Back to the floor

In the second of our ‘Back to the Floor’ visits, Acting Corporate Director, Denise Whitworth ventured to Pilmuir nursery in Forres to experience a day in the life of staff – and the kids.

“It was my first time setting foot in a nursery since my own children left over a decade ago,” Denise says, “it seems like no time has passed and it looked very similar – but straight away I could tell the approach has moved on.”

Back to the Floor gives our senior managers the chance to visit and speak with frontline staff, experience frontline services and, in Denise’s case, get stuck in to arts, crafts and playing!

“I was enthusiastically herded into Percy the Park Keepers bothy (although it was a bit different to the bothies I’ve been to at Cooper Park or Waterford!), dressed in his cap and shown the animals in his park.

“We made some hedgehogs to go with the park theme, by cutting up paper circles – I’d forgotten that three year-olds don’t know how to use scissors so it was fun trying to show them and seeing how delighted they were with their success.

“Then it was out for some fresh air in the garden where the water tray had some very realistic feeling, squidgy frog spawn, some good old-fashioned wooden telephones on a hose pipe to talk to friends on and, the highlight for one little boy, the council bin lorry collecting the wheelie bins on the street outside.”

While it all sounds like great fun, it’s part of our rather more serious employee engagement programme and affords our colleagues the opportunity to showcase best practice, engage with senior managers and explain the challenges they face, and allows the managers themselves to experience at first-hand the delivery of essential services within their community setting.

For Denise, it was a real eye-opener as she took in the fast-paced and fun environment at Pilmuir.

“It was full on for the staff as they tried to encourage sharing and co-operation, include and support each child, organise snacks and keep up a positive vibe to ensure everyone enjoyed being there – me included,” she said, “and once the children had gone there was the inevitable tidying of the toys and equipment ready for the next day, with a bit of planning and reflection squeezed in at the end of the shift.”

Reflecting on the busy day, Denise thanked the nursery staff and the head teacher for their patience and support, and the children for making her feel so welcome.

“Although the day was so full on with no room for waning energy or enthusiasm, it was so rewarding.  The vibrancy of the children and commitment of the staff gave me a real boost for my return to the office for the rest of the working day.”

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