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Primary pupils deliver training to tots 

13/11/2012   |  North & West Highland; South & Mid Highland 

It’s a subject that’s still taboo in some quarters. But its determination to make breastfeeding the norm, and more socially acceptable, has prompted NHS Highland to launch an awareness programme in primary schools.

And it will be encouraging Primary 7 pupils to educate their Primary 1 schoolmates on the subject, with the focus being more on the theme of nurturing rather than breastfeeding.

In a pilot programme to be launched on Wednesday (14th November) at Park Primary School in Invergordon, the older pupils are being invited to apply to become trainers. Following interview those selected will be trained on what they’ll deliver to Primary 1 pupils.

The programme will be along the lines of one previously run by NHS Highland infant feeding advisor Karen Mackay to pre-school age children at an Inverness nursery.

A pilot programme which began there in June this year looked at how adults care for their babies, including how they keep them warm and safe, and how they feed them. It also looked at how babies are similar to their parents and how living things grow, develop and are nurtured.

As at the Kindergarten in Inverness, the Invergordon pupils will use aids such as colourful picture cards, a breastfeeding doll and some games which show mammals breastfeeding.

But the key difference between the two projects is that in Invergordon the Primary 7 children will be taught how and what to teach the Primary 1s.

Tania Mackie is cluster headteacher of Park Primary School and also of South Lodge Primary.

She said: “While NHS Highland is working to make breastfeeding more socially acceptable, this programme will be delivered at a level that is entirely appropriate to a primary school and to the pupils’ age. The theme won’t be breastfeeding as such, but mammals and how they nurture.

“This is about NHS Highland working in partnership with education to help deliver part of the important health and wellbeing element of the Curriculum for Excellence.”

Karen Mackay added: “To some people breastfeeding is a taboo subject and we need to change that. But we hope our Invergordon initiative, which we would like to roll out to other areas, will bring benefits in other areas. Breastfeeding is part of the wider health and wellbeing agenda and the programme will focus on how breastfeeding is the foundation for improving public health. By encouraging older children to work with younger ones, we hope the programme will help to develop social responsibility and leadership skills.”

Karen will begin the programme on Wednesday (14th November) by delivering a short training session on the subject of mammals and nurturing to Primary 7 pupils. Later that day, the Primary 7 pupils will be invited to apply for one of the four or five trainee vacancies at Park School.  On Thursday 15th they will be trained and will then go on to deliver the sessions to Primary 1 children under Karen’s supervision.

The training the children deliver will be evaluated and they will be given awards at the end of the programme.

Further information

Tom Davison 
Communications Manager 
01463 704903