Bardykes Farm Nursery: a day in the life

Bardykes Farm Nursery: Summer Club

Bardykes Farm Nursery in Blantyre was opened in 1991 by Ailsa Wilkie on what was ‘Wilkie of Blantyre’ dairy farm (aka Wilkie’s Milk).

The farm was started by Peter Wilkie and continued by his son Sandy until it was sold to Wiseman Dairies.

The current owner/manager of the nursery is Kimberley Wilkie, Ailsa and Sandy’s daughter.

colour photograph of a toddler and teacher reading a story in a nursery school
Kimberley reading a story to my daughter, S

My eldest daughter B has been going to Bardykes Farm Nursery for nearly 2 years and her wee sister S has started just recently. In fact the days I was shooting served as her induction! 

It was an interesting experience working when my girls were there as I’d never worked while they were around. 

It was also more than a bit annoying to see them eating food at nursery that they wouldn’t eat at home!

colour photograph of children playing outside
My eldest daughter, B
colour photograph of a toddler playing outside
My youngest daughter, S

Having to keep working and leave the nursery staff to go to S when she was crying was actually really hard to do. In the end though she didn’t ask for me at all!

I’ve seen a fair bit of the nursery when I’ve been picking up and dropping off the girls and I think it’s an amazing place for kids. I would have loved to be able to go somewhere like that when I was a boy. In fact I love going there now even though I’m in my 40s. 

I was delighted when I arranged with Kimberley to do a ‘day in the life of the nursery’ style shoot.

They’ve had photographers in to do staff head shots and formal portraits of the children but not for natural images that show off the nursery itself and the natural behaviour of the children.

As it was in the middle of July I shot in the mornings of 2 consecutive Mondays to get the best light and avoid the hottest part of the day. 

Bardykes Farm Nursery has a real emphasis on outdoor play and learning and getting the children in touch with nature. 

The second of the two days was a bit overcast and drizzly which meant that I was able to capture the children in their brightly coloured and very photogenic waterproof suits.

The waterproof suits also meant that they were able to play with water in the nursery’s ‘secret garden’. The secret garden is where the children do most of their outdoor play but also learn about growing and harvesting their own food.

The class started with hunt for mini-beasts:

The nursery has several animals that the children are encouraged to help look after: guinea pigs, a hamster, a cat, two goldfish, ducks, geese, chickens and not to forget the horses: Rosie and Ruth. As yet no-one has been able to tell me which horse is which though.

In the spring, the nursery has lambs for the children to feed and help take care of too. I was lucky enough to be able to go in with the children to feed the lambs earlier this year.

Amazingly B has been able to to sit on one of the horses to try riding too! It really is a wonderful, unique place for children.

Being one of the parents at the nursery also meant that the children mostly knew who I was and ignored me (on the whole!). I was however asked by some of the older children if they could have a shot of my cameras. 

I have good insurance so I was happy to do this to see what the results were! A couple of the images they took were actually really good, which only slightly annoyed me;-)

Three of the older children who had been in the same nursery class for three years were about to start school soon after so it was lovely to be able to photograph them in the classroom and outdoors playing together.

I think that Bardykes Farm Nursery is a brilliant place and couldn’t rate the facilities or staff more highly. I love that my two girls go to such an amazing place to learn through play.