Nursery - Grow Your Own Froebel - group shot - 21 Nov 2019 - JCON

Nurseries across Renfrewshire are bringing play and autonomy into the heart of teaching young children after practitioners completed a highly-praised course.

Around 50 nursery managers and officers from Renfrewshire, East Renfrewshire and Inverclyde, part of the West Partnership, have completed a Froebel and Childhood Practice CPD Certificate, a professional development course developed with the University of Edinburgh and the Froebel Trust.

Nursery - Grow Your Own Froebel - group shot - 21 Nov 2019 - JCON

Friedrich Froebel was a German educator who pioneered new ways of thinking about education for very young children and is most famous as the creator of the first ‘kindergarten’ – a child garden.

Froebelian principles say that children need to lead their own learning through play to become confident learners, and that their environment plays a big part in their development.

Since going on the course, nursery teams in council-run and approved funded private and voluntary providers have been using what they have learned to enhance practices within their centres and classes.

Sandra Brackenridge, Senior Early Learning and Childcare Officer at Foxlea Early Learning and Childcare Centre, said: “Since being on this course, we’ve been putting the Froebelian principles into practice in our nursery. We have changed all our activities to be open-ended so children can be creative and find their own solutions.

“As a team, we have been sharing our experiences with art and creative play, block play, baking, outdoor play and community links with each other.

“I’d want to see more nursery managers and officers have time to go to this course and have the opportunity to embed these principles in their work. I can’t wait to see the impact these principles have on a child’s learning when they get into primary school and into life-long learning.”

Nursery Manager at Stepping Stones Nursery, Lorna Bradley, said: “This course consolidated everything I wanted to do and what I believed was important to help children develop and grow. It helped me see the theory behind the practices and why they are important.

“It has motivated me to study and read again and I’ve been qualified for 25 years. It’s also helped me motivate my staff and everyone is on board with embedding the Froebelian principles. I’ve put forward my depute to go onto the next course.

“It has changed our ethos and how we deliver learning for children. We have taken a step back and let children have their own autonomy. We’ve also started growing our garden, which helps children appreciate living things and, in the end, appreciate themselves.”

Michelle Goodwin, Depute Head of Centre at Hillview Early Learning and Childcare Centre, said: “My main learning was that it is best to keep things simple. Natural surroundings are great places for children to develop and flourish on their own.

“Some of my colleagues have already been on this course and when they came back to the centre, they were incredibly passionate about embedding the Froebelian principles into our nursery. I think it is important that all staff get this opportunity, so everyone has that same passion and ethos.

“Our nursery is already working with the Froebelian principles, so I want to continue to develop our practice now that I’ve been on this course.”

Head of Centre at Glenfield Early Learning and Childcare Centre, Alison Lauder, said: “For me, the biggest learning was that children need hands-on experiences outdoors with nature. That’s why I chose to create an area to house chicks and hens and involve parents and children in looking after them. Having a two-way partnership with parents is great. We learn from them and they learn from us.

“During the course, we did a practical lesson on block play. We all sat down on the floor and played with the blocks around us, but we were all playing as individuals. Then the course organiser said we could help ourselves to small parts and we started building things and helping each other out. Knowing we could do what we wanted helped us be more creative and we need to allow children the same opportunities.”

Julie Lindsay, Early Years Graduate at Williamsburgh Early Learning and Childcare Class, said: “The course has consolidated everything I believed in. It has given me the confidence to join a new team and drive the Froebel principles forward. Everyone in the team has excitedly taken the principles on board and are eager to get on with it. It’s been very empowering.

“There is a lot of enthusiasm from the team to go on this course too. Everyone should get a chance to go on it. It really brings meaning to everything we are already doing to support children’s early learning and development.”

Senior Practitioner at Maxwellton Park Nursery, Roslyn McLardie, said: “I learned a lot from this course, such as the importance of children being outdoors and in nature. It has reinforced that children should experience natural play and growing things.

“It also changes your perception on the importance of little things that support the bigger picture, such as relationships. I think it would be beneficial for all members of staff to go on this course and the learning is spread across all teams.”

Gayle Millar, Nursery Manager at Carli’s Kindergarten, said: “As a nursery manager, this course has given me the confidence to upskill my staff and support children to have valuable outdoors opportunities. The Froebelian principles are inspiring staff to be creative and allow children to get experiences they wouldn’t normally get day-to-day.

“I have two nurseries and two out-of-school care groups and I’m developing the Froebelian principles across all four services. This means the children can come in and play with the younger children during outdoor learning experience.”

Depute Head of West Primary School and Early Learning and Childcare Class, Vicki Wiszniewski, said: “It was a huge experience. I am a new depute and it has helped me make positive changes within the nursery. Three members of staff went on the course with me and it was great that we all had the same mindset and that our staff are being brought along with us in terms of the changes we are making.

“Many of the principles were things I already believed in, those from my childhood and raising my own child, but I just didn’t know they were Froebelian.

“This training is an incredible opportunity and the changes we have been able to make in our nursery have been incredible too. Children now have an improved free-flow environment, both inside and in the outdoor play and growing area which is in the shared playground with the primary school. It is a long time for children to be indoors all day and they have the freedom to choose where they want to be.”

