Strathburn Nursery in Inverurie has received a glowing inspection report.
Inspectors praised the primary school nursery for supporting kids through the pandemic.
The nursery received an unannounced visit from the Care Inspectorate early this month.
The nursery got ‘Very Good’ grades in all categories. Only ‘Excellent’ is better – and rarely achieved.
These included support and safeguarding of children during Covid, infection prevention and control practices, and the responsiveness of staffing arrangements to children’s changing needs during the pandemic.
A number of nurseries had received criticisms in similar reports since Covid began.
Inspectors were, however, impressed with the Strathburn staff’s “warm, caring and positive” relationship with the children.
The report stated: “Children were enabled and encouraged to explore, problem solve and extend their learning throughout the pandemic.
“All activities were carried out at a relaxed pace, children led their own play, made choices, and had free flow access to all areas and activities, including outdoors.
“These opportunities supported the children to develop their imaginations, creativity, and independence.
“A variety of strategies, including the use of a hand washing machine and hand washing posters, had been used to help the children develop understanding of germs and how to stay safe during Covid.”
Kids build up time in nursery until they feel secure
The nursery supported new and returning children following lockdown.
Children and families got a virtual tour of the nursery where they could meet all the staff.
The Strathburn Nursery inspection report said kids gradually built up their time in nursery, using a flexible approach.
This “allowed them to develop attachments with the staff and feel safe and secure within their environment”.
The report acknowledged the distribution of worry dolls to children to help them express their emotions.
Parents also praised the nursery for supporting them during lockdown.
One parent said: “We got proper help from nursery staff during lockdown.
“Activities were posted for kids every day on the Seesaw class app.
“That helped us to have something to do at home, and it also helped to be in touch, to see teachers and feel connected with nursery.”
Another said: “The staff contacted us by phone during lockdown to check how we were coping, which was really nice.”
Inspectors cited physical distancing, cleaning checklists, and regular hand washing as examples of good practice.
‘Dedicated, flexible, supportive and passionate’
The report concluded: “A dedicated, flexible, and supportive team provided consistent care for the children.
“Positive attachments with all children and families had been maintained all through lockdown.
“Staff had been responsive and proactive throughout ongoing changes within the service.
“They appeared passionate about their continued professional development, which further enhanced their ability to support the ongoing learning of children.
“The staff team were enthusiastic about using various strategies to support the children.”
Laurence Findlay, Aberdeenshire Council’s Director of Education and Children’s Services, said: “I am delighted the excellent practice at Strathburn School Nursery has been recognised by the Care Inspectorate.
“It is pleasing to see the proactive approach to ensure children’s wellbeing needs were being met through the distribution of knitted worry dolls was acknowledged in the inspection.
“It is also encouraging that the safety measures taken by the nursery were also noted in the report.”