Putting your child to nursery or childcare can be one of the biggest steps you take as a parent.
For the kids, it might be their first time away from Mummy and Daddy.
For Mummy and Daddy, it might be the first time letting your precious child out of your sight.
We have been looking at the recent inspection reports for nurseries and childminders across the north and north-east.
The Care Inspectorate, the watchdog for care services, uses a six-point evaluation scale with excellent being a six.
One of the nurseries praised in October was Abriachan Forest School, near Loch Ness, which was given a glowing first-ever report by inspection teams.
The facility was registered with the authority last January and was praised for the way it worked with children.
We have gathered all of October’s reports from the Care Inspectorate for the north and north east into one list.
Did your local nursery figure? And what did the inspectors think of it?
VIP Childcare, Elgin
VIP Childcare is based in Elgin Community Centre and both its quality of care and management were rated as very good.
It looks after a maximum of 67 children from birth right up until two years old.
Parents told the inspectors during the unannounced visit in September that they were happy their children were attending VIP Childcare.
The Care Inspectorate report praised the environment that had been created by staff at the Trinity Road daycare facility.
It said: “Children experienced a caring and nurturing environment that helped them to develop their individual and social development.”
Earthtime’s Forest School Nursery, Elgin
The unannounced visit to the outdoor nursery took place on September 22 with the Care Inspectorate praising its setting.
It is based in the grounds, woodlands and grassed areas surrounding
Duffus House and a yurt is set up to act as drop off and pick up point for parents.
Earthtime’s Forest School Nursery cares for a maximum of 50 youngsters aged between two and eight.
The Care Inspectorate quality of care and management were rated as very good.
Their inspection report said: “Different spaces provided lots to explore in a natural setting, where children were able to flourish.”
Earthtime Elgin Forest School Nursery, Elgin
Operated by the same company that ran the previous nursery, this facility has also been praised by inspectors.
It was rated as very good for its quality of care, environment, staff and management.
Earthtime Elgin Forest School is based at Cooper Park in Elgin and provides care for up to 16 children.
The Care Inspectorate said: “We saw that children were happy, relaxed and confident in the outdoor setting.”
Fas Mor, Sleat, Isle of Skye
Fas Mor is a purpose-built nursery area within the premises of the Gaelic University of the Highlands and Islands in Skye.
It looks after a maximum of 45 children from birth right up until aged 12.
The Care Inspectorate visited on September 3 and concluded its quality of care, environment, staff and management were very good.
The report said: “We found that there were major strengths in supporting positive outcomes for children.
“The children were all happy, settled and relaxed during their time in the nursery. They experienced warm, caring and nurturing interactions from staff who supported their care needs.”
Little Acorns Day Nursery, Aberdeen
Little Acorns Day Nursery is provided by NHS Grampian for the benefit of health service staff.
It is based in a building on the grounds of Royal Cornhilll Hospital and it looks after a maximum of 108 children of different ages in different rooms of the facility.
Following an unannounced visit by the Care Inspectorate on August 25 its quality of care, environment, staff and management were all rated as very good.
Their report said: “Children were nurtured, valued and respected during their time at nursery. Staff knew children and their families well and meaningful, trusting relationships had been established.”
Abacus Pre-school Nursery, Aberdeen
Abacus Pre-school Nursery on Aberdeen’s King Street is currently registered to care for up to 47 children of pre-school age.
The Care Inspectorate rated its quality of care, environment and management as very good following an unannounced visit on September 2.
The nursery provides care for a maximum of 47 children in three different rooms at their base on King Street.
The Care Inspectorate report said: “Children were supported by kind and helpful staff. We observed lovely interactions from staff when supporting children with their personal needs.
“This meant children felt comfortable and at ease and could be
heard laughing and giggling.”
Abacus Pre-School Nursery, Rosemount, Aberdeen
Abacus Pre-school Nursery is registered to provide day care for a maximum of 60 children.
Following an unannounced visit on September 15 its quality of care, environment, staffing and leadership were all graded as good.
In the inspection report the watchdog said that children washed their hands and while waiting for lunch played with toys increasing the risk of infection.
The manager said this was “unusual practice and pre-lunchtime routines would be
The report said: “We were satisfied that the service had appropriate infection control procedures in place to support a safe environment for children and staff.
