Visitors to a celebratory exhibition at Eyemouth Museum this week can see some familiar faces from the region’s longest-running nursery over its forty-year history.
To celebrate its 40th anniversary, Seashells Nursery in Eyemouth has put together an exhibition of photographs, artwork and stories illustrating the centre’s history, from its origins as a playgroup 40 years ago, to the first-class facility that exists today.
The exhibition reflects the changing face of Seashells, which is the longest running nursery in the Scottish Borders, and includes photographs of the children, previous staff, outings and other pieces of interest.
Seashells Nursery is embedded in Eyemouth’s history, with many of the town’s residents having passed through it in their early years. Now faces past and present can be seen among the collection of mementos.
Nursery administrator Elaine Peakman said: “We sent out questionnaires to the various play leaders who have been at the nursery over the years, asking for their thoughts and memories, and we’ve got lots of archive photos that have been handed in showing different aspects of Seashells life over the years.
“Come and see if you can recognise yourself in the gallery of former pupils!”
Current pupils visited the exhibition along with South of Scotland MSP Paul Wheelhouse, who said he was delighted to help Seashells celebrate its 40th anniversary.
“Seashells Nursery is recognised as a very valuable asset to the people of Eyemouth and the surrounding area,” Mr Wheelhouse said. “Let us not underestimate the achievement that 40 years of service represents.
“It is a testament to the staff and management, as well as parent volunteers and those who have supported fundraising events, that Seashells is thriving today.”
As a parent of a former pupil of Seashells, Mr Wheelhouse said he knew first-hand what tremendous care the staff took of his own son. “He very much enjoyed his time at nursery and flourished there,” he said.
“What was particularly beneficial was that he attended alongside a number of other pupils from the Ayton Primary catchment and, because the nursery had developed a very close working relationship with Ayton Primary School, this very much eased my son’s transition when he entered Primary 1.”
He added: “I am personally very grateful to the staff at Seashells and I wish them every success over the next 40 years of what has been an excellent service to the local community.”
Seashells is still going strong four decades after a group of parents set up the facility in 1971 - then called Eyemouth Playgroup - because there was no alternative service at the time.
Over the last 40 years the nursery has developed into the pre-school/daycare educational setting that it is today, providing the same service as any nursery set in a primary school. It regularly receives high standard awards from the Care Commission, as well as high praise from the parents and carers who use the service. The last Care Commission inspection (in September 2010) rated the Quality of Care and the Quality of Environment at Seashells as ‘very good’.
The exhibition illustrating Seashells Nursery’s 40-year history will be on display at the Eyemouth Museum until the middle of July.