Current Learning

Please note that this is the new place for the weekly learning update from the ELCC where you will hear from the head teacher and one early years practitioner per week. We did have a separate early years website but we are amalgamating to one site to make it easier for all to read and keep up to date.

8th October 2020

The children in our ELC wanted to say Thank You to Tesco for our new shed which we purchased with some of the money we received from the Bags for Help scheme.

We have been able to store our outdoor toys and the children are able to choose what they would like out in the garden. It’s just waiting to get painted now.  We are also getting our polytunnel soon and the children are looking forward to learning more about growing and even growing some vegetables for their snack.

1st October 2020

Wet Play

In nursery we go outside in all weathers, children love playing in the rain and splashing in the puddles. The is so much learning that takes place during this play:

  • It helps with a child’s motor skills and balance ability.
  • They are investigating, exploring, and enjoying a slippery world. This has a different set of physical challenges from a dry world.
  • When they are playing in rain it helps them connect with all the weathers nature has.  This helps improve the general connection they have with nature.
  • They are exposed to a different sensory experience.  There are so many new sights, sounds, smells, and touches to be experienced.
  • They are learning.  More specifically they are learning about water through their chosen method of playing in it.  Never underestimate how much they learn through their play.
  • They are being more physically active by being outdoors on a rainy day, reaping the all the physical health benefits that come with outdoor play.
  • They learn to look after themselves in these different weather conditions.  They learn to care for their clothing and protection, as well as anything they are using out in the rain.

Due to Covid restrictions children are no longer able to share nursery waterproof suits and wellies, so please make sure you provide these especially with the change of weather. An extra change of clothes is also really helpful for when they need to put something dry on.

Added Thursday 25/6/20

Welcome back Miss Stewart! She’s given us another ice activity..phew it’s hot today so this might be a good one!

Ice Grab

This activity offers opportunity to discuss what happens to ice when it melts. Using tongs to move the ice from one bowl/plate to another helps the child to develop their fine motor skills, this could be done as an after step to an experiment. You could first fill the tray with your child, this could be done using a measuring jug/cup which explores pouring and measuring, then discuss what will happen to the water when it goes in the freezer. As an add on you could also add flowers, pieces of fruit, food colouring etc… to the ice to extend the opportunity for play as the ice melts.

ice grab

Added Monday 22/6/20

The Benefits of Sensory Play with Ice Cube Painting

This is a great activity to do with your child or children of all ages. There are so many benefits. Having them pour the water into the ice cube trays is a great way to develop their confidence and co-ordination skills.

Added Thursday 18/6/20

Mrs Hendry’s great idea using any spare hair gel!


Here is another activity for sensory play. Fill a zip lock bag with hair gel and add a few items. Try moving them around and matching them. You could also use paint and a cotton bud for some mark making. Try adding items collected on a walk e.g flowers , leaves, and small stones.

Added Monday 15/6/20

Mrs Gibson has been busy finding flowers and plants blown in the wind and lying on the ground. Remind your child about not picking wild flowers without you being there!

Spring wreath.

You will need: flowers and other items found in the garden; paper, a pencil, and a circular object to draw round.
Draw your circle on your piece of paper.
Assemble your wreath
spring wreath

Added Friday 12th June

This is how you can make fluffy paint! Mrs Crantsoun loves messy play…


Added Thursday 4/6/20

Are you aware of all the skills your child learns through play? I’d love to see photos of your child showing any of these aspects:

skills through play

For those of you who are keeping the leadership scrapbooks it would be good if you could show your child learning through play under these headings!

Added Monday 1/6/20

Well – we’ve had a visit from Gnoma and she’s made a funny video for you! Do you think you could draw a picture for her? Or sing the song back to her? Or ask her some questions? Send them to me as I have her fairyland email address. Thanks, Gnoma!

Mrs Cranstoun’s sharing her fun with you:

View all

Rainbow Spaghetti!

  1. Oil (vegetable, sunflower or olive)
  2. Food Dye.
  3. Simply cook the spaghettiaccording to the packet instructions & place into a bowl. …
  4. Add a few tablespoons of the oil (enough to coat)
  5. Add a few drops of food colouringand mix well.
  6. Let the spaghettidry (an hour or so)
  7. Place into a large container and let the fun begin!

