Developing the Learning Environment at Holm ELC

Holm ELC have recently taken some steps to develop the quality of both their indoor and outdoor learning environments.  The Depute Head, Janine Webb, has shared the inspiration behind the changes and the impact this has had on the children.  Read more about their journey of change below.

‘The initial focus started following our recent Care Inspectorate inspection.  The setting has been transformed in response to feedback. 


‘We started to look at our existing resources and make better use of the natural loose parts we already had – this then went into larger loose part pieces in the outdoor environment as we attempted to blur the boundaries/thresholds  between outside and inside.

We looked at literature from Play Scotland and asked parents for donations of additional materials. We had been very aware of getting numeracy and literacy into the outdoors but now had much more of a focus on bringing more natural materials inside the setting.

There has been a positive impact on the children regarding the changes we made in the items that we chose to display.  It was suggested we question who the displays were for and the time taken to turn them around. We now use a more regular Floorbook approach for planning and anything that does get put up on display is then added to our Floorbook at the appropriate time.  The children are much calmer and to be honest don’t look up much past their own height so the lack of display has not affected them – the calmer colours and lighting has definitely had a more positive impact for all.

The setting supports breakfast club and out of school care so we attempted to also make it more of a chilled space for the older pupils after school. We have installed low level lighting and fairy lights and use the bright fluorescent lights only as and when required.’


Parents helped us to organise the outdoor resources and following some community support from house building firms, we created different levels in the garden; we did some additional landscaping in the garden (sensory path). This is part of our School Improvement Plan (SIP) work on curriculum design and is still ongoing.

The pirate ship project was part of Friendship Friday – a whole school initiative to establish play based, skill driven activity sessions across CfE levels. This too in response to our SIP and part of a Curriculum redesign and a fresh look at our Vision, Values, Aims and Ethos.’ 

Janine Webb, DHT, Holm Primary and Nursery

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