New nursery is a class above

Published: Monday 1 March 2021

A woman in a yellow dress stands to the left of a chalkboard to the right of it there is a second woman in a paisley pattern dress. They are standing in the outdoor play area at Rooftop ELC East Kkilbride

A former pub is open to a new generation after conversion to a nursery with an outdoor play area on the roof of EK Town Centre.

Sitting above the ice rink at The HUB EK Rooftop Early Learning and Childcare (ELC) is truly at the heart of East Kilbride.

Designing the new nursery was not so much a case of thinking outside the box as thinking outside the building. Rooftop ELC’s huge main room, and a smaller second room for younger children, open directly onto an extensive and entirely new roof garden that has turned a previously unused area into a fantastic safe space for children to play and learn.

Rooftop ELC’s Head of Establishment Angela Roxburgh says her team are on a high: “We are all absolutely raring to go and cannot believe what an incredible job has been done in creating our nursery and giving the children such amazing spaces in and out of doors.”

In addition to Angela, Rooftop ELC will employ 17 Early Years staff including a Nursery Teacher. There will also be a full time cook on hand to prepare a range of healthy meals and snacks.

The nursery has capacity for up to 104 children aged 3-5 years and 10 children aged 2-3 years.

Angela said: “The location is absolutely brilliant being in the town centre and handy for the bus and train stations means we can offer a new option that will be really accessible to families from across East Kilbride and to town centre workers.

“We are really looking forward to working with our next door neighbours in East Kilbride Central Library and throughout the town centre, I think we will be able to develop some brilliant partnerships to support and encourage all the children who come to Rooftop ELC.”

Councillor Katy Loudon, Chair of the council's Education Resources Committee, said: “First and foremost Rooftop ELC, as with the rest of our nursery expansion programme, is about delivering the best quality early years and childcare for South Lanarkshire’s children and ensuring families are offered a wide range of choices so they can access the one that best suits their circumstances.

“I am particularly pleased that with Rooftop ELC we have also been able to invest in East Kilbride Town Centre by developing this new facility at The Hub EK.” 

Head of Education Lynn Sherry said: “The idea of a Rooftop Nursery originated from discussions with the owners of East Kilbride Town Centre  on ways of sustaining and regenerating the Town Centre. The Shopping Centre provides a perfect central location for a nursery which serves the whole of area. The location is convenient for parents and will also enhance footfall within the Shopping Centre, helping to sustain its viability.

“One of the main design issues to be overcome was the registration requirement to have a sizable outdoor area for children to play and learn which could be directly accessed from the playrooms. The precise location of the nursery within the Centre was finally determined by the ability to access the roof as an outdoor play area at this location. It provides a unique external play area which is safe, expansive and allows good views over the town. It helps to bring children into the heart of the East Kilbride community.”

Rooftop ELC is one of three new South Lanarkshire Council nurseries opening this year in the East Kilbride area, part of a major expansion of provision. Avondale ELC in Strathaven and Kilbryde ELC in East Kilbride are both due to open in the coming weeks.

Increased capacity in nursery classes in local primary schools has also added to the choices available with Mount Cameron Primary and Murray Primary opening additional places in November last year.

By August South Lanarkshire Council will offer a total of 20 standalone nurseries and 64 nursery classes.

The council also works with partnership providers to give more choice for early learning and childcare provision. There are now a total of 111 private nurseries, playgroups and childminders listed as partnership providers on South Lanarkshire Council’s early years webpages.

Families have a wide range of options to choose from when choosing their funded childcare including term-time nursery, 52 week provision, extended hours and additional support provision.

Rooftop ELC can be contacted directly for enquiries about places by email or calling 01355 222066.