For more information on careers in a Renfrewshire nursery, visit

midnight 2

SHOPPERS needn’t worry if they think time is running out to get all the Christmas presents they need.

The clock may be ticking, but intu Braehead is making sure everyone has plenty time to buy the gifts they want for family and friends by opening until midnight.

midnight 2

The popular shopping centre is open until midnight every day from Monday, December 16 to the following Monday, December 23.

And with free parking for 6500 cars, a safe and comfortable mall to do their shopping in and a host of restaurants and cafes visitors to intu Braehead have all they need to enjoy their Christmas shopping experience.

Marketing manager for intu Braehead, David Lyon said: “Our aim is to make people’s Christmas shopping a relaxed and enjoyable experience.

“Shoppers love our longer opening hours especially with people working during the day and then having to make sure they get all the right Christmas gifts.

“Our midnight opening is ideal for people with busy lives and people can even keep up with their favourite soaps on TV in the early evening before nipping out to intu Braehead to do some Christmas shopping.

“And everybody loves being able to drive into one of our free car parks and get to the shops within minutes.”

paisley pirates

Paisley Pirates take a break from league action this weekend as they playback to back Scottish Cup ties against Kirkcaldy Kestrels on Saturday and Sunday. They are away to the Fife side in the first leg, before returning to Braehead Arena for the second and deciding leg 24 hours later (face off 4.30pm).

paisley pirates

The club has faced a difficult time in recent weeks and will be hoping that a change of competition will see them return to something  like their best form. Player/coach Adam Walker commented, “Kestrels have improved since we last played them and they had a good result in Aberdeen last Saturday, so we need to be ready to face them.” 

Pirates put up a gutsy performance last Sunday against the Solway Sharks, and will be hoping that two similar displays over both nights will allow them to progress to the next stage of the competition. After a few average home displays in recent weeks, the last few home games have shown some signs of better things returning, and they will be hoping to see more improvement at the weekend.


In spite of the final score, this was another improved performance by Pirates against a team of semi-professional players, with Sharks’ import Heiskanen making a major difference to the outcome with no fewer than five goals in an entertaining game.


Pirates competed well with their opponents in the opening session and actually went ahead after two minutes on the powerplay as Spiers deflected a slapshot from Hamilton behind Johnston for the opener. Sharks came back within a few minutes and were level when Gapa scored, but Pirates responded in style and were back in front half a minute later as Harju broke down the left wing and flicked the puck beyond Johnston again to restore his team’s narrow advantage. This caused the Sharks to up the tempo as they levelled through the first of Haiskanen’s goals at the halfway point and Horne beat Morris before the flying Finn netted his second in the space of a minute to put the visitors 4-2 ahead at the first interval.

Pirates continued to put up a fight in the second session, although they were minus several key players, and made it a one goal game before the 25th minute as a flowing move involving  Huber and Andreucci finished with Kenneth netting to make it 4-3. Henderson replied for the visitors before the halfway point to stretch the lead to two, before a quickfire double by Haiskanen and Houston took the score to 7-3 and probably ended in lingering hopes of an upset, taking the Sharks to 7-3 by the second break.

The home side continued to battle in the final session but could not match the clinical finishing of their opponents, as Haiskanen rounded off the scoring with a double in the final twenty minutes, to take the final score to 9-3, perhaps not an undeserved margin at the end, but maybe leaving Pirates feeling the final margin was somewhat unflattering in view of their efforts over the 60 minutes.

Pirates’ player/coach Adam Walker said after the match,*The boys battled hard and certainly put in the effort, but we’re still a bit away from where we want to be.”

Pirates next play Kirkcaldy Kestrels in a Scottish Cup quarter final (second leg) tie next Sunday at 4.30pm at Braehead, having played the first leg in Fife 24 hours earlier.


A seven-year-old boy amazed shoppers at intu Braehead with a virtuoso display on a piano that’s been placed in the mall.


Youngster Nathan Lee was described as a “genius” after he climbed on to the stool at the piano and gave people an impromptu mini-concert.

A crowd gathered around the piano in the upper mall between Marks and Spencer and Café Nero and gave Nathan a round of applause after a faultless, performance of Mozart’s Turkish March; Flight of the Bumblebee, by Rimsky Korsakov and the more modern ballad, All of Me, by John Legend.

Amazingly, Nathan, from Glenburn, in Paisley has only been playing the piano and taking lessons for two years and his school friends at Glasgow Academy have already dubbed him King of the Piano.

The youngster was at intu Braehead with his mum and dad, Ning and Eddie, who runs the Kwang Tung Chinese restaurant, in Paisley. When Nathan started playing shoppers couldn’t believe how good he was and stopped to video the youngster.

When he finished people coming over to his parents to tell them how brilliant their son was on the piano.

One woman said: “That boy of yours – he’s a genius.”

Another man in the cafe told them: “That’s an amazing talent he has. I can’t believe he’s so young and can play the piano like that.”


A woman added: “I’ve never seen anything like it. The speed of his fingers going over the piano keys was mind-boggling and he’s so small his feet couldn’t even reach the ground when he was siting on the stool.”

