 5th April your full salary.

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.  Nikki and Claire will both be there to meet you and show ED/OCH staff around

Walker Street Nursery will be open for the key worker children from Walker Street Nursery and Doune Terrace Nursery.  Any Pre school staff should go to  No.17 Walker Street and Babies, Tweenies and Toddlers staff should go to  No 10 Walker Street.  Aaron will be at No17 to meet you and Christine will be at No 10.

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

If you have any questions please do note hesitate to contact me, Laura or your manager.

Best wishes and thank you


Update From Maureen

Dear Staff

Firstly, sincerest thanks to staff for the professional and calm approach taken towards the children in this testing time. 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 who are in the frontline of this crisis.

As you are all aware things change by the hour rather than the day and Laura and I are keen to try and inform and reassure as and when we have updated information.

We are sending out a letter to parents later and wanted to update you prior to this communication going out.


We anticipate that it will be necessary for a small number of keyworkers’ children to continue to attend Early Days Nursery.  There is still some confusion about the who will qualify for this support, and we require further clarification from The City of Edinburgh Council.  We will hopefully receive this by the end of this week.

We envisage that we will still require a small team or teams of staff to support the frontline workers by continuing to provide care for their children.  Laura, the managers and HR will be meeting at the start of the week to establish a plan for this.  Further details will be shared with you once this has happened.  I must advise that it may be necessary for Early Days Nursery to furlough many of its staff.    The government have promised that any staff who are furloughed as a result of the Coronavirus, will be entitled to up to 80% of their salary for up to three months.  As this is a new provision further information is required in order to establish how this will work in practice.


Staff who will be working throughout will receive thorough hygiene training for Covid-19. We anticipate taking the children out as much as possible to the beach, forests and parks etc and spreading them out as much as possible.


It is essential that staff reassure children and strive to provide as much consistency as they can.

We thank you for your support and we are available to talk to any staff who are worried or want advice. Please contact Laura Crandles at or 0131 226 5751 or Maureen Crandles at or 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.