It's all growing on at Westercraigs Nursery




The Westercraigs Nursery’s outdoor play area is a unique space for the nursery's children to learn and explore. For ten years the nursery has worked on cultivating what used to be a car park into a fun and safe environment. The headteacher, Lesley Morrison, has focused on empowering the children to design the space themselves. This has meant the process of making the space has been as educational as its final use. The children have been involved every step of the way. The children have gone on trips to IKEA and garden centres, and have made decisions on how their budget should be spent. Their arts and craft projects, such as stained glass panels and murals are displayed. It is immediately apparent once you set foot there that a playful spirit is apparent in every aspect of its design.


Tesco Parkhead Extra's Community Champion, Susan Wilson, has joined them for the last two and a half years and has added more green spaces, wildflowers, vegetable beds, and a mini orchard. Susan shows us that a natural oasis can be made anywhere with the tools available to us. She’s even used old handbags as planters, proving that sustainability can be memorable and engaging. Tesco’s partnership with B&Q Parkhead has meant donations and reduced prices have brought the garden to life. Tesco’s Bags of Help have provided a play kitchen called 'The Mud Kitchen'. The grounds also include 'Hagrid’s House' - a traditional wooden playhouse, and various spaces for gathering and learning. Susan has worked with Tesco’s partners and local businesses such as Jewson and Johnstone paints to bring this colourful space to life.


Lesley the headteacher has witnessed the value of this unique outdoor play and learning. She notices the difference in children when they are interacting with peers and staff members here, rather than in an enclosed area. Lesley said: “They are always completely engrossed in what they are doing,” and that “kids relax in a space like this”. It has also been vital in continuing education during Covid, particularly for vulnerable children and the children of key workers. This unique environment has solidified friendships, as it creates multiple pathways for all kids to engage in learning.


Susan’s passion for growing fresh vegetables mirrors the ethos of the nursery, which allows the children to learn new skills in real-life situations. Susan tells us "There is nothing nicer than seeing the delight on children's faces when they have grown a vegetable from seed, nurture it, and get to eat it in the nursery or take it home”. Her help with the outdoor project has meant that the young children who attend Westercraigs have their own unique relationship to food, sustainability, and cooking.

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