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We know our rights: Kindergarten kids teach Children’s Commissioner an outdoor lesson

Bruce Adamson with Ethan, three

You learn all life’s most interesting lessons in a yurt.

So where else would nursery children from Ellon take Scotland’s Children’s Commissioner on World Children’s Day?

The young teachers instructed Bruce Adamson in the best ways to play and learn about nature and the environment.

The Commissioner and his team joined children from Haddo Woodland Kindergarten, also known as Haddo Kindy.

Even at this young age, children learn about their human rights through nature-based play.

The kindergarten, which cares for children aged two to six, uses nature-based play to teach sustainability, conservation and environmental awareness.

This month as Scotland hosted COP26, children have talked to the Commissioner about their environmental rights.

The team at the kindergarten have been working with the children to develop a toolkit on their rights.

This has been launched to coincide with Scotland committing to incorporating the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) into Scots law.

Was Haddo Kindy’s visitor a good guest?

Four-year-old Layla, who invited the Commissioner into the nursery when he arrived, seemed to think so.

She said: “Bruce had a shot on the swing. I made him some pretend soup.”

Layla, four, with Bruce Adamson at Haddo Kindy outdoor nursery
Children’s Commissioner Bruce Adamson with Layla, four. Aberdeen. Supplied by NDNA

After he had finished his soup, Mr Adamson became a bit more serious.

He said: “Children have the right to have their views taken into account in all matters which affect them. There is no minimum age to this.

“The youngest children have incredible ideas and insight about their lives, the environment they grow up in, and about the world.

“The importance of the right to play has been widely recognised as part of children’s development and I think we can all learn a lot from the creative ideas in early years settings.

“We’ve all had an amazing time here today. There has been lots of laughter and smiles, and the children have been brilliant at teaching us how they have fun and learn about their rights.”

Haddo Kindy and children’s rights

Purnima Tanuku OBE, Chief Executive of National Day Nurseries Association (NDNA) Scotland, said Haddo Kindy was one of the nurseries to work on a toolkit to help with rights.

She added: “Recent events at COP26 have highlighted how important it is that our young children learn about how to respect, nurture and enjoy nature all around them.

“Early learning and childcare providers have a strong history of focussing on children’s rights and getting the best outcomes for the children in their care. It’s great to see this first hand at nurseries like Haddo Kindy which offer fantastic outdoor environment full of engaging play and learning opportunities.”

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