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Stirling childminders win award for pioneering childminding project

Childminders in Stirling have won an award for a pioneering project – which tackles obesity in youngsters.

Twenty childminders, along with more than 90 kids, took part in a range of outdoor activities to win the Natural Health prize.

Activities included visits to parks and wooded areas, along with bug hunts, playing hide and seek, and walking 1,000 steps.

Recent figures show more than a fifth of Primary 1 kids are obese or overweight.

Elaine Cochrane, NHS Forth Valley Health Promotion Officer, said: “Childminders can play an important role in increasing children’s physical and mental wellbeing by developing and nurturing an interest and love of nature. Not only does this improve their health now, but also their future health, as healthy habits learned early on will stay with children in later life. The Natural Health Award also recognises the growing evidence of the beneficial effects which spending time outside has on our overall mental health and wellbeing.”

Lynne Murray, Quality Improvement Officer from Scottish Childminding Association (SCMA) said: “Outdoor play has huge benefits on the learning, development and overall wellbeing of children – and we also know childminders are ideally placed to offer a wide range of outdoor activities. 

“The flexible, nurturing home-based nature of childminding allows more quality time to be spent outdoors, which is more important than ever. Children can play with more freedom; learning through play, stimulating their senses, being active and exploring their ever-changing surroundings.

“New environments and encouragement from childminders to explore and be active has a very positive impact on their health, overall wellbeing and their future – helping them be the best they can be.” 

Caroline Stuart, a childminder in Stirling, said: “A childminder can offer a child so many different experiences and opportunities in their daily routine. This National Health Award has been a great project to be a part of, giving both the childminder and their minded children something to work towards whilst learning and most importantly having fun outdoors.

“The wellbeing of the children in my care is paramount and this award encompasses their physical and mental wellbeing as well as their development. Involving the families with the award has also promoted a healthy wellbeing for them too and it was very well received.”

The childminders involved in the very first Scottish pilot were recently presented with their awards at a special event in Stirling. The pilot scheme is now being evaluated and organisers hope it can be extended across Forth Valley.  

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