Lochinver ELC hunt for the perfect Christmas tree

The following blog post was submitted by the staff at Lochinver ELC: 


The fun and learning opportunities when you go searching for a Christmas tree are endless.

The children first had to think about where the tree would go and measure the space…. “with what?” Remembering the big number was tricky but it was the same height as Jane’s shoulders. Saws are sharp and dangerous but not our folding saw! Which tree to choose? Children learnt a new word “evergreen” and discovered some had “needles” not leaves. We even made up a new song!

Of course, when we returned, the tree was hung upside down the old traditional way!

Merry Christmas!

Click on the image below to watch a video of Lochinver’s Christmas Tree hunt! 

Have You Seen The Leaf monster? Autumn fun at Lochinver ELC

The abundance of autumn leaves blowing around at this time of year presents many fabulous and fun learning opportunities for children of all ages. Lochinver wanted to share some of their learning, developing their understanding about hibernation, using their imagination and creativity inspired through running around and making discoveries outdoors.

The children at Lochinver ELC have been chased through the woods and around and around the play area by the “leaf monster”!

Then it disappeared and no-one knew where it had gone, but how could people help when we didn’t know what the leaf monster looked like? The children contributed ideas about the monster and then created their own version using recycled and natural materials. The monster hid in the leaves amongst the hibernating hedgehogs! Shhh, do not disturb until spring!

– Amy and Jane, Lochinver ELC

Lochinver ELC and their commitment to helping the environment

The following blog article was submitted by Amy and Jane at Lochinver ELC.


Green Flag Success For Lochinver Early Learning Centre

Lochinver Early Learning Centre has received exciting news from Eco School Scotland. A second green flag has been awarded for all their eco school work over the last 2 years. This involved a lot of community co-operation with surveys and marine litter picks. So they would like to thank everyone and congratulate the now P1’s, P2’s and nursery children for all their hard work in helping to “save the world”!

Here is a quote from their assessment:

“We must commend you on your glitter campaign and the lengths you went to get the message out there. Your young people were so expressive and determined to change glitter usage practice in your authority. Well done in making that change happen. We were also extremely impressed with measuring techniques to raise the profile of your targets for your projects. It emphasises that small changes in our habits can make a remarkable transformation to achieve a sustainable environment.”

“Recycle – Use It Again”

Lochinver Early Learning Centre has 9 children enrolled this session including some younger 2-year-olds. They have already been out and about in the woods and making a lot of use of their outdoor space, despite the rain and wind. In fact, on sunny, dry days the children don’t find the outdoors as interesting and chose to spend more time inside – this bunch will be tough “Highlanders”!

The centre would like to thank Ken Fairchild who has come up trumps again and provided them with two up-cycled new outdoor storage bins and kindly collected an apple tree from Inverness to plant in the old leaky bin – nothing ever gets wasted!

The Latest News from Lochinver ELC – Litter Hotspot

The media recently highlighted pilots identifying litter hotspots around the coast and using aerial photography to identify litter on remote or un-accessible beaches.

The children of Lochinver Early Learning Centre don’t have planes or fancy cameras but, with a determination and stamina beyond their years, they discovered large amounts of litter on a cove rarely visited. With the help of volunteers, Ken Fairchild, Fiona Saywell, Sarah and Chantelle Farmer, they revisited the beach to try and clean up. This was extremely difficult! The rope and net has been there for several years and the vegetation had grown through.

Once bagged the question remained, how to transfer it from the shore? Harbour Master Joe MacKay and James Macaskill to the rescue! It took two trips with the boat to transfer all the rubbish, which included a large float.

Lochinver ELC would like to thank all those mentioned above for their help. Equally well done to the children of the ELC, you are superheroes!

Our Indoor Garden

The children have been busy this last term creating an indoor garden. Please have a look at our video to see how they have achieved this.

Press the image below to play the video!


Lochinver ELC – Glitter Campaign News Update

As part of Forest School, the older children recently completed another beach clean, this time at Badnaban. We had to work very hard and removed a large quantity of rope, net, plastic and 6 bin bags of smaller plastic rubbish from this very small stretch of beach. We would like to thank Susan Templeton for volunteering to help us on our mission to “Save the World!

Talks with Highland Council, to try and persuade Lochinver harbour to join KIMO fishing for litter initiative, have hit funding barriers. The KIMO scheme brings litter recovered from the sea back to shore and pays for it to be recycled. The skip at the pier is always full of cardboard, plastic, rope and net which goes to landfill. Some conscientious skippers sort their rubbish and this is then tipped into one skip! Surely there has to be a better way? We shall continue to badger officials.

