“a special place where we play, learn and grow together”




31st October 2020

Dear Parents/Carers,
Below is the latest government guidance on unregulated groups opening up within the Tier 3 category. You will see that numbers are restricted to 10 including adults, so unfortunately, we will still be unable to open our Playgroup, and it looks unlikely this will change before Christmas. One option we are considering is opening as a fully outdoor Playgroup possibly from February onward (hoping that the weather may become more suitable). Please can you let us know if this would be an option you would consider by contacting Fiona via email or text message on the number below.

Where we are now

Recognising the particular needs of babies and infants, this guidance now sets out the maximum number of adults who can attend indoor parent and baby groups and associated organised activities at any one time.  As of 5 October and subject to content of this guidance and the following conditions being met, the maximum number of adults who can attend has been set to 10.  
The number of people who can take part in indoor (and outdoor) organised activity for children and young people, that is unregulated, at any one time has also been updated, including referencing to households and appropriate physical distancing measures. Under 12’s are included in household numbers both indoor and outdoor, and number of people allowed indoors at any one time. -
We know this will be as disappointing to you as it is to us as a team and we will continue to monitor Government advice and will be in touch with you when we are able to reopen. Please do not hesitate to get in contact with Fiona (07795361752) if you require any more information.

Best wishes
Fiona, June, Heather and Gloria


Pauline Forster our Family and Children's Worker is happy to give further details or sign-up your child.
(See the Handbook below for further information)
Tel: 07764741978


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15 places will be available each day on a Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.
A child may be enrolled for any number of days per week. (We will provide dates when you start)
We have 3 qualified members of staff and 1 church volunteer who helps with our admin. 
Playgroup Hours:      9:30 a.m. - 11:25 a.m.


A fee of £8.50 per Playgroup Session per child will be charged. Fees will be invoiced in advance for a Playgroup Block. A Playgroup Block will be 6 or 7 weeks (for invoicing procedures and Block dates see separate information sheet). Payment must be made within 7 days of receipt of invoice.Failure to pay by this deadline may result in the child’s place being withdrawn and offered to another child on the waiting list.


In keeping with the care and character of the Lord Jesus Christ, Maxwell Mearns Castle Church Playgroup seeks to:
  • Provide a safe and stimulating environment for promoting learning through play for children.
  • Provide encouragement in the emotional, social, physical, creative, intellectual and spiritual development of each child.
  • Provide opportunities to welcome the children and their guardians into the fuller community of Maxwell Mearns Castle Church.
  • Equip the children for nursery and provide a firm foundation for future life

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When your child starts Playgroup it is important that they are given time to settle into their new environment.  On their first day we recommend that you stay with your child for the full session, you will not be charged for this session. Depending on your child we will then discuss a suitable settling plan. Ideally a parent, relative or friend can stay with the child until they are familiar with their new surroundings.  At first the adult will leave the child for a short time only and be close at hand; then if the child is settling the time will be extended each day until the child can be left for the whole session. You are most welcome to stay with your child at any time.
Every child is an individual and some take longer than others to settle.  The settling procedure is very important and ensures that your child is happy and secure at Playgroup.




If your child is going to be absent from playgroup for any reason, please let us know by phoning the playgroup by 9.30 a.m.




An adult must take your child into the playroom, where the staff will take the daily register.
Please take your child to the toilet on the premises before he/she comes into the Playroom.
Parents must inform the staff if anyone else is collecting their child.


ACTIVE PLAY                                      

Much of your child’s learning will be through play. The children will be offered a wide range of activities each with an underlying educational purpose.
Play allows children to explore a variety of experiences in a secure environment.
Play provides an enjoyable way of learning, and should be seen as a means of teaching and learning rather than being simply something that children do.

Through activity based learning the brain and body are stimulated and active providing pleasure and enjoyment which in turn motivates children to further their learning by persevering, overcoming difficulties and concentrating for longer periods of time. Learning through play also helps build confidence in themselves and their abilities and allows the child to tackle new experiences in a non-threatening situation. It can provide an escape, relieve boredom, allow for relaxation, and the opportunity for solitude.


Activity based learning helps the child to judge the many variables within social interaction and develop perceptions about other people. Skills can be practised and repeated as many times as is necessary for confidence and mastery.

Opportunity for sensory experiences which are the foundation of intellectual development is provided. Play creates context for language development.


Experiences are planned taking into account previous learning, and are extended to accommodate the needs of individual children. Staff will intervene where appropriate to enhance this learning experience. Playgroup staff will observe, monitor and evaluate each child’s learning and this information will contribute towards future planning. We encourage the children to experience a wide range of activities and this will included the celebrations of Christmas, Easter and Harvest Thanksgiving.


In our Playgroup, active learning is seen as an appropriate way for children to develop vital skills and knowledge and a positive attitude to learning and life!

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Please dress your child in comfortable clothing for play at Playgroup. Some children and parents become distressed when good clothes get messy, so please bear this in mind when dressing your child.
Soft shoes/slippers are required for indoor play, but please leave coats, outdoor shoes etc, on the coat rack in case we go outside. We have a policy that whenever possible, staff will take the children outside. Please make sure your child brings adequate clothing for all weathers.
Footwear should be easy to get on and off. Please make sure that all children’s shoes and jackets are clearly labelled. Please also dress your child in such a way that it is easy for them to go to the toilet themselves (no complicated fastenings please). If your child is not toilet trained, please provide pull ups or nappies, wipes and nappy sacks and leave on your child’s peg. Please leave a change of clothing for little ‘accidents’ during painting, wet play or toileting.
Using a small proportion of the fees, we aim to provide a snack with a drink each morning. We have a healthy eating policy. Sometimes we shall include foods which are unfamiliar to the children. If your child has any food intolerances or allergies, please inform staff.

