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Inside the Incredible Transformation of This Nursery’s Play Area

The Stepping Stones Family Learning Centre in Stepps recently saw a remarkable transformation of its nursery play areas, thanks to the efforts of Morris & Spottiswood, a renowned construction services provider.

Spearheaded by operations director David Thorn, the project was part of the firm’s social value initiative tied to its involvement in two North Lanarkshire-based frameworks. The team, consisting of seven members, revamped large tarmac sections and smaller muddy and grassy areas into a vibrant play garden featuring a sensory path, sandpit, mud kitchen, and timber shelter. Despite severe winter conditions and funding challenges, the project was completed in just four weeks during the Easter holidays, much to the delight of the children and staff.

Transformations in community spaces are always heartening to witness, especially when they directly benefit the youngest members of society. The Stepping Stones Family Learning Centre in Stepps recently experienced such a transformation. Thanks to the efforts of Morris & Spottiswood, a construction services provider with a keen interest in social value projects, the nursery’s play areas have been given a new lease on life. David Thorn, the operations director at Morris & Spottiswood, led this initiative, which was linked to the company’s involvement in two North Lanarkshire-based frameworks. The project involved a team of seven dedicated members who worked tirelessly to convert expansive tarmac areas and smaller mud and grass patches into a full-fledged play garden.

The transformation of the nursery play area was carried out meticulously, with the team ensuring that sections were worked on one at a time to allow play activities to continue uninterrupted. The new play environment boasts a range of exciting features designed to stimulate the children’s senses and encourage imaginative play. These include a sensory path made from different materials, a large sandpit complete with bamboo shoot funnels, an operational mud kitchen equipped with tap and drainage, and a timber shelter to ensure all-weather usability.

The use of natural materials in the construction of these features is particularly noteworthy. Bamboo shoot funnels, log seats, and a non-toxic sensory path not only enhance the aesthetic appeal of the play area but also promote sustainability and safety. The project faced significant challenges, including severe winter conditions and insufficient funding, which had led to the deterioration of the nursery’s outdoor area. However, the team overcame these hurdles and completed the project within a tight four-week timeframe during the Easter holidays, minimising disruption for the children.

David Thorn reflected on the project, expressing his delight at the transformation: “This was a truly fantastic project to work on. The change in the garden is incredible to see, and all the team loved working on it. The kids enjoyed the entire process, from waving at the diggers on site to getting involved at the very end to add the finishing touches. It was a very rewarding few weeks of work, and it was a joy to see all the happy faces with the result.”

Nicole McGillivray, the head of the Centre at Stepping Stones FLC, also shared her gratitude: “We are extremely grateful for the hard work and dedication that Morris & Spottiswood has provided to help achieve such a fantastic learning space for our children. There has been a spark ignited again for outdoor learning and curiosity in our children, which has been amazing to witness.”

Collette Walker, co-chair of the nursery’s Parent Committee, echoed these sentiments: “We would never have achieved anything of this level without David and his team. It was a brilliant experience all round. The team were more than accommodating, and the end result is incredible. A huge thank you to everyone involved.”

The new play area at Stepping Stones Family Learning Centre is more than just a physical transformation; it’s a revitalisation of the children’s learning environment. The sensory path, sandpit, mud kitchen, and timber shelter are not mere additions but catalysts for imaginative play and sensory exploration. These features offer the children varied textures, sights, and sounds to explore, helping to develop their cognitive and motor skills in a natural, engaging way.

One of the most striking aspects of this project is the emphasis on natural materials. By incorporating elements like bamboo shoot funnels and log seats, the play area provides a tactile and visual connection to nature. This not only enhances the children’s sensory experiences but also instils an early appreciation for the environment. The use of non-toxic materials ensures that the play area is safe for all children, addressing any concerns parents might have about their kids’ exposure to harmful substances.

The operational mud kitchen with tap and drainage is another highlight, encouraging children to engage in imaginative play. This feature allows kids to mimic real-life cooking activities, fostering creativity and social interaction. The timber shelter ensures that the outdoor play can continue regardless of weather conditions, making the play area a year-round asset for the nursery.

Despite the severe winter conditions and limited funding, the project was completed within an impressive four-week period during the Easter holidays. This quick turnaround minimised disruption for the children, allowing them to return to a newly transformed play area after the break. The dedication and hard work of the Morris & Spottiswood team, led by David Thorn, were crucial in overcoming the challenges posed by the weather and budget constraints.

The success of this project highlights the importance of community-focused initiatives and the impact they can have on local facilities. By investing in the transformation of the nursery’s play area, Morris & Spottiswood have not only improved the physical environment but also enhanced the overall learning experience for the children. The positive feedback from the nursery staff and parents underscores the significance of such projects in fostering community spirit and improving the quality of life for residents.

The transformation of the Stepping Stones Family Learning Centre’s play area is a testament to the power of community-focused initiatives. Morris & Spottiswood’s dedication to enhancing the nursery’s environment has resulted in a vibrant, engaging, and safe play space that encourages imaginative play and sensory exploration. Despite the challenges of severe winter conditions and limited funding, the project was completed within four weeks, thanks to the hard work and commitment of the team led by David Thorn. The new play area features a sensory path, sandpit, mud kitchen, and timber shelter, all made from natural, non-toxic materials. This transformation has reignited the children’s curiosity and love for outdoor learning, much to the delight of the staff and parents.

“This was a truly fantastic project to work on. The change in the garden is incredible to see, and all the team loved working on it.”

– David Thorn

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