We have also been taking our Glitter Campaign further. The poster designed by the children last autumn was distributed to schools across Highland. This asked schools to stop using plastic glitter and change to biodegradable glitter made of cellulose. Our poster depicted a goldfish bowl full of sea creatures and a hand sprinkling glitter on to the surface of the water saying “Would you feed glitter to your goldfish?” Our new slogan, “Glitter is just litter with a G”, (courtesy of our Chief Executive, Jaci Douglas), has been used in letters written to our MSP’s. We have asked the Scottish Government to consider 3 points:

  • Officially recognise glitter as a micro-bead.
  • Include glitter in the micro-bead ban, which came into force in January, thus stopping the sale and manufacture of plastic glitter.
  • Encourage everyone to use biodegradable alternatives for craft, cosmetics, paper etc

We received a reply from Kate Forbes MSP who has said she is going to write to Roseanna Cunningham, Cabinet Secretary for the Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform, and ask her to consider our three actions to help save our world. You can read Kate Forbes reply below:

Dear everyone,

Thank you very much for writing to me to explain about your campaign to highlight the damaging effects of glitter on our environment. 

The poster that you sent me is very colourful and gave a very strong message to everyone just how damaging flitter can be. I was very impressed with your slogan “After all, glitter is just litter with a ‘G'”, and your neat handwriting. 

I will write to the Cabinet Secretary for the Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform, Roseanna Cunningham, to ask her to consider your three actions to help save our world. I will write to you with the response she provides. 

Thank you so much for taking the time to write to me.

Yours sincerely, 

Kate Forbes MSP
Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch. 


Watch this space as Kate Forbes is going to let us know what Roseanna’s response is.

Our children want to change the habits of adults, Council and Government to ensure a healthy environment. We would like to say a big ‘thank you’ to everyone in our local community who took part in our surveys and if anyone would like to get involved in our mission, please contact staff at Lochinver ELC on 01571 844067 ([email protected]).

Written by Jane, Amy, Michele and the children of Lochinver Early Learning and Childcare Centre. 

The children of Lochinver Pre-school get their hands dirty

The children of Lochinver Pre-school have been getting their hands dirty doing a spot of gardening. They’ve been planting, watering, and taking care of different types of vegetables, like peas, carrots, and leeks. Along the way they’ve learnt about the different kinds of food that grow in the ground, how to help the plants grow and how composting works.

The Little Lochinver Litter Pickers win an award!

The following blog article was submitted by Jane, Amy, Michele at Lochinver Pre-school:

lochinver-award

When Nicola Turner from ‘Keep Scotland Beautiful’ visited Lochinver Early Learning Centre there was an extra surprise! She came to present the children with their certificate for the work they had completed with Wrigley’s Litter Less Campaign and being chosen as “Hero of The Month”. The children were presented with bags, gloves and a child sized litter grabber.

The extra surprise was being awarded another £175 for their Wrigley’s work! We were delighted to receive the extra money and hope to use it to fund the printing and postage of our “ban non-degradable glitter” poster which will be sent out to schools across Highland.


Learn more about the Wrigley’s Litter Less Campaign

All That Glitters Is Not Good

The following blog post was submitted by Jane Matheson at Lochinver Preschool:


Lochinver ELC has an important message to send out to everyone!

As part of their eco journey and Wrigley’s Litter Less campaign we have discovered the dangers of glitter! Watch our video and join us in taking action to protect our world!

We want to ban non-degradable glitter from schools and stop the manufacture and selling of glitter. Biodegradable glitter is available!

Click the video below to play our video:

all-that-glitters-thumb

Fishing for Litter

Lochinver Early learning Centre would like to thank the harbours at Ullapool, Kinlochbervie and Lochinver for their wonderful response to our fishing survey leaflets. Our blog video shows the results. Ullapool and Kinlochbervie are already part of the KIMO ‘Fishing for Litter’ initiative. After several meetings with Lochinver harbour they are now in discussions with a KIMO representative and we excitedly wait to hear the outcome. As one little boy said as he watched a trawler leave harbour, “I wonder if it’s a KIMO boat?

lochinver-preschool-fishing


Find out more about the Wrigley Litter Less campagin by clicking here. 

Learn more about KIMO – “Working to protect, preserve and enhance our marine environment”

Little Lochinver Litter Lifters

The following blog article was submitted by Jane and Amy from Lochinver pre-school:

Lochinver Early Learning Centre has been carrying out a marine litter project as part of their Eco School journey. The ‘Wrigley Litter Less’ campaign awarded us a grant of £200 towards the cost of litter picks and leaflet printing. The children have been learning about the different dangers from marine pollution and where it comes from.

