24 January 2022

'Children were settled and happy'

Staff at an Aberdeenshire nursery were described as “nurturing, kind and caring in their approach with children” in an inspection report.

The Care Inspectorate graded Westhill Nursery as “very good” for quality of care and support, and quality of environment and “good” for quality of staffing, and quality of management and leadership following site visits by inspectors on Tuesday, November 23, and Wednesday, November 24 last year.

The report said: “Staff were nurturing, kind and caring in their approach with children. There was a warm ethos in the nursery and the children were settled and happy. The children had fun as they freely followed their interests both indoors and outside, experiencing quality learning experiences. Staff members were encouraging curiosity and problem-solving skills.”

Inspectors said they were satisfied appropriate infection control measures were in place to support a safe environment for children and families. Examples included good handwashing routines for children were established and supported by staff; and the touch points being cleaned each lunchtime.

Staff were also commended for having a clear understanding of their roles and responsibilities for keeping children safe. This was supported by them keeping their knowledge up-to-date. They are clear about what signs and symptoms to look out for and who to contact if they have a concern. The manager was confident about acting on any concerns raised by staff which inspectors concluded reduces the risk of harm to children.

The report described the nursery building as clean and well maintained with plenty of natural light and ventilation. The large playroom was warm, welcoming and nurturing and was thoughtfully furnished and resourced to allow children to be creative and curious when playing.

Inspectors were impressed with the free flow design of the nursery encouraging both indoor and outdoor play and children to express their independence when making decisions. 

Parents and carers were also asked for their views through online conversations, telephone calls and emails. One said: “The staff are always smiling and welcoming at the gate every morning, it is lovely to see, and the nursery appears clean and inviting with lots of things set up to do. They also seem to have excellent Covid-19 procedures in place, and it has always felt very safe, yet child-centred and friendly.”

Cllr Gillian Owen, Aberdeenshire Council’s Education and Children’s Services Committee chair, said: “It is fantastic to see the inspectors acknowledge the warmth and friendliness amongst staff which is leading to such a nurturing environment for children. There is also clearly a lot of good practice being put into place by staff and management which is helping Westhill Nursery offer great care for children and service to parents and carers. Congratulations everyone!”

Committee vice chair Cllr Rosemary Bruce added: “Well done Westhill Nursery! It is really encouraging that the inspection report praised the design of the nursery which has led to children getting the best possible experience. Our aim is to create environments that are warm, safe, and nurturing. I am delighted these efforts are being acknowledged.”