Latest news from our Gaelic Toddler Groups in the North West.

The Gaelic toddler groups in Kinlochbervie (Na Dannsairean), Ullapool (Brògan Beaga) and Gairloch (Na Daoine Beaga) had a busy time in the run up to the end of last term.

They enjoyed all the usual messy play and [email protected] activities, including Moon Dough with a bit of festive glitter which proved highly effective against the white dough. It was hard to tell who enjoyed it more, the parents or the children, though it did make me smile to observe, yet again, the different ways in which different ages engage with the same material. As grown-ups we appear to enjoy sensation and creation and I watched a parent lovingly sculpt all manner of creations from a portion of the dough. Meanwhile, beside her, a three year old was indulging her interest in deconstruction by meticulously ripping the dough into tiny, tiny pieces, over and over again, for more than half an hour. Who was engaging more deeply with the materials? Who was pushing greater boundaries? Who was learning the most?

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Two of the groups also had the opportunity to collaborate with An Talla Solais, the community visual arts organisation in Ullapool. They provided flax paper clay for the children to experiment with and the toddlers were just fascinated with the medium and its unique properties. The parents were invited to print their child’s hand or foot as a keepsake. These were then dried and bisque fired at 1020 degrees centigrade before being redistributed to the families in time for Christmas. I know a number of grandparents who would have been delighted with their gifts!

Steve Paterson from Highland Stoneware helps to pack the kiln – always a worry as the high temperatures will cause anything to break if it has air inclusions or structural weaknesses.

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Looks good – everything came out intact. Phew!

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Lisa MacDonald, CALA Gaelic Parent and Toddler Development Worker (Western Seaboard)