We have been looking at the nursery ratings for childcare facilities across the Highlands and Moray.
The Care Inspectorate, the watchdog for care services, uses a six-point evaluation scale with excellent being a six.
The majority of the ratings for childcare premises across the Highlands and Islands and Moray in January are mostly very good or good.
We have gathered all of January’s positive reports from the Care Inspectorate for the north into one list.
Did your local nursery feature? And what did the inspectors think of it?
Gemma Lander Childminder, Elgin
The care industry’s watchdog praised this Moray childminder.
The Care Inspectorate visited Gemma Lander near Elgin in November and subsequently rated the quality of care and management as very good.
Officials graded the quality of environment as excellent.
Mrs Lander can care for a maximum of six children at her home which has a large secure garden, a vegetable patch and is near woodland.
Parents told the Care Inspectorate they were “very happy” with the service and that the care given to children was of a “high standard”.
The inspection report praised the set up at the childminder’s home.
It said: “Children were being cared for in a suitable and comfortable environment that contributed to their confidence and wellbeing.
“A designated play area was equipped with a walled storage unit that had open shelving and baskets. This enabled children to select and choose from a wide variety of resources; such as construction, arts/crafts, puzzles and games.
“A chalk wall was also used for mark making and drawing. Books were displayed on a rack and children sat on the comfy sofa to look at them.”
Carmen Stillie, Buckie
A Buckie-based childminder has been praised by the Care Inspectorate.
Officials visited Carmen Stillie last November and subsequently graded the quality of care, environment and management as good.
The childminder can look after a maximum of six children and her home is near a beach and play park.
The inspection report said the childminder’s house was “warm and welcoming” and that children were in a “suitable and comfortable environment”.
It said: “The childminder’s home was warm and welcoming; children were being cared for in a suitable and comfortable environment that contributed to their confidence and wellbeing.
“Whilst there was a designated playroom that consisted of a variety of play materials, it was not in use at the time of the inspection. The child preferred the comfort of the lounge, being able to relax on the sofa and had some activities to hand such as pens and paper for drawing.”
Leys View Childminding, Inverness
A north nursery has been praised by a watchdog following an unannounced inspection.
Leys View Childminding is operated by Elisabeth and James Slaven from their home in Inverness and was graded as good by the Care Inspectorate.
Its quality of care, environment and management were all rated as good after officials visited on December 8.
Parents praised the standard of care as well with one saying they were “super satisfied” with the service.
Another said: “My child loves going there and takes part in a wide array of activities – often coming home singing a new song that they have learnt or with something they have made.”
The Care Inspectorate report said: “The childminders were warm and caring towards the children in their care. We saw that children were happy and settled.
“They were confident in their environment and in their interactions with the childminders. The childminders knew the children in their care well and discussed each child’s interests and personal care routine with the inspectors.
“Personal plans were kept up to date with information shared by parents. Children’s needs and wishes were met with compassionate care.”
Colleen Ryan, Fort William
A north childminder who cares for youngsters in her own home has been rated as very good by the Care Inspectorate.
Officials from the watchdog went to Colleen Ryan’s property in November.
They graded the quality of care, environment and management as very good following the unannounced inspection.
Inspectors said there were three children present during their visit and the feedback from parents was “extremely positive”.
One parent said: “’I am so lucky that I have her as a childminder.”
The subsequent inspection report praised the childminder’s interaction with the youngsters under her care.
It said: “During the visit the childminder was very attentive and responsive to the needs of the children.
“Initially one of the children had just woken from their nap and the childminder ensured that she provided them with reassurance and cuddles.
“There was lots of warm and nurturing interactions, chatting, smiles, praise and encouragement.”
Les Enfants Nursery, Woodside of Culloden
A Highland nursery has been praised by a watchdog.
Officials from the Care Inspectorate visited Les Enfants last December and rated its quality of care as very good with its quality of management graded good.
The privately-owned nursery looks after 95 children and works in partnership with The Highland Council to provide funded early learning and childcare.
In response to an online questionnaire sent out by the Care Inspectorate parents were full of praise for the nursery.
One said: “My little one has learnt so much since being there and absolutely loves it. Extremely wonderful people who work there and they do so much good.”
The inspection report said: “The staff provided a very good service to promote positive outcomes for all children and had substantial knowledge and understanding of the individual care needs of each of the children.
“Staff were kind, caring and very nurturing in their approach. Staff knew the children very well and told us about individual strategies used to support children to feel safe and secure.”
Kathleen MacGillivray, Fort William
A north childminder has been rated as very good by the Care Inspectorate following an unannounced visit.
Officials went to see Kathleen MacGillivray last November and praised the care offering she provides.
The watchdog rated the quality of care, environment and management as very good.
The service is provided from the childminder’s family home in Fort William and children have use of the family kitchen, lounge, hall/designated playroom and toilet.
Officials noted that youngsters can also access the garden and they also went on walks outside.
Parents praised the childminder for helping their little ones through “major milestones” and supporting them.
The Care Inspectorate report said: “ On the day of the inspection, there were two children present. They were both extremely settled and relaxed in the care of the childminder.
“There was lots of chat, smiles, laughs and positive interactions between the childminder and the children.
“The childminder offered the children encouragement and praise when trying new activities and, when required, reassurance which helped the children to feel safe and secure.”
Portree Nursery Ltd, Skye
Inspectors praised the standard of care at this north nursery.
Officials from the Care Inspectorate went to Portree Nursery last December for an unannounced inspection.
They graded the quality of care as good and the quality of management as adequate.
Portree Nursery has four interconnecting playrooms, a kitchen area, toilets, nappy changing facilities, a reception and an office.
Inspectors did not make any formal recommendations. But watchdog bosses said there were some areas that the nursery could improve.
The inspectors said they saw a buggy in the sleep room. They said children should not sleep in it because it would not be comfortable.
It also said staff should sit down at mealtimes rather than standing over the young children in high chairs.
The document said: “We highlighted to the management team that although lunchtime was a positive experience for the children, they should review the seating arrangements for staff, especially for those feeding the babies.
“There were no seats for staff to sit comfortably while they fed the youngest children. They were having to either stand over the children who were in high chairs or sit on the floor.”
Liberty Kids, Elgin
The Care Inspectorate visited Liberty Kids nursery in Elgin last December.
Watchdog officials rated its quality of care and management as good following the conclusion of their unannounced inspection.
Liberty Kids operates from a large converted detached town house in Elgin and there are two outdoor play areas.
The inspection report praised the nursery for taking children outside for walks and playtime.
It said: “Children of all ages were able to play out in the fresh air for variable periods and enjoy activities that extended their experiences and learning.
“During the inspection staff took babies/toddlers out for a walk in the community. The service had also introduced outdoor learning sessions for pre-school aged children, usually three days a week in a private woodland a short walk from the service.
“We saw that children clearly benefited from being able to explore in the natural environment, that also consisted a selection of loose parts and real utensils.”
Busy Bee’s Childcare, Dufftown
The Care Inspectorate rated this Moray childcare facility’s quality of care and management as good.
Busy Bee’s Childcare operates at Glenrinnes Community Centre and has a playroom and its own outdoor play area.
Officials visited last December and there were eight children present who had just been on a woodland walk.
Inspectors said that children enjoyed playing outside and they were “confident” when it came to dressing appropriately.
The inspection report said: “Children were able to choose to play outside in the fresh air for variable periods and enjoy activities that extended their experiences and learning.
“We saw that children were confident in putting on the right clothing with support from staff where needed.
“Children had fun climbing and balancing on logs, exploring and breaking the ice and sitting in the shelter listening to and joining in with a story.”