Scotland’s Children’s Minister, Maree Todd MSP, today (11 September) visited Innerwick Early Years Setting in East Lothian to present the children with an award for Innovation and Impact. 

I would like to congratulate the amazing ELC practitioners at Innerwick Early Years Setting who were recognised with this special award.

Innerwick is one of only six early years settings recognised by the Scottish Government nationally for their high-quality, innovative approach to learning. Ms Todd’s visit to the Innerwick Early Years setting gave her an opportunity to learn more about the work of the team, led by Senior Early Years Practitioner Sarah Laing, and hear the children talk about what they love about their nursery.

Children’s Minister Maree Todd said: “We want Scotland to be the best place in the world for children to grow up and the innovative work carried out by the Early Learning and Childcare sector is a vital part of this.

“I would like to congratulate the amazing ELC practitioners at Innerwick Early Years Setting who were recognised with this special award. I also commend the thousands of others who give their creativity and skills to positively influence our children’s learning and wellbeing.

“The nursery empowers children to make decisions and solve problems which they will then benefit from throughout their future learning and beyond.”

The team at Innerwick Early Years Setting are passionate about listening to children’s voices and promoting each child’s right to be heard and to play. Children plan their day through a ‘map-do-review’ method, working with a map of the learning environment to create a plan for play. This helps all children, irrespective of developmental stage, to have a voice: they take part at their own level using their own form of self-expression. In its most recent inspection, Education Scotland noted that this innovative approach empowers children to lead their own learning and provides them with a meaningful voice. Children are also encouraged to be independent through a range of opportunities including outdoor and loose parts play. Feedback from parents has been very positive with many commenting that the stimulating experiences their children receive at nursery have changed how they play at home.

Children's Minister Maree Todd at Innerwick

East Lothian Council’s Cabinet member for Education and Children’s Services Councillor Shamin Akhtar said: “I’m delighted to welcome Maree Todd here today to meet the team and children at Innerwick. Sarah, Lynne, Fiona and Vica have created a wonderful environment that supports, stimulates and develops children and, crucially, involves them fully. It’s great that this has been recognised by the Scottish Government as exemplary practice, and that Innerwick’s innovation and positive impact will be shared across Scotland so others can adopt their approach and benefit from it.”

Innerwick Early Years Setting is part of the village primary school offering nursery provision for 16 children. Its rural location and close-knit community builds strong relationships between the school and its families, and children across the school engage very positively together as a result. It has been part of East Lothian Council’s 1140hours roll-out programme, offering families increased funded early years provision since January 2019. Staff and families have commented on positive impacts in children’s confidence, communication and independence.

Innerwick Primary School Headteacher Ronnie Taylor said: “I am absolutely delighted that the Early Years Team has received this well-deserved recognition. Our parents are very clear about how pleased they are with the care and development their children experience each and every day with us. Children leading their learning by making choices, working with peers and reviewing their learning is central to good outcomes. At Innerwick, this begins in early years and remains an integral feature of the learning process throughout their time with us, to help our young people develop as confident learners, effective contributors and responsible citizens.”

Published: Wednesday, 11th September 2019