They have produced 2 leaflets: one for the fishing industry and one for the local community. We hope to persuade local harbours to join the KIMO ‘Fishing for Litter Initiative’ and raise awareness of recycling and micro-bead/glitter pollution in the local community. Our video charts our journey so far. Next we want to approach schools and Highland Council to encourage them to use biodegradable glitter – would you feed plastic to your pet fish? Then don’t wash glitter down the drain!!!!!!!!!

Click the image below to play our video:

“Super Heroes” raise The Green Flag

The following blog article was submitted by Michele Garner, CALA Childhood Practice Manager:

lochinver-green-flagOn Tuesday the 13th December people gathered to watch Lochinver Early Learning Centre raise their Eco School green flag. The journey from bronze to silver and eventually Green flag status has taken 5 years of hard work. This obviously involved children and parents from past and present years. The centre was delighted that primary 1 and 2 were able to join with the younger children, parents and helpers to celebrate their achievement. We have had tremendous weekly support from Fiona Saywell on our forest school outings, rangers Andy and Roz Summers and volunteers Ken Fairchild and Jimmy Crooks, P.C. John Murray and the community council.

lochinver-green-flag-video-thumb

Click the image above to watch the flag raising ceremony.

We truly have young children that are keen to be “super heroes” and help to “save the world” in their own small way. Here is an excerpt from our award letter:

“Lochinver Early Learning Centre has made a very good start to its Eco journey, monitoring progress well, sharing good practise with other educational establishments, celebrating success and forging links with environmental groups such as the Culag Community Woodland Trust. Eco is well-integrated into the curriculum and calendar via your Forest Schools’ work and events such as Walk to School Week. Your pupils are also to be warmly commended for their community and beach litter picking activities and for their awareness-raising of the issue of dog fouling in your local area. Your children are truly responsible, mini citizens. Well done everyone and keep up this super effort.”

lochinver-green-flag2The journey is only beginning. You can help our young citizens by buying our eco- friendly shopping bag which is printed with the children’s own eco code and make small changes in your life to help make the difference. The centre will continue with its aim for less litter with the help of ‘Wrigley’s Litter Less Campaign’. This is a Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE) initiative run in 21 countries. It encourages children and young people to take their work on litter and local environmental quality beyond the school gate and affect long-term behaviour change in their community. It is offered in Scotland by “Keep Scotland Beautiful”, through the Eco-Schools Scotland programme. Lochinver Early Learning Centre and 28 other nurseries have been chosen and awarded a grant of £200 to take this work forward in 2017. We hope to use this money to monitor marine litter.

lochinver-jute-bag-video-thumb

Click the image above to watch a video about making the jute bag.

Children and staff would like to say thank you to the community for supporting and helping us on our learning journey and campaign. Together we can “help save the world!”

If you are interested in buying one of our bags please contact Jane and Amy on 01571 844 067 or you can contact the Manager, Michele Garner on 07833693583, email [email protected] Bags are £4.50 each, postage will also be charged if posted!

If you are interested in producing your own bag, we found the service at Jutexpo.co.uk to be excellent and would highly recommend them.

– Jane, Amy and Michele

Lochinver Pre-School Awarded Green Flag

green-flag-award

Lochinver Pre-School have been awarded their first Green Flag by Eco Schools Scotland after a great deal of hard work and commitment by all concerned. Their Green Flag report stated:

“Lochinver Pre-School Centre has made a very good start to its Eco journey, monitoring progress well, sharing good practice with other educational establishments, celebrating success and forging links with environmental groups such as the Culag Community Woodland Trust. Eco is well-integrated into the curriculum and calendar via your Forest Schools’ work and events such as Walk to School Week. Your pupils are also to be warmly commended for their community and beach litter picking activities and for their awareness raising of the issue of dog fouling in the local area. Your children are truly responsible, mini citizens. Well done, everyone and keep up this super effort.”

A fantastic achievement I’m sure you’ll all agree. Well done to Michele, Jane, Amy and all the children in Lochinver, and a huge thank you for the support of their parents and members of the community. Keep up the good work!

– Jane Whitaker, CALA Practice Support Advisor

Lochinver Preschool Visits Local Art Exhibition

Lochinver Preschool recently took a trip to an art exhibition in Lochinver. Jane from Lochinver explains more:

“Out of The Depths” sculpture exhibition opened in Lochinver on the 4th of July, and will be running for 3 weeks. Nigel Goldie (the artist) invited preschool to come and have a sneak preview of his amazing mobiles and sculptures, all created using materials washed up on the shore!

 “Recycle! Use it again!”