This is great for sensory play experience.  It feels slimy and slips through their fingers easily. How many words can you find to describe the senses?  It’s also a great activity for your children to learn their colours.

Added Thursday 28/5/20

Mrs Cassie has had great fun making a nature treasure box! Why don’t you make one when you are out and about or in your garden? Talk about the colours, the textures, the shapes, what they are called and anythign else that helps to make your child inquisitive and creative. If you have time, take a photo of it and send it to us! (Sorry – I’ve tried several times to turn this 90 degrees but when it’s uploaded it keeps turning on its side. Turn your head sideways!)

nature treasure box

Added Monday 25/5/20

Mrs Blanchard has found a chart with different types of bees on it. How many can you find when you are in the garden or when you are outdoors on your daily exercise? Please send us photos of where you have seen these bees! (Why not have a look at Outdoor Explorers section on bees this week, too? Follow the blog link from today! Have fun!)


Added Thursday 21/5/20

This is an easy recipe for the children to make with help from a grown up, but lots of counting and measuring involved. I think they will enjoy rolling the mixture into balls, and pressing with the fork. They are quite tasty with a cuppa if you fancy making them yourself. Enjoy! Love from Mrs Hendry.


Added Monday 18/5/20

Another one from Mrs Harvey (more from others coming – I just thought the weather is good this week again so you  might be out and about!)

Kids love picking up sticks while out on walks. See if your child can find one that’s bigger/smaller than the one they have. Take the sticks home and you have lots of activities to do.
Put them in order shortest-longest

Which shapes can you make?

Provide paper, pens, scissors and glue with the sticks and you could make flags or puppets.
Use the twigs to paint in the mud or make paint brushes with natural materials you might find out walking and try making patterns

Write out your child’s name and see if they can copy it using broken up twigs.

Your turn to get creative and share with us what you can do with sticks!

Added Thursday 14/5/20

Mrs Harvey is feeling fit and wants to share her challenge with all the boys and girls in nursery! Can you challenge your family, too?

nursery physical skills

Added Monday 11/5/20

Mrs Hall has shared her recipe for salt dough here. (Now that flour is back on our shelves in the supermarket we thought we’d share this activity today!)

Once you have made the dough, try out the dough disco. This is great for motor skills to help with coordination and using a pen or pencil.

Play dough (uncooked)  – 1 1/2 cups flour

                                             1/2 cup salt
                                             1/2 cup water
                                             Combine the flour and salt and slowly mix water
                                             Work the mixture into a smooth dough with your fingers
Play dough (cooked)    –   2 cups plain flour
                                            1 cup of salt
                                            2 teaspoons cream of tartar
                                            1 tablespoon cooking oil
                                            2 cups cold water
                                            Food colouring – optional
                                            Put all ingredients except water in a large  bowl. Gradually add water(and food coloring)  and mix well.
PAN – Our into a large pan and cook over a low heat stirring continuously. When mixture is forms a solid ball, remove from heat and tip onto board  to cool slightly.  Knead like bread into a dough for 2 minutes. The dough is now ready to play with. Can be stored in airtight container for a few weeks.
MICROWAVE – Pour mixture into a Microwavable bowl and cook on full power for approx 2 mins. Stir well and return for 1 more minute.  Repeat stirring and cooking until mixture forms a solid ball. Tip onto a board and allow to cool slightly. Knead like bread dough for 2 mins.  The dough is now ready to use and can be stored in an airtight container .
NO FLOUR – Try  1 cup conditioner
                              2 cups cornflour
                              Food colouring (optional)
Use your dough to the dough disco link above or make it more interesting add glitter, scented flavourings,  spices, fresh herbs, pasta, oatmeal or experiment with own ideas.

Now try Dough Disco! Your whole family can join in.

Added Thursday 7/5/20

Mrs Hendry loves being outdoors! Look what she’s been doing. Make sure you send me a photo of your woodland pictures.

