Airdrie & Coatbridge Advertiser
Early years’ expansion
Play time at nurseries’ new spaces
Youngsters at two new Coatbridge nurseries jumped for joy and hit the high notes as they showed off their play and learning spaces at official opening ceremonies.
Shawhead and Townhead primaries both welcomed pupils to their new classes at the start of term as part of the expansion of early years provision to 1140 hours for all three-and four-year-olds.
An extension has been built at Shawhead while a surplus classroom and cloakroom have been converted at Townhead, with each having direct access to well-equipped outdoor play areas.
The two Coatbridge nurseries are among a host of new facilities across North Lanarkshire, with six newly-built family centres and two additional nursery classes having opened in August.
A total of 500 new jobs in the sector have been created through the expansion of nursery provision.
Education convener Frank Mcnally visited both Shawhead and Townhead to unveil official plaques and to meet youngsters, who sang nursery rhymes to celebrate the occasion.
In addition to its exciting brand new extension, Shawhead has plans to create a new forest in a large grassy area behind the school, and a new parking circle has been created to allow for safe drop-offs and collection.
Head teacher Helen Paterson said: “The new facilities have given the whole school a real lift. It’s amazing, and you can see how much the children are enjoying their new home.”
Townhead has seen two nursery playrooms created, including a learning kitchen, family room and large play areas at the front and rear of the building.
Fiona Ferguson, the school’s head teacher, said: “The children are so happy and love coming in each day.
“We’re loving our new nursery class facilities; and we’ve had a great deal of support from the community, our staff and their family members, which is really appreciated.”
Councillor Mcnally said: “The new settings provide bright, welcoming spaces, both indoors and outdoors, where children can play and learn to be independent.
“These two new nurseries will provide a real boost to the communities they serve, and are part an investment of £22 million in early-years provision across our area.
“With the children who attend and our wonderful staff who work in them, these fantastic new facilities will go a long way to achieving our goal of giving all young people the very best start in life.”
He added: “The 1140 funded hours programme is supporting thousands of parents and carers benefiting from an increased provision in childcare, and 500 new jobs have been created in the early years sector here in North Lanarkshire.”
North Lanarkshire opened six new family learning centres in Airdrie, Cumbernauld, Newmains and Wishaw at the start of term.
Three more facilities are due to open in the new year, while St Augustine’s and Whitelees primaries have also had new nursery facilities created for youngsters.
The projects have been supported by Scottish Government funding, and mean North Lanarkshire’s now has 80 nursery classes and 23 family learning centres.
A further 42 private, voluntary and independent nurseries and 146 childminders are helping to deliver the 1140 hours provision.