Kirkhope Nursery back in business after two-year closure

Children enjoy the new facilities at Kirkhope Nursery.
Children enjoy the new facilities at Kirkhope Nursery.

A Borders nursery forced to close its doors due to lack of children has been refurbished and reopened this term, much to the delight of nearby communities.

A Borders nursery forced to close its doors due to lack of children has been refurbished and reopened this term, much to the delight of nearby communities.

Enjoying some play time at Kirkhope Nursery.

Enjoying some play time at Kirkhope Nursery.

Kirkhope Nursery, serving both the Ettrick and Yarrow Valleys near Selkirk, temporarily closed in August 2014 due to a lack of numbers.

However, two years on, it has reopened thanks to Scottish Borders Council’s commitment to supporting and sustaining small rural schools.

Since its relaunch, the nursery, situated within Kirkhope Primary, has been transformed with more than £4,000 worth of new equipment and resources for the play room and an added focus on the natural environment and outdoor play.

Headteacher Russell Williams said: “We are delighted to see the nursery open again, and I know that the communities of both valleys have been waiting in anticipation of it happening.

Principal teacher Mrs Hoppe tells a story.

Principal teacher Mrs Hoppe tells a story.

“It is a great boost not only to Kirkhope School but to the Ettrick and Yarrow valleys.

“Our small rural setting is particularly well suited for children who may find a larger nursery a daunting place and offers parents the choice as to what best meets the needs of their child.

“The children are enjoying using lots of brand new equipment including tables and chairs, a role-play area, nature table, play den as well as new toys, musical instruments and construction materials.”

Additional improvements have been made to meet current Care Inspectorate safety standards, with the nursery now boasting a newly-fitted kitchen area, a refurbished entrance foyer and new flooring.

The community is regularly involved with nursery children mixing with primary ones pupils through early level learning and play sessions, while parents are also being encouraged to take part in weekly stay and play sessions.

Meanwhile primary seven pupils from both Yarrow and Kirkhope schools have worked with the nursery children to makeover the previously overgrown nursery garden.

Mr Williams added: “The budding gardeners did a superb job and have turned the garden into a fantastic outdoor play area with seating, raised beds and a willow dome.”

Kirkhope Nursery currently offers five morning sessions per week with the hope of increasing to full day sessions in the near future.

The nursery has a capacity for 20 children and currently has a roll of five, with an additional four children due to start by April.