While out on you’re walk, collect lots of natural resources and create a picture with them.

woodland walk picture

Added Monday 4/5/20

Mrs Walker has had great fun making up this activity. It’s something you could do with siblings, as a family in teams or with parent and child. Could you try it over social media with a friend or relative?! Don’t forget to send us some photos of you and your children playing this game.

3 in a row-
Two players
6 markers, three each of two kinds. ( This could be things like 3 stones and 3 milk bottle lids)
Create your board using paper or the inside of a cereal box.
First person to get there in a row wins (horizontally, vertically or diagonally)

3 in a row for blog

Added Thursday 30/4/20

Mrs Cranstoun has been collecting stones and has created this activity. You could switch it up after a while with other things you find!

nursery stone activity

Try this stone matching game with your family today! It will give your child the opportunity to practise using new vocabulary, compare different sizes and shapes ,strengthen fine motor skills and appreciate nature in a new way!

Take your stones and draw round them with a pencil. Go round the outline with a marker pen so your child can see it easily. Now – can you find the stone that matches the shape? Send any photos you want to be shared on the blog!

Mrs Brand has been having fun making dice:

How many ways can you use a dice? 

Write out instructions and put the number 1-6 beside each one
e.g P. E Jump up and down (1), Run round the garden (2), Star Jumps (3). etc 
Numeracy Find 3 dandelions, Find 2 teddies….. Blue things Find… Red thing
so that when you throw the number you know what you have to do!
Can’t find dice? Cutting out this template will give you a cube (remember to add flaps so you can glue the faces together..)

16th March

The children have all been learning about the importance of handwashing.

*  We’ve had fun taking part in science experiments to show us the importance of using soap.

*Reminding ourselves and each other when to wash our hands  ‘When we come in’ (Matthew)

‘Before lunch’ (Lucas)  ‘At home’ (Freya)  ‘Before making snack’ (Luke)  After we’ve been outside’ (Jayson)

‘After coughs’ (Freya) ‘When we’ve been to the toilet we wash our hands’ Skye  We made posters to hang up in the toilets to hopefully remind us all.

*We have learnt this song to sing along to while washing our hands for 20 seconds

Wash, wash, wash your hands

Wash nasty germs away

If you don’t, you might get ill

And that would spoil your day.

(tune to – Row row your boat)

Mrs Harvey, EYP

9th March

It’s brilliant to see young children working together, being persistent and not stopping until the job is done! I watched the boys start this jigsaw together and then be so delighted that they did it with no help!


Our young leaders have started gathering their evidence at home of how they are putting these skills into practice: responsibility, communication, team work, organisation, safety and fun. (These are the same skills P3 and P7 leadership programmes are using.)

We are outside every day and beginning to enjoy the occasional spell of sunshine now! The children are enjoying looking at the new growth of flowers and buds and seeing the differences every day.

I have just got two staff trained in leading parent workshops. Are you interested? If so, please contact me or leave a message with the school office. We’ve also started a baby massage class on Wednesdays and it was lovely to welcome the next Smithton generation into the school last week! I have been told by the health visitor that all parents are offered a parent workshop and baby massage from the first meeting but if you did’t receive that message please know you  can get support through the school for as long as we have the Pupil Equity Funding available to us.

Aileen Mackay, HT

This week in the Rainbow Room we have been learning about how we travel safely. The children told us how they travel in their cars and most of them were aware of what to do when crossing the road. The children learned that when you ride on a motorbike you have to wear special protective clothes and some children tried on boots, a helmet, jacket and gloves. We played “Traffic Lights” in the gym where the children were able to follow the instructions depending on the colour of bean bag. To celebrate World Book Day most of the children came dressed as a favourite character. The children drew pictures of their favourite stories and we read lots of favourite books.

Alison Hendry, EYP

24th February

The children have engaged in plenty of stimulating activities this week. Turning our home corner into a hospital where they looked after each other, learned big words such as stethoscope and bandage. We had a parent visitor who kindly explained some of the work that happens in a hospital.

Outdoors in the garden children created obstacle courses using lengths of wood and cable reels. They challenged their physical skills of balancing, jumping running and lifting.

