Nursery honoured for allotments and iPad projects

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AN Edinburgh nursery group where children have their own allotments outside and learn to use iPads inside has scooped a top award.

Cranley Nurseries, which has three bases in the city in Colinton, Craiglockhart and Buckstone, was honoured at the Nursery World Awards with the “team development” accolade.

One of the nursery's senior classes celebrates. Picture: Ian Georgeson

One of the nursery's senior classes celebrates. Picture: Ian Georgeson

Along with the allotments, the nurseries have introduced ideas such as a “mud kitchen” for children to enjoy messy play.

Group director Karen Murray, who has been with the company ten years and oversees the three Cranley nurseries based around the Capital, said many of the ideas had come from staff which is one of the reasons for the award.

“We’re a very close-knit group and I think our commitment to our staff is reflected in the fact that we have an extremely low turnover – all current managers have been with the company for between six and 13 years.”

“All the employees and managers got together and we had an open forum, where anyone could suggest an improvement or new project, and rewards were given for ones that were implemented.

“It’s thanks to this we have our new mud kitchen outside, where children can enjoy back-to-basics play.”

Staff are also trained in areas such as how to deliver feedback to children and parents, and they rotate between all three establishments, sharing ideas.

Three-year-old Darcey Mabbot, who has been attending Cranley Nursery in Buckstone, since she was ten months old, said the iPads were one of her favourite toys. “I also like ­playing on the red swing in the garden and helping to tidy up downstairs in the baby room.

“And I like our class guinea pig Coco, who is one now and who we have had since he was a baby.”

Darcey is the second in her family to attend Cranley with big sister Maisy, now six, having also attended from 18 months. Mum Liz, 41, who works for NHS Education, said she knew straight away she had found the right place for her children.

“I was immediately struck by how happy both the children and the staff seemed. The viewings seemed very staged in some other nurseries, but here everyone was so relaxed and natural.