Interim reports

Education Learning Log

More on Excellence

The recent Care Commission Report on Cathkin Community Nursery confirmed what we already knew – its an excellent establishment. But what are the key aspects about the establishment that make it so good? It would be difficult and not sensible to replicate what they do elsewhere as each establishment is set in a unique context, with its own uniques set of children, parents and staff but there are things which we can all learn from what takes place in Cathkin Community.

The leadership of the nursery is exceptional – improvement planning and talking about improvement is a way of being at Cathkin Comm Nursery. This striving for excellence,  for innovation, for better ways of doing things is evident as soon as you go in the door – the Nursery has an abundance of awards from a COSLA silver award, to SLC awards to certificates of staff CPD and children and parent achievement on display as soon as you go in and this sets the tone for everything else. The less formal achievement tree has little messages which are added to daily from stories from Mums about new babies, to wee ones who have leared something new at nursery or home to messages about how proud they are to have had a visitor. Everything is noticed, celebrated and the attention to this kind of small detail is very important.

As you walk through the nursery the wall displays have a tone which has evolved over time – there’s a balance between published and children’s work but work which is displayed is linked to CfE principles and outcomes for instance if there’s a display with photos of playing outdoors – it won’t say that John was splashing in the puddles but that John was splashing in the puddles and he was exploring and appreciating the wonder of nature – everything is about learning. There are colour coded displays  for each of the four capacities with photos/evidence to link to these. Floorbooks are displayed for the children and adults to look at with ones for different curricular areas, focus topics etc etc. Planning is up on the walls with tips for the week related to learning and teaching. Children’s learning stories/portfolios are accessed by the children all the time so they can update them/read them and staff have a purposeful well planned way of doing assessments, running records etc. But none of this ever stays still for instance the learning stories are now being made into multi media resources.

All staff have leaderhip roles of their own and most are involved in additional study such as PDAs BAs etc in their own time. Any innovative practices carried out have presentations written about them which other establishments can ask to see and use with their own staff.

Visitors pop in and out and are welcomed at any time, doors are opened and you can have a good old nose to find good practice and this is openly encouraged!

Self evaluation is circular and real. For instance questionnaires last session showed parents would like more courses etc, so the nursery applied for funding, got about £9000 and set up courses with a local college. I’m just off to see a fashion show shortly which parents are putting on after they’ve spent 10 weeks looking at their self esteem, how they present themselves/look after their health etc.

Volunteers are welcomed, community links are fostered with everyone you meet knowing something about the nursery or having some involvement in visiting.

Their vision and values are clear and embedded. They use the word ENABLE and their vision is linked to the word in a sort of acrostix. Then their aims are divided into parents, children, staff, community and management. These are then linked to the improvement plan.

They are making a real difference to the lives of the children and adults involved in their community, and those differences and little impacts are often immeasurable. Liz and her team will never know all the differences they have made or the impact they have had on our future’s children

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August 12, 2009 - Posted by | Creativity, glow, leadership, learning, Making a Difference | ,

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