Community Affairs

Kippen Playgroup

Kippen Playgroup is back after a very enjoyable summer break and ready to educate and inspire Kippen’s youngest residents once again.  We are committed to being outdoors with the children as much as possible; not only because being in the fresh air, sunlight and natural environment results in happier, stronger children, but also because there is a multitude of learning experiences that are enhanced by being in the freedom of the great outdoors.

As you can imagine there are loads of physical benefits from learning outside, chiefly increased stamina and fitness, improvements in gross and fine motor skills and even stronger eyesight! Socially, the children develop by sharing tools and working together, which allows for a strengthening of bonds and ties within their peer group.  The sensory experience of being outdoors in the woods also helps promote language, which in turn develops a child’s selfesteem.  Through play the children experiment, solve problems and are encouraged to think creatively, which in turn nurtures their confidence, determination and self-awareness.

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Obviously outdoor learning comes with some managed risks, but as Roald Dahl once said, “The more risks you allow children to take, the better they learn to take care of themselves”. Everything the children do in Kippen’s nature Playgroup is risk assessed by our wonderful Play Leaders Heidi and Pam, but as they are out in the natural environment, they are not entirely risk free.  The benefits are that the children learn to identify risks and hazards and how to deal with them, again boosting confidence and self-esteem.

The best thing about learning outdoors for the children is that it’s exciting!  Whether it’s bugs under a tree stump, baby ducks, puddles or sticks, pre-schoolers find joy in everything, rain wind or shine!  Hopefully a love of the environment and a respect for everything in it will prevail and these budding little scientists will save us all from our impending environmental apocalypse!! For now, though, because they have such a high level of interest in all the exciting things they’re doing outdoors, it leads to greater concentration and motivation, which for the most part cannot be replicated in an indoors setting.

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This week alone our children were dragon slayers, rescuers of stray ladybirds and bramble monsters.  They found monkeys on a bridge, made doors for fairies, swung on the hammock and made a ‘jail train’. They then retired for hot chocolate round the fire pit after all their adventures.  Doesn’t that sound like fun?  If you think your little one is a prospective dragon slayer/bramble monster, then you’re in luck!  We currently have spaces for children on a Tuesday and a Friday (9:30-12pm) so if you would like to arrange a taster session for your little one (2-5 years old) then please get in touch with Heidi via kippenplaygroup@gmail.com

Kippen Toddlers is on every Thursday (10:15 – 12pm) in the village hall.  Come and join us with your new-born, baby or toddler and meet some other mums and carers from the area.  There are plenty of toys and games to entertain the little ones and we provide tea and cake for us bigger ones!

Suzanne Currie