Category: Wellbeing

A Pedagogue Ponders…

A Pedagogue Ponders…

Hello! Some of you may already know me and for others I may be a relatively new face. I have recently just returned from maternity leave and thought I would introduce myself to all of our fab Falkirk folk!

I am Ashley Cupples and I am one of the Early Years Pedagogues within Falkirk Council. I am based at Nethermains ELC and at present we are one of the settings currently being extended as part of the Scottish Governments ELC 1140 expansion. I think I can say on behalf of myself and all of the fantastic educators here, we are looking forward to transforming our new spacious environment into a wonderful place for our wee people to play, laugh and learn together.

On Wednesday the 24th of March 2021 I returned from maternity leave after being off for the past year. Like any first-time mother I had big plans for my maternity leave, however only six weeks after having my daughter we went into lockdown and we spent most of it in lockdown. We even appeared in the daily record which was our claim to fame!

 What Matters to Me?

I thought I would take a wee bit of time and express “What Matters to me?” as a practitioner and as a Mum, who has recently gone through a Home-ELC transition. I have worked in Education for fifteen years now and I honestly could never imagine doing anything else. I have always been passionate about early years and truly believe as early educators, we have one of the most privileged and important jobs. To know that the first five years of a child’s life determines and influences their life chances is just so powerful. And to think that myself and my lovely colleagues have the power to really make a difference, makes me so proud every day. Building positive relationships with our wee people and their families matters to me. Family involvement is so important.

My family are my world. I love spending time with my husband and my baby. I am such a proud mum and often ask myself how did I get so lucky? My little girl is my greatest achievement in life. However, I think it is important to say that even with all my early years’ experience, every day is a learning day as a parent and that is ok! On my days off and at the weekends, myself and my family love exploring the outdoors, going long walks and to be honest I think we have just about visited every swing park in North Lanarkshire.

I love studying and have always been an avid learner. After returning from Maternity leave, I now work part time (Wednesday, Thursday & Friday) and this is the perfect work life balance for me. However, in the future when my daughter is a little bit older, I would like to further my studies and undertake a master’s degree.

My own transition experience…

My little girl has just recently started nursery and as a parent it is a daunting process during normal circumstances, but the restraints of the pandemic have made it even harder. Luckily my daughter has settled so well but this might not always be the case and as an Early Years Pedagogue part of my remit is to support families too. So, with this in mind after spending my first day back getting to know all our wonderful wee people, I made a point of going out to the ELC gates to introduce myself to all families.

I have been able to reflect on my own transition experience and urge our practitioners to consider the following points:

1.Have you introduced the whole staff team to existing and new families?

Before the pandemic families would have been able to come into the ELC setting to speak/interact/meet/chat with educators.

  1. Is there a way new families can see the nursery environment before their child starts?

Again previously families would have been able to come in to visit, walk around the playroom and see the ELC environment.

(Such as virtual walk round)

  1. Due to the fact verbal daily communication is limited, are families still kept up to date with their child’s learning?

Think about how you communicate with families…  Some examples used are twitter, seesaw, sway and online learning journals. These are great methods of communication but one thing to keep in mind is not all families have internet access.

‘Parents and families must have access to information that allows them to form a clear understanding of how their child is progressing, and the information they need to help them play a key role in their child’s education’. (National Improvement Framework for Scottish Education, 2016)



By Ashley Cupples




Resources to Support Outdoor Play and Learning

National Guidance to support high quality Outdoor Play and Learning

Outdoor Play and Learning is a key priority in our Early Learning Quality Strategy.

There are a number of important national guidance documents to support this area of priority. It is really important that pedagogical leaders and teams are conversant with the main messages in this guidance.

Care Inspectorate has been in touch to say that every setting will receive a hard copy towards the end of July of the Space to Grow Indoor Outdoor Settings guidance. In the meantime you can access the document here via the Care Inspectorate HUB.

It is really important that we are all clear on what it is to be an indoor/outdoor ELC settings. This definition from the guidance is very helpful,

“An indoor/outdoor setting is a premises-based setting where the scale and quality of the outdoor space is appropriate for enhancing the child’s quality of play and learning experiences. High quality natural outdoor space combined with high-quality indoor space and quality opportunities and experiences for children are all taken into account when considering the number of children the setting is registered for. Both the indoor and the outdoor area must be accessible to the children 100% of the operational times. An indoor/outdoor setting will take account of the practices of a solely outdoor or satellite setting.” (emphasis added)

Page 8

We are absolutely delighted that our very own Nethermains Nursery Class is featured in the document (pages 29 & 30). If you are interested in finding out more, do not hesitate to contact Ashley Cupples, EY Pedagogue.

Page 26 gives practical hints and tips on what practitioners need to consider before embarking on establishing an indoor/outdoor approach.

The resource should act as a tool to be used in conjunction with:

Space to Grow

Out to Play

My World Outdoors

Practice Note: Early Learning and Childcare: Delivering High Quality Play and Learning Environments Outdoors

Guidance on Nappy Changing Facilities for Early Learning and Childcare Services – June 2018

In our Falkirk nurseries,  when practitioners are caring for young children who use nappies, they must have appropriate facilities. These facilities must provide children with a safe, clean environment and appropriate equipment, while promoting privacy and dignity.

Appropriate nappy changing and personal care facilities are essential for the health and wellbeing of children and of staff.  This guidance explains the standards when providing nappy changing or personal care facilities for young children. It is important that everyone who plans, provides or uses early learning and childcare settings is aware of the expected nappy changing facilities they must have.

Nappy Changing Guidance



New Health and Social Care Standards



The new Health and Social Care Standards have now been published and will be rolled out from April 2018.

National Care Standards were developed with people who use care services and they say what a good quality care service should be like.

Every child across Falkirk Council is entitled to high quality care and support tailored towards their particular needs and choices. These Standards are hugely important to ensure that everyone in Scotland receives the care and support that is right for them. In Falkirk, staff in nurseries should use the standards to check the quality of the service they provide for children and families.

Our nurseries should reflect:


  • Be treated with dignity and respect at all times; and
  • Enjoy a full range of social relationships.


  • Have your privacy and property respected; and
  • Be free from unnecessary intrusion.


  • Make informed choices, while recognising the rights of other people to do the same; and
  • Know about the range of choices.


  • Feel safe and secure in all aspects of life, including health and well-being;
  • Enjoy safety but not be over-protected; and
  • Be free from exploitation and abuse.

Realising potential

  • Achieve all you can;
  • Make full use of the resources that are available to you;
  • Make the most of your life.

Equality and diversity

Live an independent life, rich in purpose, meaning and personal fulfilment

  • Be valued for your ethnic background, language, culture and faith;
  • Be treated equally and be cared for in an environment which is free from bullying, harassment and discrimination; and
  • Be able to complain effectively without fear of victimisation