Promoting science this week, we carried out experiments of showing static  with balloons rubbed on hair, bicarbonate of soda with vinegar volcanoes, yeast to show bacterial growth, glitter germs, magnetic cars and a flying dinosaur!!

Throughout the week the children have done so much sharing, turn taking, communicating and working together.

Thank you to all parents who came in for Stay and Play, the children loved your visits, hope you enjoyed the fun too.

Karen Hall (EYP)

12th February

Science is fun! The children had a great time making gloop, understanding the properties ; tooth decay and how to avoid it and why volcanoes erupt. Static electricity can be fun when we can ‘see it’ on our heads!

3rd February

Mrs Stuart is off this week so please direct any queries to me. If your child is coming to school in August please remember to have enrolled. If you are looking to have another year in nursery it is important that you complete the ELC form that was handed out last week. Contact your child’s keyworker if you didn’t receive one.

Sorting and matching seems like a normal early skill that we teach in nursery but have you thought how powerful a skill it is for life long interactions? If we can learn early that we can sort and match in different ways then we begin to understand that other people will sort things in different ways to us. This helps  with team work and seeing things from other points of view later in life. It’s incredible what your children are learning for life in Smithton ELC! Staff are so creative and determined for your child to succeed and with a strong partnership with you your children can see us all working together. It makes all the difference so thank you for your continued support. Don’t forget to stay and play next week if you can to see for yourself!

Aileen Mackay, HT

The children celebrated Chinese New Year with making Chinese lanterns, using chop sticks and watching a little clip about how the Chinese New Year is celebrated. “ We found out it was the year of the Rat”.

We were using our thinking skills and choosing what we would like to learn about this term. We used our voting and now we are going to be learning about Fire, Fire fighters and fire engines. If any parents/helpers  have any books, magazines, jigsaws or anything related to fire it would be much appreciated if you could take in for us to look at in nursery. Thank you!

Mrs Mullen, EYP

27th January

It’s enrollment week for Primary 1 – can you believe it’s that time for many of you? Please use the online form if possible

If you have any queries or concerns don’t hesitate to speak with your child’s keyworker or with me

We have been finding out how to keep ourselves and others safe, also talking about how we travel safely to nursery Lillyanna told us “Mummy and me walk to nursery and hold hands, we walk on the pavement and wait for the cars to go past and we walk across the road”.

Mrs Cassie, EYP

13th January

One of the ways we try to reinforce learning is by using the outdoors to make learning ‘real’. Our staff are keen to use the outdoors in all weathers and the children love it! You will see the new area outside the ELC at the back has been extended so that the children can explore further in a secure environment. All we need now is the snow to come so we can sledge down the hill!

Aileen Mackay, HT

The children have been developing their movement skills this week, especially outside. They have been working with their friends to build bridges and “houses”. They worked together and used their language skills to decide where to put the planks of wood, reels and pipes. Kai said “We had to build it with the wood and the blocks” Scott said “the pipe goes on top of it”

Some children helped to plant bulbs in our planters. Hopefully we will have a ”Scotland Flag” in the spring.

Alison Hendry, EYP

6th January

We’re delighted to welcome new families into our ELC and trust you feel relaxed about coming and eager to learn. It has been my pleasure to see how well everyone has been welcoming the new children and how they have settled so quickly. Look at the photos on the blog section of this website from last week showing all children engaged in their learning across the two rooms and the outdoor areas. Great fun in learning!

Aileen Mackay, HT

Welcome back to everyone after what I am sure was an exciting time spent with  family and friends. Our new children are settling in and exploring the setting inside and out. This week children have been writing and drawing in trays of salt , counting using numicon (number shapes) and buttons. Lots of painting and gluing pictures and model making. Jigsaws of various sizes have been completed working together  or own their own.  Everyone I am sure are looking forward to the changes being made in our garden so if there are any parent/carer/grandparents or friends willing to help with ideas please see nursery staff. Thanks in advance.

