Jun 20 2012 by Kaiya Marjoribanks, Stirling Observer Wednesday
CONFIDENT, friendly children who enjoy their experience are among the strengths found by inspectors at Old Doune Nursery in Dunblane.
The inspectors also praised use of the garden and wider outdoor environment for learning, positive relationships among children, parents and staff and approaches taken by the senior management team and staff to continuous improvement.
Among the measures discussed with staff and the education authority about how to improve were: reviewing the learning environment to give a better balance of quiet and active activities for children, increasing the opportunities to develop children’s skills in early language and maths and improving the curriculum and providing increased challenge and depth in children’s learning.
The inspectors said: “Across the nursery children learn and achieve very well. Children are happy, settled and secure. They enjoy being at nursery. Babies enjoy a wide range of sensory experiences and are cared for well. Children are very sociable and keen to share their thoughts with adults.
“The organisation and layout of both areas downstairs should be adapted to make sure important aspects of children’s learning are addressed by having a better balance of quiet and busy activities.
“Children are particularly enthusiastic about their play experiences outdoors in the garden and older children talk excitedly about their Forest School experiences.
“Children are making good progress in early language and mathematical skills. Most children talk well during imaginative play and enjoy good conversations with staff. They enjoy reading favourite books and like being read to by staff. Children’s skills would be increased further by accessing a wider range of books and other types of reading materials throughout the playroom.
“Almost all children recognise their name in print and some children are very competent in writing their own name. Displays around the playrooms ensure the children feel their attempts at early writing are celebrated and valued by staff.
“Staff working with children under three plan an appropriate range of multi-sensory learning experiences using national guidance and achievements are recorded on the ‘learning tree’.
“Staff working with children aged three to five use Curriculum for Excellence with increasing confidence to provide a broad and balanced range of learning opportunities. Staff are using the local community well to enhance children’s learning.
“There are strong links with local primary schools and staff have established some effective measures to support children moving into primary school.
“Staff are kind and caring in all interactions with the children. The enthusiasm of staff creates a very positive atmosphere in the nursery. They respond well to children’s needs and interests as they arise during play.
“Staff observe children closely and document their successes in each child’s learning journal. Staff now need to build on their methods of tracking children’s progress to ensure they provide activities at the right level of difficulty and challenge to have a more solid understanding of how children are progressing.
“Children requiring additional support are identified early by staff. Staff develop individual support plans and work well alongside parents and partner agencies to set appropriate targets for children.
“With the enthusiastic and capable whole staff team, the nursery is very well placed to continue to develop further and improve.”