Links Nursery in Musselburgh has places for up to 101 children aged 0 to 5 years, cared for in three different play rooms. We also have three large garden areas, a parents room, and areas for the children to sleep and eat. We have onsite kitchen facilities and our own chef who prepares delicious balanced meals for the children in accordance with best practice nutritional guidelines.
Our garden areas
Here at Links Nursery in Musselburgh we strongly believe in the importance of learning and play in the outdoors for our children. All of our children are encouraged to have lots of outdoor time in our exciting garden spaces and our downstairs rooms have free flow access to the gardens for most of the day. Children visit here to engage with learning in the outdoors and enjoy inspirational, stimulating, hands on outdoor learning experiences. This includes growing and caring for plants, sensory and explorative play experiences, imaginative role play, games, and a variety of physical activities designed to improve balance, coordination and gross motor skills. They are supported and encouraged to manage their own risk safely.
We have three distinct garden areas. In our eco garden we have a number of planting areas contained in large tyres and wooden boxes where we support the children to grow flowers and a variety of vegetables such as potatoes, carrots, leeks and peas. This is an important way for our children to learn how to look after other living things. There is also a digging pit where the children are provided with an array of garden tools, as well as toy diggers to get creative in the soil, and a mud kitchen with a sink, 'cooker', and a variety of pots, pans and kitchen utensils.
We have a large physical garden area for the children which has lots of space for energetic free play and games, a ‘road’ with a number of ride-on cars, trikes, scooters and balance bikes for the children, as well as a large climbing frame with slides, a bridge and stairs. There is also a variety of equipment available for the children including a seesaw, a balancing beam, hula hoops, wooden logs and a wooden tepee. This area also has a recently refurbished activity hill with ropes, stairs, netting and a wall with climbing grips for the children to climb on and explore.
Finally we have a decked garden area, which has a sound wall where the children can engage in music making, an interactive water wall with tubes, funnels, pipes, buckets and bottles, a sand pit, and a house corner for imaginative role play.
We also regularly take all of our children on outdoor trips to local parks, beach areas, and the nearby river, where they are supported to engage with and learn about the local environment, how to look after it and respect the living creatures they find there. The nursery also organises outdoor learning experiences and trips further afield to venues such as Gorgie Farm in Edinburgh, and East Links Family Park near Dunbar.
Our Tweenies room for children aged 0 to 2 years
Our Tweenies room consists of a spacious playroom which is safe, clean, calm, and comfortable with space for up to 27 children. This room offers a variety of stimulating sensory and age appropriate experiences for our babies and smallest children, including sand and water experiences, playdough, crafts, mark making, painting and other messy play, heuristic play, treasure boxes, slides and stairs, a puzzles table, a cosy story area, construction area, small world experiences and a home corner. Our babies are offered frequent opportunities to listen to and join in with music, songs, and dance. We read stories and practice rhymes. We provide sensory and tactile experiences with natural objects to touch, listen to, taste and smell. We encourage playing enquiry games. Our youngest children are also afforded regular out of doors time in our garden areas, to which they have direct access from their room. The ratio of staff to children in this room is 1:3.
We also have facilities for nappy changing and potty training with child sized sinks, a separate sleep room with cots and mats, and small dining area. There is a comfortable parents room which can be used for breastfeeding.
Our Toddlers room for children aged 2 to 3 years
Our Toddlers room is for children aged 2 to 3 years and is located upstairs across two adjoining rooms. We have space for up to 25 children here, and the rooms have a thoughtful arrangement of space and furniture to allow the children control over what they do and how they play, with resources arranged so that they can see and make choices for themselves. The room provides natural resources which help to stimulate all of the children’s senses, as well as resources for pretend play, and exploration of paint, sand and water.
In the Toddlers room children are offered a variety of experiences to help them try new skills and to test and challenge themselves. There is a messy area with painting, sand and water experiences, gluing and crafts, and playdough. There is also a large story area, loose parts play, a writing and mark making table, a home corner, role play area, a quiet cosy den area, a construction area with loose parts and small world experiences, and a physical slide with stairs.
We also have a small indoor planting area where the children are encouraged to plant seeds and care for the seedlings until they are large enough to transfer to the outdoor garden growing areas.
We provide a range of boxes, bags, trays, and containers so that objects can be put in, taken out, collected together, transported from one place to another, sorted and emptied. We promote fun with words, songs and rhymes in a small group and children have access to a wide range of books and stories.
In this room we also encourage an interest in early writing skills and opportunities to mark-make in real life contexts with mark-making tools, paint, pens, pencils, crayons and brushes. We also develop numeracy skills in play situations, learn number rhymes, and promote a growing awareness of early mathematical concepts such as heavy/light, big/small. We encourage the children to express their feelings through music and dance, and encourage creativity through making models, learning to stick using paper, textiles, boxes, tubes, glue, sticking tape, and fasteners, free painting and using playdough and clay. Children also have regular and frequent access to our garden areas. The ratio of staff to children in the Toddlers Room is 1:5.
Preschool for children aged 3 years to 5 years
Our large preschool room is located downstairs and can accommodate up to 40 children. It is a spacious, bright, inviting room, which has been set up with a variety of stimulating spaces and resources for the children. It is rich with opportunities for our oldest children to explore their own ideas, create, imagine, play, discuss, share, listen and talk.
We follow the Curriculum for Excellence in this room, which is the same curriculum your child will be taught under when they go to school. Experiences and outcomes are planned with children’s interests and learning needs in mind, and children are able to explore a variety of contexts and experiences through play, managing their own risk supported by our dedicated staff team in a safe environment.
We offer experiences which encourage children to share their thinking, talk about their interests and help them imagine their theories. We encourage children to listen carefully to each other and give space and time to allow others to talk. We encourage children to use their imagination in role play, making models, painting and drawing.
We have a large crafts and painting space where the children can choose their own resources for making and modelling, and mix their own paints. There is a large construction area with a number of small and large ‘loose parts’, which encourage the children to make their own choices and use these imaginatively to explore construction in creative ways. Loose parts include a mix of small and large, organic and manmade materials such as twigs, sticks, wooden blocks, tin cans, pipes, and tree logs. We also have a home corner which has a variety of kitchen utensils and small loose parts such as pasta, bottle tops, pegs, and wooden bobbins which the children can use in imaginative role play.
In our preschool literacy area children have access to resources such as pencils, pens, felt-tip pens, crayons and markers, a selection of paper and card organised in different sizes, shapes and colours, stickers, rulers, envelopes, booklets and notepads. They are encouraged to explore mark making, letters, and words. Children are encouraged to label their own pictures, write during shop or home play, write cards, letters, and labels for resources. We also encourage children to play with rhyme and rhythm, and have fun with songs and rhyming words. The playroom is also rich in environmental print with labels recognisable to children.
Preschool also has a cosy story area with an array of favourite books, both fiction and non-fiction. We provide opportunities for small groups of children to listen to a story together, where they can see the illustrations in a book, ask questions and discuss likes and dislikes. As well as this we have books children have made themselves, and we encourage them to tell and share their own stories with story stones and puppets.
In our preschool numeracy area we develop numeracy skills in play situations, learn number rhymes, and play games which involve counting, sorting and grouping. As well as learning about numbers and counting, we offer play and learning experiences which promote a growing awareness of other mathematical concepts such as size, weight, measurement, pattern, 2D and 3D shapes, money and time.
The ratio of staff to children in preschool is 1:8