Mrs Brand EYP

2nd December

Some of the groups are learning about Autumn, they have been researching using the tablets for information and have used a wide variety of resources to make hedgehogs, some made salt dough models while others drew pictures and some made masks.   “Hedgehogs roll into a ball when its scared.” Zoe “A baby fox is called a cub or a kit.” Eilidh.

The Zebra group have been learning about dinosaurs, the children were engaged and focused while make a dinosaur theme outdoors, they used compost, sand, rocks, parts of trees and big logs and of course dinosaurs RRRRRRR!

Some of the children have been exploring a real tea set, the children are in charge of how they explore, potter and tinker by using their creative imagination and expression. (The curiosity Approach).

Its that time of year again where we start Christmas activities, the children were very excited seeing the Christmas trees come out and enjoyed helping to decorate them. They are also busy practising our songs for the show. Here is a list of the songs we are singing, the children might want to practise at home.

When santa got stuck up the chimney

Jingle bells

Santa shark

Rudolf the red nose reindeer

We wish you a merry Christmas

Dates for the diary

Thursday 12th December school closed to children for polling station

Friday 13th Dec Christmas show 10am or 2pm

Tuesday 17 th Dec Christmas partys 9.30-12  12.30-3pm

Friday 20th Dec last day of term

Monday 6th Jan 2020 first day of new term

25th November

It’s good when the boys and girls begin to understand that they are part of the whole school and can influence what we do together! Look out for a blog post this week with a recycling idea which has come from the ELC.

Aileen Mackay, HT

Hello everyone, it’s been another busy week . The children in the Rainbow Room have chosen different nocturnal creatures to learn about. They have been reading stories, and looking at fact books to help them learn more. During our gym session the children were moving around like their chosen creature.

Lynne MacLeod, EYP

18th November

It will soon be enrollment time for school. If you have any worries or queries please contact your child’s keyworker in the first instance and we can do some extra observations, etc. Do not worry about this even if you are unsure whether your child would benefit from an advantage year in the nursery setting. Please just talk to us.

Aileen Mackay, HT

On Monday the 11th November, ELCC children and staff held their silence(they really did!) and made poppies in commemoration to the members of the armed forces.

Current learning is mainly about Autumn. Looking at colours of the leaves by exploring them in daily play, investigating patterns in rubbing with crayons, counting and adding with chestnuts and cones Some are enjoying finding out about the animals that are associated with autumn……….. did you know that a baby hedgehog is called a hoglet?!!

Karen Hall, EYP

11th November

Children were happy to be back for our new term, they were busy looking,feeling and investigating pumpkins.

Elsie said “ they have seeds” Some children painted pumpkin pictures and were aware they are different sizes (big Small) .

Mrs Mullen, EYP

28th October

Before the holidays some children had an interest in bugs and beasties so they built a bug hotel in the nursery garden, coming back this week they were keen to investigate if we had any visitors in the hotel, we found a daddy long legs and a spider, the children are hoping more will join them soon.  In our gym session we were developing our ball skills and outside our balancing skills through practice and play.

Mrs Cassie, EYP

7th October

As we head into the last week of term we can reflect on how well people have settled – parents and carers as well as the children! It’s been great to see our older children mature and take the lead with the younger ones and with the ‘new starts’ beginning to become more confident and see the setting as their learning place – inside and outside. Looking forward to seeing you at the walk in the woods on Friday and remember there will be a ‘big breakfast’ first for Macmillan Cancer from 8.15am.

Aileen Mackay, HT

The children have been exploring the building den within the school grounds. It is a great opportunity for them to learn how to move their body well in the wooded environment. They can find out about the space around them and how to share it safely within a small group.

While outdoors, the children enjoy freedom of movement, engaging in chats with others as they strengthen their friendships; learning about outdoor objects, investigating and challenging themselves while they climb and explore different sizes of spools, small tree heights.

We can’t wait to get back out and bring a story with us to read!!

Mrs Blanchard, EYP

23rd September

Please come along to the Parent Council AGM on Wednesday at 6pm. If you are new to the nursery you may think it is a different organisation to the school but we’re one, big, happy family! Our learning and curriculum starts in ELCC and is progressive all the way through. Come and be part of the whole school and get to know people at the same time. Don’t be shy!

