AS part of Moray Council’s commitment to deliver the Scottish Government’s expansion of funded early learning and childcare services, partner providers have been undertaking their own preparations receiving grant funding to the tune of £162,165 over the last two years.
Increasing the funded hours offered to 1,140 a year means some early years settings are reorganising their provision and upgrading their nurseries.
Grants have been made available for infrastructure and training to allow all funded providers to meet new national standards and included contributions for start-up costs, improvement to outdoor space and support for quality improvement.
Torridon Education Group received over £26,000 across their four settings in Moray with training grants being used to develop creativity and expressive arts with dance and music training to up-skill staff, alongside workshops for parents in various curriculum areas to help improve outcomes for children.
Torridon manager, Lauren Hayward, said: “We wouldn’t have been able to complete the work we needed to increase capacity and offer the full-time hours for children without this financial support from Moray Council and the Scottish Government.
“The funding has allowed us to improve our outdoor space, provide more training for staff and ensure the continuation of high standard of service that complies with changing legislation and we look forward to our children continuing to enjoy their new spaces to play and learn.”
Noah’s Ark Developmental Playgroup were awarded nearly £22,000 to build an outdoor classroom, which manager, Angela Mackay, says the children have named The Pea Pod: “We let the children and their families offer name suggestions for the space that offers a flexible learning environment, which we use as a quiet space for children to retreat to as well as dancing, yoga and drama. The children also really enjoy having lunch on the verandah and we’re able to increase our capacity thanks to this grant funding.”
Outdoor nurseries are also supported with Earthtime for All receiving nearly £5,000 to install a new kitchen area as part of their expansion.
Education and outreach manager, Laura Russell, can see the expansion of hours benefiting a lot of parents: “With our grant we’ve been able to install a kitchen at our base in the grounds of Duffus House in order to provide the funded meals children are also entitled to as part of the expansion. A number of parents have indicated how useful the extended hours will be, especially for working parents needing to build travel time in to their day – our new kitchen means we can offer everything children are entitled to during those longer days.”
Famous for its colony of dolphins, fabulous beaches and more malt whisky distilleries than any where else in Scotland, Moray is a thriving area and a great place to live. Nestling between Aberdeenshire and the Highlands, Moray stretches from Tomintoul in the south to the shores of the Moray Firth, from Keith in the east to Brodie Castle in the west.
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