When children arrive at Cranley Nursery Buckstone, in south Edinburgh, they truly enter a home from home.
The Buckstone building has retained the layout and ambience of its former use as a spacious residence. That allows children to roam through the rooms and enjoy everyday experiences, from cooking in the kitchen to reading in the lounge.
“This home environment is a massive plus for children – allowing them to build on the life skills they learn at home,” says Cranley owner Anna Maclean.
The extensive building is dedicated to three- and four-year-olds. The under-threes continue to use the original nursery next door, now tailored towards younger needs.
When the property next door became available, Cranley was able to drop its plans to create a new-build facility for seniors alongside the existing nursery. Land belonging to both properties has instead been turned into a spectacular outdoor play area.
With a climbing wall, tree house and mini construction site, the playground has plenty of opportunity for letting off steam. But there’s also scope for more thoughtful pursuits, including a theatre stage, allotment beds and a reading den.
The youngest children have their own dedicated outdoor play space too. And with space for blackboard and sand play, or simply to wander among rustic planted areas, the playground perfectly fulfils children’s appetites for outdoor time.
“The Scottish government’s early years guidance says outdoor play is fundamental and enhances learning – but it recognises that access to safe areas is often a barrier,” says Anna. “So we’re very fortunate to have been able to develop our own bespoke space.”
Other elements of provision are growing too. Throughout 2019, Cranley’s four city nurseries piloted the Scottish government’s extended provision of funded childcare for pre-school children.
From August 2020, funded care will rise to 1,140 hours. Spaces on this programme at Cranley Buckstone will offer parents funded childcare worth around £6,000 per year.
“The decision to nearly double the amount of funded care is a positive one for parents,” says Anna. “Together with our own expansion, it means we can offer families a better care experience than ever.”