Nathan’s dad Eddie said: “We don’t know where he gets the talent to play the piano from because neither his mum nor I are very musical.

“We noticed Nathan liked the piano because when he was younger every time he passed a piano he wanted to try to play it. We decided to get him lessons and it’s just gone on from there.

“After about a year having lessons we began to realise just how good he was, as he was then able to play full tunes and he sounded great.

“At the start, nobody at his school knew he could play piano, but at the end of Primary One when all the children were to perform something, Nathan said he would play the piano.

“That’s when we got a phone call from his teacher to say everybody was stunned how good he was. And then the older pupils started calling him King of the piano. We’re really proud of him.”

Eddie added: “We don’t know if he’ll go on to be a professional musician because although he can practise up to three hours some days, he says he wants to be a footballer when he grows up!”

Nathan’s piano teacher, Charles Dunn said: “Nathan has a rare musicality for his age and exciting potential. I also see a maturity in his playing, a remarkable enthusiasm and work ethic and he just loves performing

“He’s fantastic and I’m really proud of him.”

David Lyon, intu Braehead’s marketing manager said: “When Nathan started playing and our security staff saw the people stopping to listen to him play, word soon spread that there was an amazing boy playing the piano and everybody has been talking about him.

“We always like to bring a little fun and entertainment for visitors to intu Braehead and the piano that’s in the mall is self-playing, as well as being able to be played normally. Nathan is an amazing talent and the shoppers loved him.”


MARGARET Calderwood used to make a five-hour round trip bus journey to visit her favourite fashion store, Joules, in St Andrews, Fife.


But now she’s delighted as the 65-year-old can now WALK from her home in Renfrew to the newly-opened Joules store at intu Braehead.

Margaret yesterday (Wednesday July 27) queued for more than an hour outside the store in the upper mall to make sure she was the first customer through the doors when the fashion retailer opened at 10am.

Around 50 people were also waiting for the store to open and Margaret was rewarded with a £200 Joules gift card, as the next four customers were given a £100 gift card with a £50 gift card going to the next 15 customers.


Margaret said: “I’m a big fan of Joules and I love the clothes they sell. I’ve been buying from them for years.

“I used to travel by bus to their store in St Andrew’s to buy clothes and outfits because I like their fashion styles and the quality of what they sell.

“It’s amazing they have now opened at intu Braehead because that’s not far from where I live and I can now walk to the centre and visit the Joules store. Since they’re so close I’ll be visiting them more often now.”

The intu Braehead Joules is the company’s second standalone store in Scotland.

Andrea Gray, Chief Retail Officer at Joules said: “We’re excited to be strengthening our presence in Scotland and we know intu Braehead is exactly the right place for us to be.”

Marketing manager at intu Braehead, David Lyon said: “Well done to Margaret for being first customer through the doors of the new Joules store.

“And it’s great to hear she won’t need to make such a trek to visit her favourite fashion retailer.

Joules is a fantastic addition to the wide mix of retail brands we already have at intu Braehead. It will certainly appeal to our style-conscious shoppers.”


Pirates suffered the massive disappointment of losing in overtime after a thriller of a game had finished 4-4 in the regulation sixty minutes.

paisley pirates

In a tight opening session, neither side was able to find their way to the net, although the home side came closest to doing so as they twice struck the post in the space of thirty seconds, thus resulting in a blank scoreline at the end of twenty minutes.

The second period began with a bang, as Pirates took the lead after only 26 seconds, Thorp bundling the puck over the line for the opener. Within four minutes it was 2-0, as Henderson and Thorp combined with Abercrombie to give the latter a straightforward job to beat Maliinson and double the advantage. Back came the Tigers, however, as first McLeod and then McIntosh pulled the visitors right back into the game at 2-2 by the second break, setting up a nail biter for the final twenty minutes.

Both teams set out for the go ahead goal in the final session but Pirates were continuing to incur the wrath of referee Elliott and were obliged to kill off a number of penalties as they had done throughout the game, which broke their momentum at crucial periods. They suffered a heavy blow after 44 minutes when player/coach Walker took no less than 14 minutes in penalties after querying a call made by the official, but they still managed to take the lead after 50 minutes as Blair smashed a shot beyond Mallinson for 3-2. Tigers were level again through a powerplay goal from Paul Henderson within two minutes, but half a minute later Pirates were in front again through Wallace. With 20 seconds to go Tigers pulled Mallinson for the extra skater and the move paid immediate dividends as Guilcher scored straight from a face off to tie the scores again.

With the match going into 3 on 3 sudden death overtime, Tigers got the crucial winner, after another disputed call, to send them home with the extra point.

Head Coach Ian Turley said after the game, “I very rarely comment on referees as they have a difficult job but tonight I felt we suffered from big calls which were either not made, or went against us. When you’re playing 3 on 3 and you don’t get a call for a clear penalty it can leave you out of position and that cost us dear tonight. I thought we played better than in the last few weeks and the crowd certainly made a difference as the noise level was noticeably louder.”

Pirates next home match is against Solway Sharks this Sunday at Braehead Arena, face off 4.30pm.