Please feel free to speak with the staff about any of our policies including Child Protection, Equal Opportunities, Admissions, complaints etc. 
On request.
We adhere strictly to the Policy for Child Protection adopted by the Church of Scotland. Each staff member has been screened successfully through PVG checks.
If you have any child protection concerns, please speak to the Playgroup Coordinator, Fiona Waugh or phone East Renfrewshire Council's Duty Social worker on 0141 577 8300 during office hours or 0800 811505 out of office hours.
We aim to support children with additional needs. The staff will endeavour to make relevant and appropriate resources available to enable each child opportunity to progress and develop.

We welcome your presence at playgroup at all times. Please feel free to spend time in the playgroup and become involved with your child’s learning. However, to ensure the smooth running of the session it would be helpful if you could indicate in advance if you plan to spend time in the playgroup. We encourage parents to comment on the running of our playgroup, and hope that you feel you can help us with future planning.

- We love Maxwell Mearns Playgroup! Everyone is so welcoming and caring and the children are all so happy!
- We are delighted with everything and so happy to be able to come here every day.
- Parents are allowed to stay for as long as necessary to settle their child.
- I felt that during the settling phase everyone went out of their way to make both my child and me welcome. No pressure to leave my child and allowed extra days if required to settle.
- They are always the same with happy and smiling faces and a warmth towards the children that you can actually feel.
- My child loves to go - runs in. Asks to go when it's not his day. Loves messy play and outdoor play.

From time to time we shall invite visitors to come and talk with the children about their different roles in our community. As a Church Playgroup the minister from Maxwell Mearns Castle Church will visit regularly getting to know the children and them him. Parents and family members are welcome to contribute their skills - please don’t be shy!  We regularly welcome students from Mearns Castle High School to the playgroup as part of their Community Involvement requirements.
Exceptional circumstances may force the Playgroup to be closed (severe weather, power failure etc). We shall notify you as soon as possible with all relevant details.
When you enrol your child you will be asked to provide us with the name, address and telephone number of 2 contacts in case of emergency. It is essential that this information be kept up to date, as we need to contact you should your child become ill while at Playgroup.
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You will be informed on collection of your child, of any minor
Incidents / accidents in which he / she may have been involved. Such rare incidents are also recorded in our accident/incident forms, which you will be required to sign, and you will be given a copy.
The Playgroup follows NHS guidelines for the prevention of infectious illness. It is very important parents do not bring sick children to the Playgroup. At this age they are very vulnerable to infection. This is a quote from the Playgroup’s Health and Safety Policy, which can be read in full on request. 
• Parents are asked to keep their children at home if they have an infection
• Parents are asked to inform the Playgroup of the nature of the infection
This allows us to inform other parents if necessary and monitor the other children who might be unwell.
If a child has been vomiting or had diarrhoea, parents are asked to keep the child at home for at least 48 hours after the last attack. The following guidelines are minimum periods of exclusion – the doctor in attendance in some cases, may desire longer exclusions.
Head Lice Until treated and clear from infection.
Impetigo – 48 hours after starting antibiotic treatment.
Chicken Pox - 10 days from onset of rash.
Measles - 4 days from onset of rash.
Rubella - 4 days from onset of rash.
Mumps - until swelling has subsided, but not less than 7 days from onset of symptoms.
The National Care Standards state that children must be cared for in an environment that is safe and hygienic, that all play equipment must be kept clean, and that staff must take care to control the spread of infection. We shall follow the procedures set out in the Infection Control Guidance for the pre-school setting document which was issued in December 2004 by NHS Highland. This document can be viewed on request.
Some children may require medication in order that they can continue to attend Playgroup. Parents are kindly requested to note that:

  • A child may only take medication (including nonprescription) if the parent/guardian has given written permission.

  • Only medication which has been labelled with child’s name and instructions can be stored in the Playgroup.

  • Only medication supplied by the parent or guardian will be administered to the child.

  • Children will take medication only when supervised by an adult

  • Parents should deliver the medication to the Playgroup. Medication must be in original packaging with instructions. 

On occasion we would like to take children out of Playgroup for walks around the local area to further extend their learning experiences. At the beginning of the session you will be asked to sign a consent form to cover all local visits. For excursions further afield, we will always request your permission prior to the outing. We may take photographs of various activities in the Playgroup. These photographs may be displayed in the Playgroup and may from time to time appear on the Church web site. You will be asked to sign a consent form for this.
We are always anxious to maintain and improve our Playgroup. If you have any suggestions to make about the Playgroup please speak with the Playgroup Coordinator in the first instance.
Should you feel you wish to raise a complaint concerning Maxwell Mearns Castle Playgroup, these are the steps to take:
Speak directly to the Playgroup Coordinator.
Should you not be satisfied with her response, please put your complaint in writing to:
Rev. Dr. Scott Kirkland
Maxwell Mearns Castle Church
Waterfoot Road
Newton Mearns
G77 5RE
We will ensure that any complaint is fully investigated and will, within 28 days, inform you of the action (if any) to be taken.

If you would like further information on the Playroup or enquire about availability of places,  contact the Church office or email

Murray McNicol, 21/12/2019