“Opportunities for outdoor play had increased during the pandemic, helping to keep everyone safe and well.
“Staff adhered to physical distancing guidance when working with the children and at break times, helping to reduce the risk of infection.
“Some minor areas were identified for improvement. These included ensuring sinks in the playrooms were cleaned during the day and kept clutter free.
“We also suggested bins used for paper towels do not have lids to help prevent the risk of infection when opening.”
CLR Childminding, Aberdeen
The service is provided by Catherine Robertson and it provides daycare to a maximum of seven children under the age of 16.
It is based at the childminders home in the city’s Dyce area and it was subject to an unannounced visit on August 23.
CLR Childminding was give a very good grading for the quality of its care, environment and management.
The Care Inspectorate praised the rapport the childminder had with the youngsters in her care.
It said: “The childminder had built a positive relationship with minded children and knew their needs, likes and dislikes well.”
Banchory Out of School Clubs (BOSCATS), Banchory
A north-east out of school has been rated as adequate following a visit by the Care Inspectorate.
A team from the watchdog carried out an unannounced inspection at Banchory Out of School Clubs (BOSCATS) on August 31.
They subsequently made one recommendation for improvement on better record keeping.
It is operated by Aberdeenshire Council and provides care for a maximum of 52 school-age children at its based at Hill of Banchory Family Resource Centre.
The Care Inspectorate report said they spoke to parents who said staff were “friendly” but some said they did not recognise those looking after their children due to staff changes.
Parents also said communication at pick up and drop off times “could be better” with limited information about how their children spent their time at the club.
One child also told an inspector: “I don’t like coming. It’s boring.”
The inspection report said: “There had been a review of existing resources and management were aware of the need to improve the play resources and activities available.
“Some activities or toys had been set up for children, however, we found that the range of experiences available to children was not broad, stimulating or challenging enough especially for older children.
“There was also missed opportunities from staff to extend children’s play and learning.
“As a result a few children told us they were bored at the club.”
The Care Inspectorate’s recommendation said: “To more efficiently promote individual children’s care and support the provider, management and staff to ensure all staff demonstrate appropriate best practice when completing chronology entries and changes to children’s care and support plans.”
The quality of care, staffing, management and environment were all graded as adequate.
The Care Inspectorate visited Huntly in September.
Jillian Tewnion childminding, Huntly
A north-east childminder has been rated as adequate by a watchdog.
The Care Inspectorate visited Huntly-based Jillian Tewnion who looks after a maximum of four children in her home.
The watchdog made two recommendations for improvement after children were being offered diluting juice and crisps for snacks, which had been supplied by parents.
The childminder was also seen carrying out a nappy change without gloves or an apron.
According to the inspection report, the children’s personal plans had not been updated within the required six-month period.
The report said: “The childminder told us parents supply healthy choices for lunch and snack. However, we observed that diluting juice and crisps were offered as a snack option. These were not a healthy option to support children’s nutritional needs.
“Best practice infection control procedures were not followed when completing a nappy change. The childminder did not wear an apron or remove their gloves before redressing the child.
“This increased the risk of infection through cross contamination.”
The childminder’s quality of care, environment and management were all graded as adequate.
Auchterless Pre-school Playgroup, Auchterless
Auchterless Pre-School Playgroup is registered to provide a care service to a maximum of 20 children from two years to those not yet attending primary school.
It is operated from the local village hall nad has exclusive use of the large hall, small hall, kitchen and toilet facilities.
The unannounced inspection took place on September 2.
The playgroup was graded adequate for its quality of care and management while receiving a good rating for its environment and staffing.
Although the watchdog did make two recommendations relating to making sure children’s support plans contained all the information needed daily.
While the staff should log children’s progress with learning to track their progress.
The Care Inspectorate also said the playgroup venue had undergone a refurbishment.
It said: “The service had recently returned to their registered premises which had undergone major refurbishment following extensive water damage during a period of closure during lockdown.
“We found that children were being cared for in an environment that was bright, clean, tidy and well maintained.
“We saw staff were in the process of arranging display boards that would show the work of the service and reflect children’s learning and achievements.”