Links Nursery in Balmedie has places for up to 101 children aged 0 to 5 years, cared for in four large play rooms over two floors. We also have three large garden areas, a parents room, and areas for the children to sleep and eat. Delicious balanced meals are prepared and supplied for the children by local company Entier, and served by our own housekeeper using our onsite kitchen facilities.
Our garden areas
Here at Links Nursery in Balmedie we strongly believe in the importance of learning and play in the outdoors. All of our children are encouraged to have lots of time outside 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 enjoy inspirational, stimulating, hands on outdoor learning experiences. This includes growing and caring for plants, sensory and explorative play experiences including digging pits and water play, imaginative role play in our mud kitchen and dens, outdoor games, and a variety of physical activities designed to improve balance, coordination and gross motor skills. They are supported and encouraged throughout all this to manage their own risk safely.
We have three distinct garden areas. In our huge babies and two to three’s garden at the front of the nursery, we have an abundance of space for the children to pursue physical activities including playing with footballs, riding on balance bikes, tricycles and ride-in cars, some of which the nursery has constructed itself from wood and tyres, and various small slides and a balancing beam. There is also a big construction and digging area with lots of gravel, tyres, digging tools, toy diggers, pieces of wood, plastic tubing and other loose parts where the children can get creative constructing with the materials or digging in the gravel. There is a sunny decked area with a mud kitchen which has a sink, tables and chairs, and a variety of pots, pans and kitchen utensils where the children can explore imaginative role play. The children also have a play shop, an interactive water wall with drainpipes, tubes, funnels, bottles and watering cans, and an interactive sound wall with pots, pans, wind-chimes, bells, etc. for the younger children to explore and make different sounds.
At the side of the nursery we have our large preschool garden area. This has lots of space for energetic free play and games, a number of handmade ride-on cars, trikes, wheelbarrows and scooters, as well as a large climbing frame with a slide, stairs, tunnel and climbing walls. There is a sand pit, a balancing beam, some huge tractor tyres, a water wall and a den making area. In the large gravel filled construction area you will find pieces of wood, tyres, rocks, tubing, diggers, trowels and a toy mixer machine for the children to undertake complex and adventurous construction and creative projects. There is also a mud kitchen and digging area with a sink, scoops, and pots, pans and utensils, and a growing and planting area 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. Finally the preschool garden has a reading and writing house with table and chairs, pens, pencils, crayons, paper and books where the children can undertake mark making, drawing, writing, looking at books and listening to stories.
Finally we have a smaller garden area to the front of the property where there is a fire pit. We also regularly take all of our children on outdoor trips to local parks, the beach, and on walks, 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, as well as regularly visiting the nearby library and a local café. The nursery has strong links with the local community and our children help with picking up litter, planting flowers for the new sensory garden nearby, and visits to the local care home.
The children also have the opportunity to care for and spend time with Mathilda, a miniature dachshund, who attends nursery every day.
Our Baby Unit for children aged 0 to 2 years
Our Baby Unit consists of a spacious playroom which is safe, clean, calm, and comfortable with space for up to 18 children aged 0 to 2 years, and a separate sleep room.
The playroom is large and inviting with bright dual aspect windows giving views of our lovely gardens, and offers a variety of stimulating sensory and age appropriate experiences for our babies and smallest children.
This includes a sand pit and 'messy' tray, playdough, crafts, mark making, painting and other messy play, heuristic play, treasure boxes, a cosy story area with a bubble tube, age appropriate books, mats and cushions, construction area, small world experiences and a role play and home corner with organic resources and dress up materials.
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. 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, our separate sleep room with cots and mats, and small dining area. There is a comfortable parents room which can be used for breastfeeding.
Our downstairs room for children aged 2 to 3 years
Our 2 years to 3 years room is located downstairs at the front of the building across two adjoining rooms, and has free flow access to our huge front garden area, where the children are encouraged and supported to undertake a variety of physical activities to promote a healthy lifestyle.
We have space for up to 26 children in this room, and the area has 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.
In this room children are offered a variety of experiences to help them try new skills and to test and challenge themselves. The room provides natural resources which help to stimulate all of the children’s senses, as well as resources for pretend play, and loose parts, arts, crafts and other materials for explorative, investigative, and creative play.
We have a messy area with painting, sand and water experiences, gluing and crafts, and playdough. There is also a cosy story area, a snack area, a writing and mark making table, a home corner and role play area with dressing up and a shop, a construction area with loose parts and small world experiences.
The children are able to take part in story sessions with puppets which helps develop their language and communication skills, and we also hold music sessions with instruments where the children take part in singing, and explore rhythm and music making.
In this room we promote fun with words, songs and rhymes in a small group and children have access to a wide range of books and stories. 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 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. The ratio of staff to children in this room is 1:5.
Preschool for children aged 3 years to 5 years
Our large preschool room is located upstairs and can accommodate up to 33 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 lots of space in this room devoted to explorative, creative, expressive and messy play including sand and water experiences, loose parts play, a crafts area, and a painting area. In these areas children can choose their own resources for making, creating and modelling, and mix their own paints.
In our large construction area the children will find a number of small and large ‘loose parts’. These include a mix of organic and man-made materials including large and small wooden blocks, tree log slices, shells, wooden curtain rings and bobbins, all of which encourage the children to make their own choices and use these imaginatively to explore construction in creative ways.
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, as well as costumes, bags, hats and other fabric for dressing up. There are also dolls, dolls clothing, and prams etc for role play.
Literacy resources such as pencils, pens, felt markers, crayons, and different colours and sizes of paper and card are available for our children in baskets dispersed around the room, along with notepads, stickers, rulers and envelopes. Children are are encouraged to explore mark making, letters, and words throughout their play, to label their own pictures, write during shop or home play, and 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 lovely 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. There is also a cosy den for children to crawl in for quiet time with a book.
In our preschool maths 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. A variety of resources including puzzles, games, shapes, rulers, measuring tapes, weighing scales etc are available in the maths area to promote this learning.
The ratio of staff to children in preschool is 1:8