Childminders recognised with a Scottish Play Award

Childminders recognised with a Scottish Play Award
The Nature Play Childminding Group based in West Lothian has won a Nancy Ovens Award for Play under the ‘Play at Home’ category.

Formally presented with their first-place award by Fraser Falconer at The Dale Hub in Armadale on Monday 1 October, the group of childminders and their minded children were delighted with their success and achievement.

Gaining recognition for providing stimulating and innovative play experiences for their minded children, is very prestigious and also a huge triumph for the wider childminding sector in Scotland.

This award showcases the unique and high-quality care that childminders provide everyday; using examples of creative and innovative play that take place in a childminder’s setting to meet the needs and benefit each child’s development and wellbeing.

Speaking on behalf of the group, Hayley Ellis said: “All of the West Lothian childminders involved in Nature Play Childminding Group are so pleased to be officially recognised for the play and learning we provide to the children.

“To ensure that as many children can benefit from the outdoor play our group offers, we meet on different days, at different locations, and we’re flexible through school holidays where the older children can join in too.
“We hadn’t met before the group started, but we all shared an interest in outdoor play and wanted to provide more outdoor play opportunities for our minded children, whilst consistently achieving each of the GIRFEC Wellbeing Indicators. This is what brought us together.

“Throughout the year, we have witnessed first-hand our minded children grow in confidence and their creativity has shone through. From creating amazing dens, nature paintings and using outdoor spaces to build mud kitchens, to designing necklaces inspired by nature.

“The children are exposed to lots of play and learning opportunities with no restrictions, which research has shown to help children develop confidence, strength, coordination, resilience, problem-solving skills and other essential life skills.”

Also commended for ‘Play at Home’ was SCMA childminder Sarah Finlay from Fife, who was also recognised for her great passion for play and learning, especially in the great outdoors.

Sarah said: “We play outdoors in all weather and we have messy play using many different things. Using nature, everyday products and recycled items, my entire outdoor play space is built using recycled items such as our pirate ship, which has been created using an old bed frame.

Attending the Nancy Ovens Play Awards in Edinburgh a few weeks ago, Maree Todd, Minister for Children and Young People, presented Sarah with her Certificate of Commendation under the ‘Play at Home’ category.

Being shortlisted for a Scottish Play Award is a great achievement and shows that childminders are raising the bar to make play an outstanding experience for children in their high quality home-based childcare setting.

Maggie Simpson, Chief Executive of SCMA added: “I am really chuffed to hear the result of the Nancy Ovens ‘Play at Home’ Award, and I am especially delighted that the childminding sector is being recognised for their vital work.   

“We know – more than ever now – the importance of play, and childminders understand first-hand how much quality learning children gain from playing with their peers and in small groups with their childminder.

“Making things, sharing with others, experimenting with different textures and exploring opportunities is exactly how children grow, learn and develop. From current research and these awards it is clear that childminders are perfectly placed to encourage the wellbeing and development of children of all ages.”

Read more about the Nancy Ovens Play Awards