A group of tiny tots from Kilmarnock are amongst the youngest in Scotland to scoop a prestigious environmental award.
The pre-school youngsters aged between two and five have helped the KC Tots Nursery at Kilmarnock College to win a Silver Award in the Eco-Schools Programme run by the Foundation for Environmental Education.
Now the green-fingered, recycling-mad youngsters and their carers have set their sights on the top Green Flag Award to prove they are top of the class when it comes to environmental issues.
To qualify for the award the youngsters at the nursery had to undertake a wide range of environmental projects and staff had to show a determination to educate the children on a number of eco-related subjects.
Among the projects completed were:
∑ Recycling of paper, ink cartridges and mobile phones
∑ Planting and growing flowers and vegetables in the nursery garden
∑ Ranger walks in local parks
∑ Various talks and demonstrations on environmental issues
KC Tots Nursery manager Lynn Court said: “We are only a small nursery with a maximum of 20 children so to reach this standard has been a wonderful achievement.
“As part of the programme, the children have been involved in a number of activities and educational projects.
“We began with recycling and installed energy saving light-bulbs, bins for paper, ink cartridges and mobile phones and we use bags for life rather than plastic. The children have taken well to the idea that each item should be disposed of properly and often ask to make sure they are placing things in the correct bins. That’s quite something for a three-year-old!”
So successful did the nursery recycling project prove that the whole of Kilmarnock College has now adopted the scheme.
Lynn added: “We also invited environmental experts from East Ayrshire Council along to meet the kids and they gave the children a talk and games session to reinforce the recycling message.
“It is amazing how much the children can take in at such an early age. The sooner we can instil the positive environmental message the more it will become second nature in later life.”
Lynn and her staff at KC Tots have also gone back to nature to help reinforce some of the ecological issues.
She explained: “We have a small garden adjacent to the nursery and we took the children to meet staff at the college’s horticultural unit at The Craig in Gateside. They gave the children a talk about the importance of plants in the environment and some great advice on how we could grow some of our own flowers and vegetables back at the nursery.
“We then enlisted the help of some inmates at Kilmarnock Prison who built a beautiful garden planter, made of wood, of course, which we now plant up with seasonal flowers.”
By winning the Silver Award the nursery has qualified for a