Education Scotland emphasise the importance of blending the terms ‘early learning and childcare’ following the introduction of this term in the Children and Young People (Scotland) Act 2014. As a nursery that works in partnership with the local authority and boasts 7 qualified primary teachers across 6 settings, we are passionate about combining education with child care and strongly believe that even the youngest babies benefit from experiential play.
Our under threes benefit from the Pre-Birth to Three curriculum which supports staff to provide positive outcomes for children through a wealth of experiences that range from developing relationships to the rights of the child. Learning through play is at the heart of our business and activities can be as simple and diverse as cuddling up to share a story, experimenting with different textures/tastes or experiencing changes in the weather outside. We take our cues directly from the children and their interests are central to our planning whether it be a fascination with the falling leaves or a favourite story. Our dynamic staff take a pride in providing the children with exceptional experiences both in our nurseries and in the local area. We are frequent visitors at the Botanic Gardens, National Museum of Scotland and Gorgie Farm to name a few. Our ‘high vis’ vests are famous in the West End as we teach the children about road safety and health and wellbeing and we value physical and mental wellbeing as highly as literacy and numeracy. We are also fortunate to have some visiting teachers who join us regularly to impart their specialist knowledge in yoga, ball skills and music.
Curriculum for Excellence builds on the foundations laid by Pre-Birth to Three by offering a more comprehensive framework that encompasses different curricular areas including Literacy, Numeracy, Health and Wellbeing and Science. Our staff plan exciting interdisciplinary learning experiences for the 3 – 5 year olds in our pre-school settings. These experiences can range from designing and building a life size spaceship out of tin foil to participating in den building at Forest Schools. Once again the children are the impetus for all learning themes and not only do they engage in self and peer assessment but they also evaluate all aspects of their learning from the physical environment to their teachers!
We are fortunate to benefit from many excellent frameworks that support us in our educational journey to excellence and one of the more recent documents is Building the Ambition. Staff have engaged well with this document and following our annual training day are now using this to support planning and to deliver the high quality learning experiences that you see in all of our nurseries.
How good is our early learning and childcare helps us to self-evaluate and stay on the road to continuous improvement by focusing on a number of quality indicators. This framework encourages us as educators to ‘look inwards, outwards and forwards’ and allows all children, parents and staff from our students to the Director, Maureen Crandles, to evaluate every aspect of our leadership and management, learning provision and successes and achievements.