Heriot Watt Nursery Last inspection by Care Inspectorate May 2018

Please find below the highlights from our latest Care Inspectorate inspection:

Nurturing and respectful relationships had been developed especially for the younger children. Staff knew the children well and could describe their needs, interests and age and stage of development. This interaction helped the children feel confident and settled in the nursery.

Children enjoyed daily outdoor play and could access the garden throughout the session. Staff had worked hard on developing the garden and had introduced more natural materials and loose parts. This provided children with good opportunities for active and risky play which supported their general wellbeing. Children were also enjoying walking around the university grounds and becoming familiar with the environment around them.

Healthy lifestyles were supported by staff. Children were provided with healthy snacks, lunches and teas. Water was provided throughout the day to keep children hydrated and milk was provided at snack times. We saw that children were given the opportunities to develop independence and learn new skills. For example, older children self selected their own food and poured their own drinks. The younger children were helped to eat when it was appropriate. Staff sat with children developing their social skills and having good fun.

Children were cared for in a warm, nurturing environment with all children receiving a genuine welcome when they arrived from the friendly, caring staff. We saw most children were happy in their play, relaxed and content.

The children interacted well together and made full use of the space and resources available to them. Children were confident and familiar with routines and processes. They were given the opportunity to select areas and activities of interest for themselves. The resources supported children's independence, providing them with opportunities to investigate and be creative. The organisation of the day ensured that there were minimal interruptions throughout the sessions allowing children to engage in play and learning for prolonged periods. 

The garden area was a strength of the nursery. Children accessed the outdoor area on a regular basis and enjoyed being active and healthy. We found resources available to children in the outdoor environment provided good opportunities for teamwork, problem solving and negotiation. Children were beginning to build up their confidence and they were encouraged, with support from staff, to take and manage risks. Staff also provided children with nature play sessions in the woodland area. This increased opportunities for children to engage in challenging play. Loose part materials and resources had been introduced to the indoor and outdoor environments that encouraged creativity, problem solving and collaborative play. Children also accessed the university grounds on a regular basis. Some children took part in the "daily mile" which is a Scottish Government initiate to provide children with access to the outdoors.

Staff worked well together to provide positive outcomes for children. The management team were supportive of staff and had a good approach to working in partnership with them. Staff confirmed that there was an open and honest ethos within the nursery and they felt supported by the manager. Staff had regular opportunities to meet and discuss their work which they found beneficial in order to promote the best outcomes for the children. Staff recognised each other's strengths and were becoming happy to review each others work in a constructive manner.

We looked at the training opportunities available. Staff were positive about this aspect of their work and told us the manager did her best to ensure that staff were able to attend courses they were interested in and which supported their professional development. Staff also took on leadership roles in areas of the curriculum in which they had identified as a particular strength or interest. Staff were using best practice documents and could describe the positive impact this had on their practice. 

Staff told us they were given opportunities to take on leadership roles within the service and that progression to more senior posts was possible within the organisation. Regular events including team meetings, room meetings and individual one-one support and supervision sessions gave staff the opportunity to come together and to meet with the manager. This helped ensure that all staff were given opportunities to discuss practice and share appropriate information about the children in their care.

The manager was well qualified and committed to the development of the service. She understood the importance of ensuring parents had a range of opportunities to communicate with the service and to express their views on its development.

Parents feedback- "Both my children attend nursery and are extremely happy there. The use of the outside space, including the woodland and the rest of the campus is a particular strength and give my children lots of opportunities to learn. The staff are always helpful and engaged with the children. Overall we are very happy with the nursery and we recommend it to others".

"We are very pleased with the partnership the nursery has developed and the range of activities on offer eg Blenheim Place trips, dance classes, sports and woodland...." "Very supportive and accommodating - standards are good".

Pinocchio's Children’s Nurseries are a group of 5 award winning children's nurseries across Edinburgh & Midlothian.

We currently have purpose built day nurseries in Eskbank, Lasswade, Penicuik, Heriot Watt and Gilmerton.

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