College nursery celebrates 30 years
Dundee and Angus College, like everyone else, is adapting to the ‘new normal’ but it’s reassuring to know that some things never change. Support and care have always been at the heart of everything the college does and that couldn’t be more apparent than at its Helping Hands Nursery.
The nursery opened its doors 30 years ago at the college’s Arbroath campus and has been welcoming and nurturing children ever since. Working in partnership with Angus Education Department, it provides care and education for up to 52 children and is proud of its outdoor learning opportunities and consistent excellent grades in Care Inspectorate reports.
Stephanie Bledowski, Early Years Manager, says, “I feel very honoured to be part of the Helping Hands Nursery family. It is a fantastic achievement to reach this 30-year milestone which is a true testament to the passionate staff who have provided a setting that families choose time and time again. I have been blessed to work with the best practitioners and in my time have welcomed more than 400 amazing children.”
Due to COVID restrictions, the nursery is currently operating at a slightly reduced capacity and in two groups to minimise contact between children and staff. Work is nearing completion for a homely dining area and newly renovated kitchen, supported by a grant from Angus Council Early Years Expansion Programme. This will support the delivery of the increased entitlement of 1140 hours and the nursery’s aim of improving children’s wellbeing and eating habits.
Three decades on from when Helping Hands first opened its doors, former staff have only good memories of their time there. Debbie La, now working at Angus Council as a teacher for the visually impaired, remembers, “I was a nursery assistant and one of the three original members of staff when it opened in 1990. We had varying numbers in each day as, at that time, they were all children of students, so our numbers were dependent on timetables. We were able to establish close ties with the parents as they came and went at different times of the day. The nursery was always made to feel very much part of the college and my overriding memory is having lots of fun and laughs. It was lovely seeing the children always happy to attend.”
And now with its updated premises, Helping Hands Nursery is looking forward to continuing to care for children for many happy years to come!
Nursery applications or enquiries are welcome from students, college staff and members of the public on 01241 432726.