The Nursery at St Margaret’s offers pre-school education on a full-time or part-time basis. We currently have 26 children, of which there are 5 boys and 21 girls; however, we are able to take up to 32 children at any one time. The majority of our girls will continue into 1 Junior, though we do offer a variety of opportunities which will support all children with their transition from nursery into school.
The St Margaret’s Nursery has a generous staffing level – the Nursery Manager, Nursery Teacher and three Early Year’s Practitioners - which regularly goes above the recommended ratio of one member of staff to eight children. All staff are registered with the Scottish Social Services Council (SSSC) or General Teaching Council for Scotland (GTCS), screened through Disclosure Scotland and a member of the Protecting Vulnerable Groups Scheme.
The nursery has a particularly safe, warm and secure environment in which we offer a flexible range of session choices, with the addition of morning and after school care. The day begins at 8.30am, when the children are encouraged to find their own name card and register their ‘mini me’. There is always a variety of activities available for the children on arrival, which encourage both child and adult-led learning and supports the children with the morning routine.
Each Monday, we join 2 Junior for paired reading, which is a wonderful opportunity for the children to work in pairs, share stories, develop early reading skills and supports both our nursery children and our older girls to build confidence and self-esteem. On Tuesday and Thursday mornings, we have gym with a specialist teacher, where the children participate in a variety of activities aimed at developing ball skills, balance, team work, hand-eye co-ordination, perseverance and so much more.
On Wednesdays, a group of our pre-school children will venture out to Wee Green Spaces - a wonderful opportunity to support our children develop their independence skills, confidence, perseverance and understanding of the wider world through exploring secret paths, climbing walls, discovering shoots, flowers and insects while keeping safe. Finally, on a Friday morning, we visit Mrs Wiederman, our music specialist, who encourages the children to explore a variety of aspects of music through rhythm, creativity, instruments and movement.
Each year, the nursery children participate in the Harvest celebrations with the Junior School and perform their own Nativity and end-of-term summer concert. After all of these exciting opportunities the children return to nursery for more child-led learning and snack. Our children love to help prepare the fruit, fill the jugs, change the menu and ring the bell to let everyone know it is ready. At snack time, the children are encouraged to develop their communication and independence skills while enjoying a variety of healthy options. All the children are encouraged to make independent choices and help one another.
Before lunch we go outside to our enclosed playground, where we have the opportunity to participate in a variety of activities from the mud kitchen, to scooters and bikes, mark-making materials and loose parts resources to build obstacle courses, buses and boats to name just a few. We have the opportunity to go outside again in the afternoon before home time. Our children who stay for lunch have become extremely adept at our lunchtime routine, which supports the transition from nursery through to school as the routines are all in place and the children are familiar with the environment.
Morning session finishes at noon, when some of the children might leave for home. However, we also offer a 1pm finish to enable children to be stay for lunch and be collected afterwards. The nursery day finishes at 3pm, although we also offer after school care from 3pm to 5.30pm.
The Nursery education offers opportunities throughout the year to support the transition from nursery into 1 Junior, for example attending Junior assemblies, our paired reading, attending and participating in the Junior Harvest celebrations and dining hall routines. In addition, we arrange formal transition opportunities in the summer term to enable the children to experience various aspects of the school day, such as to meet the class teacher, participate in classroom activities, playtime in the playground, lunchtime routines and so on. Our children are very familiar with the wider school environment and become extremely adept within their surroundings. There are also evening events for parents to provide relevant information and guidance to support this transition.