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OMG it's MM at CSW!
There isn’t such a thing as an ordinary day at a nursery. Under 5s, and maybe their parents too, are much too diverse, unpredictable and fun for that. Extra-ordinary is the usual ordinary.
But last week at the Fort Early Years Centre in North Edinburgh there was an extra layer of excitement as Morning Mayhem made an unexpected appearance alongside a Scottish Government Minister. Morning Mayhem, the Child Accident Prevention Trust’s mascot for Child Safety Week 2014, was played by Colin Hutchison, one of the staff at the Fort. He was representing the chaos and potential for disaster that characterises almost every family before 9am. The Minister was Roseanna Cunningham MSP, Minister for Community Safety and Legal Affairs at the Scottish Government.
Were any of the 46 kids at the Fort fazed by the arrival of either a Minister or a masked man? Not one bit. You need a bit more than that to impress a determined toddler focussed on a bit of cutting and sticking. But the parents were a lot more impressed by their introduction to Bitrex, the bitterest taste in the world. Even Morning Mayhem himself lost a little cool on encountering Bitrex. For the record the Minister, remembering her encounter with Bitrex twelve months ago at another Edinburgh nursery made her polite excuses and declined.
The Fort parents were even more struck by the Room of Risk set up by centre staff to demonstrate the range of hazards in the average house. An ex-primary school, Fort has fabulous facilities and a generous space – one of the best resources you can have. So the Room of Risk was pretty well appointed, with peril with at least thirty options for poisoning or injury. But what do we know – in the Spot the Risk competition two parents topped out at seventy five and eighty two identified hazards. As Karen Brown, Manager (acting) at the Fort said. ‘We’ve got a continual programme of events here for parents and children and for the rest of the community. Children are at the core of any community and it’s one area where everyone can focus. ‘Safety is a key issue for us. We believe in a management of risk approach. Teaching children, and their parents, how to manage risk is for us a much more constructive long term approach than removing every single risk from children’s lives. It has to be controlled and thought through very carefully, and it’s vital to take parents with you. Child Safety Week and the Taste Test is a fabulous way of bringing parents into the discussion.
’A great time for all – parents, staff, Minister and officials and even the kids left their painting to get involved. What of Morning Mayhem? Eventually, he was persuaded not to go out for a night out in his costume but only with the promise he could do the MM act the next day.