The majority of Scottish nurseries are providing good opportunities for children to stay healthy and active, according to Scotland’s care watchdog.
The Care Commission’s Active Play in Children’s Day Care Services Bulletin showed that 84% of nurseries in Scotland – according to a review of nursery inspections – were meeting the minimum requirements for physical activity set out in the National Care Standards.
Most nurseries were providing appropriate safe and stimulating active play opportunities for children on a regular basis, and that staff worked well with the children, meeting their needs with skill and confidence.
The review also found that the majority of children who required additional support to become involved in active play were receiving the necessary support from nursery staff.
However, of the 2088 services inspected, a total of 19 local authority, 56 voluntary and 65 private nurseries needed to improve staff training – or Continuous Professional Development – to ensure that they understood how to provide adequate active play opportunities for children.
The Care Commission also found that 59 private nurseries needed to improve their facilities and equipment for active play.
PR in Scotland for care watchdog
Ronnie Hill, the Care Commission’s Director of Children’s Services Regulation, said: “In Scotland, as in many other countries, there is increasing concern for the health and fitness of young children. The Care Commission shares this concern and wants to support and encourage children’s daycare services to help children engage in active play.
“By using information gathered from all our inspection, investigation and enforcement activities during 2007/08, we found that most nurseries in Scotland are providing good quality and appropriate active play opportunities for the children – both indoors and outdoors.
“We would encourage all of these services to keep up this good work and maintain good practice when it comes to encouraging children to be active and healthy during their play activities.
“However, although the majority of nurseries are performing well, there are still a number that could improve.
“We found that some nurseries are not providing enough opportunities for children to take part in active play and, we made recommendations in 16% of all services. Where we made recommendations, more than 40% of these were about the need for nurseries – whether local authority, private or voluntary – to provide better training for their staff when it comes to encouraging active play.
“It’s also concerning that we found that more than a third of the private nurseries which received recommendations needed to improve the equipment they use for active play and to make better use out of their indoor and outdoor facilities.
“We are recommending that all of these nurseries make the necessary improvements to ensure they offer the best possible opportunities for children to stay healthy and active.”