Aileen Mackay, HT

We have been enjoying the sunshine, visiting the Den Building Area (using our gross motor skills) and using our numeracy skills, exploring shapes inside and outside.    We had a visit from Mary and Mojo (Dental Hygienist and her monkey), there was lots of questions and answers from the children,  “you have a sweetie for puddingEila Miller, “fizzy juice is bad for your teeth”  Jessica MacKenzie,  we are now ready to brush our teeth in nursery.

Mrs A McNeil


18th September

Learning in nursery requires a lot of thinking, planning and creativity! As adults, we plan the learning to make sure that the children get the depth, breadth and progression needed. However, young minds and bodies like to learn when it’s something they are interested in so we work best when we ‘follow their interests’. This means that they will be learning about pattern and shape but some might learn about it through learning about pattern and shape of animals while others will learn better through pattern and shape of cars, for example. being eco friendly is very much following the children’s interests at the moment!

Aileen Mackay, HT


This week we have been learning about how we can take care of where we live. During a shape walk a group saw lots of litter so decided later that week to use some  time to pick up litter round the school using grips. We are all going to remember to turn off the taps and buckets and basins have been put outside to collect rain to water our plants which will all help to save water.

Dianne Brand EYP

9th September

As a staff we have been concentrating on helping your child extend his/her vocabulary. Have a look at the cloakroom area and the ‘Words Up’ advice to staff and parents/carers around how to get the most out of our interactions with the children. It’s good to see all settling well and getting familiar with routines. For those who have been in nursery for a year, it’s been good to see them take a lead and help some of the younger ones! We have a leadership programme in the making for our older nursery boys and girls which will be implemented after Christmas as part of our transition programme.

Aileen Mackay, HT

We have been exploring the outdoor areas, spending time at the den building area; making dens, climbing and searching for shapes. At the gym hall we have been looking at different ways we can move about making sure we are aware of the space around us.

Mrs Walker, EYP

2nd September 2019

It’s a real privilege to be a part of your child’s learning development and to plan as a staff about where we go next with learning. We plan the skills and the learning depending on your child’s understanding. Have a look at your child’s sharing folder to see what they will be doing and how they will learn together. We use national documents to plan the learning called Curriculum for Excellence and documents that come out from the Care Inspectorate. Don’t hesitate to ask for more information. Come along to our tea and toast session on Friday or the Parent Council AGM to find out more.

Aileen Mackay, HT.

We read a story called  The Gingerbread Man.  “ We could get ginger and make a gingerbread man”  Jayson

We measured, mixed, rolled out the mixture and followed  a recipe to make yummy gingerbread and had them for our snack.  It was a thumbs up from Lucy.

Mrs Harvey, EYP

30th August

The children are settling back into the routine of nursery, and our new children have been learning about the rules and routines. They have been enjoying seeing their friends from last year and meeting and making new friends.

Mrs Hendry, EYP

Previous Session

N1 July

N24 june

N3rd June

N27th May

N6th May

N23 april

N1st April

N25th March

N18th March

N11th March

N25th Feb

N11th Feb

N4th Feb

N28th Jan

n21st jan

n14th jan

n7th jan

N 17th Dec

N 10th Dec

N 3rd Dec

N 26th Nov

N 19th Nov

N 12th Nov

N 5th Nov

N 8 oct

N1st oct

N24 sep

N 17 sept

N 10 sep

N3rd sept


30th November St Andrews Day

We celebrated St Andrews Day at the nursery, children took part in Highland Dancing in the gym hall, and made the St Andrews cross flag they even tried to pin the tail on the haggis! We tried Haggis, Neeps and Tatties for snack along with oatcakes and then shortbread. Lots of the children really enjoyed the haggis and was a big thumbs up!

November 2016

Fire Engines and Fire Safety

The children became interested in The Fire Service after our mind maps on people who help us, the children voted to decide what they wanted to learn about.

The children were involved in role play in the home corner and made their own fire engine.


They also made a fire engine from loose parts outside in the garden.101_6373

The children then had a visit from the fire service and had a chance to sit in the fire engine and try out the hose.