Community Affairs

Kippen Playgroup and Toddlers

Kippen Playgroup and Toddlers has had a great start to 2017 with surging numbers at Toddlers, a positive inspection from the Care Inspectorate and happy, thriving children walking out of Playgroup sessions every week.

The children at Playgroup have been busy cooking up a storm: making pancakes for Shrove Tuesday, Welsh cakes for St David’s Day and noodles to bring in the Chinese Year of the Rooster.  St Patrick’s day saw them dancing a jig, and in a nod to the Bard they created effigies of the lesser spotted haggis; which we’re sure still adorn many a mantelpiece around the village…!

Aside from all these fun activities, the emphasis at Kippen Playgroup is always on play.  Our fully qualified Play Leaders, Jane and Pam, know that by offering plenty of opportunities for self-directed play, the children are given the best environment for learning.  By focussing on their interests and ideas, our staff can stimulate and extend learning while the children are having great fun!

Most recently, pirates and construction have been the order of the day; interspersed with plenty of puzzles, drawing, books, toys and the climbing frame of course.

The benefits of outdoor play to a child’s development are massive, so at Kippen Playgroup the kids play outside in our sensory garden almost every session: rain, snow or shine.  Rather unsurprisingly everyone gets especially enthusiastic about the messy play; digging about in the gravel and filling and emptying receptacles with water never goes out of fashion.  But there’s so much more to it than getting mucky in the fresh air.  They don’t realise it, but even their eyes are getting a work out.

Indoors, horizons are fixed and lighting is mostly artificial, whereas outside their eyes have to adjust to distant horizons, shifting shadows and bright sunlight…sometimes!

Children who have the chance to play outdoors benefit from better coordination too.  Indoors they may have to deal with tripping over a toy or falling on the stairs, but on the whole it’s fairly unchallenging for little feet.  Outside they have to contend with slippy surfaces, bumpy surfaces, smooth ones, wet ones, muddy ones, slopes, steps, and everything in between.  Negotiating these allow children to build and adapt leg and foot muscles, as well as making them think about where they are putting their feet!  All great for coordination and confidence.

Our recent inspection by the Care Inspectorate was very positive; with staff awarded excellent, the highest possible rating, for their responsiveness to the children’s needs and creating an engaging environment that allowed for positive play and learning.  Kippen playgroup has been running for nearly 40 years and we are incredibly proud that this important resource is thriving and producing another generation of happy, confident Kippen youngsters.

During term time we run two Playgroup sessions per week: Tuesdays and Fridays 9:30-12pm.  Two years to pre-school welcome.  If you would like to enquire about a place for your child, please contact Jane Bain via

Lambing season is upon us again, and every year Rebecca and Duncan McEwan of Arnprior Farm kindly invite Playgroup and Toddlers down to meet some of the new, very cute, additions.  This is absolutely one of the highlights of the year for the children; there is categorically nothing better than stomping about a farm, in the mud, getting up close to the lambs and then maybe ogling some tractors!

Our Toddlers’ group has been going from strength to strength with a growing number of Mums, Dads, Grans and Grandads seeking out tea, cake and company…and perhaps a sympathetic ear!  For the kids, this is the perfect place for the older ones to run off steam; the slightly younger ones to learn the ropes from their elders(!), and for the babies to have a safe introduction to a play setting.

We meet at the village hall every Thursday throughout the year, 10:15-12pm, and we welcome little ones from birth to pre-school.  Just drop in!

Suzanne Currie