The recession may still be biting hard but at least one business in Kilsyth is managing to fight back.
The Kidstore Nursery in Burngreen Lodge has just taken on four lucky apprentices, despite the harsh economic times, and the centre’s owner, Patsy McLaren feels that taking on the extra staff will help the nursery continue to flourish.
“As we are growing as a nursery, we are taking more people on,” said Patsy, who is referred to as ‘Granny Patsy’ by the 58 children already enrolled at the group.
“There’s 16 members of staff here just now and we have lots looking for places.
“There’s some real talent in these girls though, and they are really enjoying their work – as does everyone here. It’s great to love your job and to wake up and want to go to work.”
The nursery started in September 2010 and has gone from strength to strength.
The four apprentices, Shannon Ward, Ami Doyle, Nicole Stewart and Caitlan McKinlay, are the latest to join the group and were grateful for the opportunity to work locally.
Eighteen-year-old Shannon said: “It’s great working here. I did a few college courses when I left school, one of which was an introduction to child care. I was at Cumbernauld college and felt that I was better learning in the working environment, I never really enjoyed the class room situation.
“I share Patsy’s ethos on how to look after children, I’m learning so much here.
“I was looking for a place with the council, but I couldn’t get one because of my age.
“With this one it was actually just luck that I found it here as I had forgotten it was open!
“However, without this I would have had to work my way up from college, which would have taken me four years.”
Patsy is hopeful that she can encourage the new workers to adopt her approach to teaching and caring for the children at the nursery by showing them the ways of what she calls ‘risky play’.
Despite its auspicious name, risky play simply means letting children make their own decisions and learning themselves.
Patsy explained: “The children decide what they want to do and we advocate that type of learning.
“Children measure the risks for themselves. For example, if they are climbing a tree or, even stairs, they know if they can make the distance to the next branch or step or not – they measure it themselves. Here, they get the full use of the garden where they are still totally monitored and enclosed but they can explore.”
Amy Doyle (20), another of the new apprentices, stays in Cumbernauld.
She said: “I’ve always been around children because I’m one of 10 grandchildren, and the oldest.
“I did a course on sport coaching before but I decided that I enjoyed working with children more and found I was better at it too.
“It’s been really good working here. It’s like being part of a family and no two days are the same.”