Councillor Margaret Toner joined pupils, staff, police and other partners for their environmental visual audit.
55 enthusiastic P3 children from Kingcase Primary School in Prestwick have carried out an environmental visual audit (EVA) in their neighbourhood to find out what they like best and to identify ways in which they could improve their local environment.
After a group of children from Dundonald Primary School gave a presentation about their EVA experience the children at Kingcase Primary School were eager to carry out their own audit.
The P3 classes initially discussed areas of the community they enjoyed using and areas which they felt needed improvement. From maps of the area they identified the beach, town centre, Oval park and immediate area around their school to focus on. Teams of children from P3 carried out their EVA along with parent volunteers, teachers, members of the South Ayrshire Community Safety Partnership, Council environmental health officers, Police Scotland and Scottish Fire and Rescue.
During their EVA, when they were looking for evidence of dog fouling, graffiti, vandalism, litter, possible dangers, fly tipping, disorder and cctv, the children took notes on what they saw and made a photographic record.
Councillor Margaret Toner, Lifelong Learning Portfolio Holder for the Council joined the children on their EVA, she said: "The main vision of this project is to encourage children to take pride in their local environment and be proactive in bringing about changes and improvement through a shared responsibility.
"The children were so enthusiastic and very organised in the way that they carried out the audit. I look forward to being invited back to hear about their findings and find out what their suggestions are for improvements."
The EVA forms part of the Council's commitment to the Early Years Collaborative – a grouping of Community Planning Partners - including social services, health, education, police and third sector professionals – all committed to ensuring that every baby, child, mother, father and family in Scotland has access to the best supports available.
Sergeant Mark Hornby of Police Scotland said: "The Environmental Visual Audit exercise is an excellent opportunity for young people to have a better understanding of their local community and of the work undertaken by local partners. The Early Years Collaborative is a Scotland wide initiative aimed at giving children the best start in life and overcoming barriers to their development. Community attachment has been identified as one of the barriers and is also one of the areas where children can be encouraged to become responsible citizens. Kingcase is the second South Ayrshire primary school to participate and we hope more schools will become involved in the future."
Here is what some of the children had to say about carryout out the EVA:
- "The EVA was a good idea so we can make Prestwick better. It was a wonderful experience."
- "I liked having the police there because they helped us to solve problems."
- "I really liked going to the town centre because it was fun and I got to work with my mum."
- "I thought it was good because it gave us a chance to see what we wanted to change and what we didn't need to change."
- "It was important that the police were with us so we could make changes quicker."
- "I thought it was good to have my family there because we had more eyes to spot things quicker."
- "I thought it was a good idea and I really enjoyed it. It was good because we learnt how to make Prestwick better."
The parents and partners were also very positive about the day they said:
- "Great experience for the children and very well organised with others in the community. Enjoyable afternoon for all."
- " Very enjoyable. Lovely to see the kids having fun while learning. Good sense of community spirit."
- "This was a great partnership project. Kids have brilliant ideas, Let's hope we see some changes."
- "The afternoon was wonderful to encourage the children to notice their environment and community."
Once the children have studied their notes and photographs and discussed their experience they will invite parents and partners back to the school and give a presentation on their findings and suggest improvements that could be made. They will also write letters and design posters to help bring about the changes they would like. At a later date children will revisit the areas they inspected to see if any improvements have been made.