Croileagan Inbhir Narainn Visitors

Croileagan Inbhir Narainn had some important visitors on 7th January 2015. Steve Barron (Chief Executive of Highland Council), Elaine Mead (Chief Executive of NHS Highland) and Bernadette Cairns (Head of Additional Support Services, Highland Council) came along to see how we were making improvements using the Early Years Collaborative methodology of Plan, Do, Study, Act.

Snack time in Croileagan was taking too long, especially the preparation time. We decided to try and involve the children more in choosing and preparing the snack and encouraging them to try new healthy foods. Making a few simple changes, one at a time, has really changed how snack happens now and all the children are really keen to be the day’s snack helper. The children are actively involved in the snack preparation, choosing and planning the snacks for the following week, tasting and trying new foods and recording their likes / dislikes.

We have gathered photo evidence and made a wall display with the children and the children were actually able to explain to our visitors what they had learned.  The staff have recorded the impact this has made and can see the huge benefits for themselves, and the children’s learning experiences, which include increased confidence in fine motor skills and trying new foods.


There were a few anxious glances from our visitors to see the children using a serrated knife (very safe Pampered Chef knife) to chop the kiwis but they were relieved when staff still took charge of the kettle to make the coffee! They also gave us some useful pointers for other things we could do and for taking things forward.

During the visit, our visitors talked and played with the children and helped to prepare the snack. Elaine donned her disposable pinny and happily followed the children’s instructions on how to rinse the mangetout! She was also very impressed how carefully they washed their hands – one of the children pointed out she had missed step 4!!

100 fingers!

In the midst of all this, one of the children demonstrated very well how staff never know what might happen next, and how we must always be on our toes – or in this case, fingers!! He wanted to find out what 100 fingers would look like. He knew he had 10 fingers and worked out he needed 10 people so he gathered up the adults and children until he had 10 of us all showing our fingers for the photo – thank you Steve, Elaine and Bernadette for helping too!


We were a bit worried about these important people visiting but there was no need. They were very friendly and clearly pleased to take time out of the office and see what happens in Nursery. Steve told us the visit was the highlight of his month and Elaine had to be dragged away as she was having so much fun!

You can find out more about the Early Years Collaborative on the CALA website.

Marion Laidlaw, CALA Childhood Practice Manager