Breakfast – most important meal of the day!


Breakfast Break


Following a successful application to the Fairer Scotland Fund the Early Years and Childcare team have been allocated money to support “Breakfast Break”, to provide breakfast to children of primary school age who arrive at school without having even had a drink. We have all seen/know these children and the effects that lack of food/drink has on their behaviour and ability to learn.

By providing breakfast we will be supporting not only the children but also the families, and teachers in schools. Children will receive an actual breakfast and be in an environment where they can relax and prepare themselves for the school day, by socialising with peers, catching up on last nights homework or having the opportunity to sit quietly and read.

Breakfast will be “purchased” from existing breakfast provision attached to some primary schools, we will also be supporting places at Tranent and Dunbar Wraparound to provide the same service for children of nursery age.

A criterion for places is being drafted and will be in place for the new academic year. A commitment to provide 61 places a day has been made, and the general feedback to date is that this may not be enough to meet demand for places.

It is anticipated that the referrals will come through schools.


Pauline Homer

Early Years Development Officer


Civic Conversation

Tranent Health Visitors have identified a gap in the provision of support to mothers who are older than most when they have their first child. They are organising an event to engage these mums and find out what they think of services.

Here are the details of an event to be held in the Tranent area in June – and an outline of the proposal to engage this group.

Mums in the Middle poster 

Mums in the Middle

Forest school and kindergartens

Trust game


Fast tracking the development of forest schools / kindergartens in the Support from the Start target area is an early initiative within the test site. Over the next two years £80,000 will be invested to support the development of this approach with schools and nurseries. Most of this will be used to train teachers and other school staff as ‘forest school leaders’.

How is this relevant to tackling health inequality?

Experience of of forest school in Scandinavian countries as well as south of the Scottish border has highlighted that this approach to outdoor learning can have a significant impact on health and learning. The Early Years Framework has recognised this experience and the research evidence, by highlighting forest school and kindergartens as areas of priority for development. East Lothian has been developing forest school over the last two years with the first programme taking place at Saltoun Primary and followed by programmes at Preston Lodge High school, Cockenzie nursery and Law Primary, but the test site is an opportunity to have a more strategic approach to developing this approach for East Lothian children.

At a recent meeting of East Lothian head teachers I was asked to give a brief presentation about the developments around forest school and the plans for training forest school leaders that are currently in place. I started the presentation by asking the heads to take part in a quick piece of research. They were asked to close their eyes and think of a pleasant or happy childhood memory, after a minute or so I then asked them to raise their hand if the memory was associated with the outdoors – all but one of the head teachers present raised their hands. Its not the first time that I have asked groups to take part in this exercise and every time the response is the same – when asked to think of a pleasant or happy childhood memory the majority of people will bring to mind memories that are associated with being outdoors. And yet it seems that children are sending less and less time in natural environments, and most of a child’s school experience will be in-doors.

Forest school involves a regular and sustained involvement with a woodland ecosystem as an environment for learning. The focus is on creating the conditions for achievement through small achievable tasks. A well run forest school will aim to develop in a way that allows as much of the learning experiences as possible to be child led. Forest school also introduces responsible risk taking, this means that children are taught to recognise and mange risk rather than avoid it. For example, fire is frequently a feature and focal point of forest school, but is only introduced when the children have demonstrated the behaviours and knowledge needed to manage the risk, inherent with fire, safely. Communicating thoughts and feelings are key skills within a forest school, both to interprete and process the experience and to achieve all the steps in a group task like building a den. It is my belief, and the available evidence points to this sort of approach having an impact on self esteem and confidence, and this is why we think that fast tracking the development of forest schools with the Support from the Start communities can have an impact on health inequality.

However, one thing I can safely predict is that the children that are involved in forest shool will experience it as fun. Maybe when they reflect on a happy childhood memory as adults, time spent outdoors at forest school will be there for them.

Whitecraig Support from the Start and play

Dear All

As you are aware Whitecraig is one of the communities that is part of the Support from the Start process in East Lothian, which aims to improve health outcomes by focusing on intervention in the early years and support for parents.


As part of this process we have begun a ‘civic conversation’ on health and well being in Whitecraig with an event that looked at the health needs of early years families from a parents perspective (see enclosed report). The output of this event was the identification of two themes by the parents that were present – play, and access to services.


I would like to invite you to attend a short meeting to discuss how we can take the ‘civic conversation’  to the next level in Whitecraig  by focusing on the play issue in particular. This meeting would be to look at how parents in Whitecraig can be engaged in play as a health issue.


If you are happy to participate in this I would be grateful if you could indicate which of the following dates you could make.


Friday 12th June am

Monday 22nd June pm

Tuesday July 7th


Many thanks

Lena Hutton




Acceptance Feedback

Acceptance – written and performed by Lisa Nichol is a play about the pressures on young women that can lead to alcohol misuse and the issues that this can raise for young women..

 “This is a play that touches upon many of the issues that affect women like Scarlet today and conveys in a genuine and meaningful way the emotional and social dilemmas and the pressure people in today’s society face to fit in.” David Shaw – Glasgow Council on Alcohol

Support from the Start worked with Queen Margaret Univeristy to bring this performance to East Lothian as part of a ‘civic conversation’ on health and tackling health inequality. The performnces helped to raise awareness of alcohol as a health and well being issue, and each one was followed by discussion the ouput from which is given below.

The play is not a health education message against alcohol abuse, rather an honest portrayl of the issues alcohol can create in a young womans life. From the comment below I think it touched a cord for many people presnt. The Tranent performance was attend between 50 and 60 people – all women bar myself. The Musselburgh performance had a much smaller audience of 15, but was followed by a lively discussion and some good contacts were made.

Here is the feedback provided after the performances of the Acceptance play in Tranent Town Hall on Thursday 14th May and in the Brunton Hall, Musselburgh on Wednesday 20th May


For more information on Lisa Nichol folow this link

acceptance poster

Here goes…….

I am now a blogger….yah.  Hopefully this will work. 

I thought I would try and add something to the blog.  I attended the Acceptance play last week in Tranent, Lisa did a fantastic job in her one woman play to put over a very powerful message that I am sure  everyone in the audience could relate to.  It would be good to get her down to Prestonpans.

I am really keen to start a Civic Conversation in Prestonpans so I will be emailing around to see if some professionals would get on board.  If your interested then email me.  I am on the council system.

Cheers for now


Creativity on a friday night !

I was recently sent the enclosed link by Karin Chipulina a forest school leader, artist and gardener. I have known Karin and her parents for some time. Her mother is an artist  whose work I love, and her father gave me the most excellent recipe for cooking pheasant and is one of those persons in whose company you can safely collect mushrooms. All in all a family rich in culture, creativity and learning, but not so serious they don’t know how to laugh and have a good time.

I can guarantee that if you follow the link you will find better entertainment than you will get on the tele on a friday night – and it says something that I for one wholeheartedly agree with. ( Bye the way – Anbody who is going to a conference on the early years framework on the 2oth May – please don’t let on that I have used some of the material.)



If that doesnt do anything for you could always try Don Ledinghams version of Tam O’Shanter at

Breast Feeding Awareness Week Coffee Morning

A Coffee morning has been arranged by the Tranent and Ormiston HV’s to be held at the Early Years Centre, Sandersons Wynd, Tranent. On Wednesday 13th May from 11am – 12 noon. We are advertising it on the radio, in the local press and on posters so hopefully there will be a good response. There will be no charge for the refreshments provided.