The following press release was issued today.

A new project is encouraging parents with their children aged 2-5 from South-West Edinburgh to have fun and learn about their local environment using gardening and outdoor play.   Drop-in sessions with the Nature Play and Gardening Group for Tweenies are now running at the RoyalEdinburghCommunityGardens on Myreside Road every Tuesday during school term time from 10 am to 12.30 pm.

Community Service Volunteers (CSV) is  supporting the project through a £250 grant for gardening tools and equipment , and Margon van Tuyl who is leading the project hopes to see lots of budding gardeners getting their hands dirty.  She said “This equipment has really made a difference: the kids love the child-sized wheelbarrows and you can see their confidence grow as they explore more areas of the gardens.  Getting young children interested in gardening and nature play through Forest School type activities will encourage the gardeners and conservationists of tomorrow.”

Feedback from parents has been positive “My little girl particularly loves the ladder swing and the hammock, and climbing the tree with her friends!”  Another parent says “I thoroughly enjoy seeing my toddler exploring his surroundings, raking, collecting leaves, running around with other children, getting muddy, all things that are normally not that easy to do when living in a city”.  The project is all about enjoyment of the outdoors, making new friends and spending time with like minded people.  Both parents and toddlers appear to benefit from this unique project.

Sue McKendrick, chair of Shandon Local Food Group, said “We successfully piloted three Nature Play and Gardening for Tweenies sessions during the summer holidays and were delighted with Margon’s enthusiasm to lead further regular sessions.  We have added a page to our website to give updates on what they have been doing.

Hillary Vipond, the Development Officer at the CommunityGardens said “It is such a joy to see the young children enjoying the gardens – the project is excellent. The ethos of the community gardens has always been to include groups from across our community, but this is the first time we have had activities aimed at pre-school children and their parents.”

The funding for the project is part of a six-month campaign organised by CSV Action Earth on behalf of Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH).  The wider SNH funding will see 170 projects funded across Scotland with grants of up to £500 each.  The funding is targeted particularly at group-based projects which help support and encourage volunteer activity through practical environmental projects.

If you are keen for your pre-school child to have some hands-on educational fun at the Community Gardens, contact Margon margon.van-tuyl@virgin.net


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