En­joy­ing the great out­doors

Kids ben­e­fit from change of scene

Stirling Observer - - FRONT PAGE - Kaiya Mar­jorib­anks

A new ini­tia­tive in Stir­ling nurs­eries is im­prov­ing the health and well­be­ing of chil­dren and bring­ing com­mu­ni­ties to­gether.

Since Au­gust last year, nurs­eries across the area have been us­ing their out­door en­vi­ron­ment.

Chil­dren are ben­e­fit­ing from more time play­ing and learn­ing out­side, with some grow­ing and sell­ing veg­eta­bles, cre­at­ing ‘bug ho­tels’ and even toast­ing marsh­mal­lows on camp­fires.

For six months each nurs­ery has been im­ple­ment­ing ‘loose parts play’ into their cur­ricu­lum .

This can in­clude nat­u­ral re­sources like straw, mud and pine cones; planks and other build­ing ma­te­ri­als; scrap such as old tyres, and other ran­dom ob­jects.

Or­gan­is­ers claim the ma­te­ri­als of­fer “lim­it­less pos­si­bil­i­ties” for play and learn­ing, en­cour­ag­ing chil­dren to use their imag­i­na­tion and build­ing their re­silience.

Bal­fron Nurs­ery se­nior teacher Sa­man­tha Hobkirk, said: “We’ve been de­vel­op­ing a ‘Fairy Gar­den’ with the con­struc­tion stu­dents at Forth Val­ley Col­lege and are busy work­ing in part­ner­ship with In­cred­i­ble Ed­i­ble Bal­fron.

“Last year lo­cal com­mu­nity groups and par­ents came to­gether to build sev­eral new raised flower beds for the nurs­ery poly­tun­nel, and the chil­dren have since grown a range of fruit and veg­eta­bles such as broc­coli, straw­ber­ries and pump­kins.

“The chil­dren have been in­volved through­out the en­tire process - from plant­ing the seed, to har­vest­ing and cook­ing – and do­nated their home­grown to­mato soup to In­cred­i­ble Ed­i­ble’s lo­cal har­vest fes­ti­val.”

Ed­u­ca­tion de­vel­op­ment of­fi­cer Carolyn Love said: “Stir­ling Coun­cil are ahead of the game when it comes to out­door health and well­be­ing in early years set­tings.

“Stir­ling is the home of the Daily Mile, which many of our schools and nurs­eries im­ple­ment, and we are ded­i­cated to pro­vid­ing high qual­ity out­door learn­ing ex­pe­ri­ences.

“Our nurs­eries have proven that ac­cess to the out­doors isn’t de­pen­dant on post­code, as both ru­ral and ur­ban fa­cil­i­ties have cre­ated their own out­door learn­ing ar­eas.

“By en­gag­ing busi­nesses and fam­i­lies in their projects, our nurs­ery staff are in­volv­ing en­tire com­mu­ni­ties in chil­dren’s learn­ing, which has em­pow­ered chil­dren to de­velop their re­silience and prob­lem solv­ing skills.”

Out of doors Chil­dren at play at Bal­fron Nurs­ery

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