Highland Council early years practitioners lead the way on nature walks, supported by Paths for All, Think Nature Health Walks, P4W Walks and NHS Highland
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Community early years practitioners have completed training to lead nature walks for infants and toddlers.
More than 30 members of staff employed by Highland Council have completed training to deliver toddler walks – promoting socialisation, learning and positive physical and mental health.
These Community Early Years Practitioners – who work directly with children and families alongside Health Visitors – have been supported by Paths for All, Think Nature Health Walks, P4W Walks and NHS Highland.
The "Buggy Walks" and "Happy Little Feet" walks – which are free of charge and originally commenced in June – take place throughout the Highlands every week. To date, 10 walks have taken place across the Highlands, with more on the way.
Staff have been trained to engage infants and make the walks interactive through pointing out and identifying different types of trees, leaves, flowers and insects.
Eleven walks are scheduled to take place every week over the coming months and will continue for the remainder of the year.
Councillor Linda Munro, chairperson of the health, social care and wellbeing committee, said: “This is an important project which is providing infants and toddlers, along with their families or carers, the opportunity to meet and socialise in some beautiful locations throughout the Highland region.
“I am acutely aware that some young families may be feeling a sense of isolation, loneliness or anxiety after such a long period of social restrictions during the pandemic. To try and alleviate these emotions, I would encourage families to engage with their local health visiting team to discuss the 'Buggy Walks’ and ‘Happy Little Feet’ toddler walks which are scheduled to take place in their area.
“The walks are designed to be inclusive and cater for those at entry level who would benefit from short or more supported walks, building up to walks which are suitable for those whose fitness allows them to do a longer walk for up to one or two hours.”
Individuals who wish to participate and join should engage with their local health visiting team or see the Paths for All website for details of walks.