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Transition Junior returns virtually to help Aberdeenshire's pre-school children settle in for new school year

By David Porter

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Live Life Aberdeenshire’s virtual Transition Junior programme returns this month to help prepare pre-school children for the start of their first school year.

It uses sport and physical activity to help new Primary One pupils feel comfortable in their new educational surroundings.

Created by Active Schools Aberdeenshire, the programme is supported by libraries and NHS Grampian to use the “Henry” children’s stories to deliver key messages around physical activity.

Sports coaches blend activity sessions into the stories, to help establish an early understanding of the benefits of physical activity, good diet and mental wellbeing. It’s also an opportunity to meet classmates and establish friendships.

Live Life Aberdeenshire’s Active Schools team and its partners created the virtual experience last year so that pre-school pupils and their parents could participate at home during lockdown.

Given the current restrictions in relation to Covid-19, Transition Junior has again returned online, making it available to new pupils right across Aberdeenshire.

Some outdoor practical sessions will be taking place in the Inverurie schools network, where the Transition Junior programme first originated in 2018.

Led again by popular local sports coach Vanessa Jack, Transition Junior 2021 will feature a virtual activity session using the “Henry- Let’s Go Outside” story, that will focus on using everyday things found at home, in a garden or a local walk to follow the story, whilst also taking part in games and activities.

Councillor Anne Stirling, chair of Aberdeenshire Council’s Communities Committee, is pleased the virtual Transition Junior programme can be offered to children across the area again this year.

“Whilst it is pleasing to see our local communities starting to open up again, retaining this virtual option for Primary 1 transition, again supported by the other resources that are available on LiveLife@Home, will help to provide some extra support to families across Aberdeenshire and they can enjoy some of the benefits that transition programmes would bring in their normal setting within schools,” she said.

“I am also pleased, having visited the sessions previously, that Active Schools have managed to run some outdoor practical sessions to support the local schools in Inverurie.”

Councillor Gillian Owen, chair of Aberdeenshire Council’s education and children’s services committee, added: “The transition process for Primary 1 pupils this year is again very different to a normal year and I am delighted that Transition Junior is again available as an online resource and in a limited capacity in person to complement the ongoing work within our schools ahead of the arrival of our new pupils in August.”

The activity session will be available throughout June on Live Life Aberdeenshire’s Live Life @ Home platform: https://bit.ly/LLAhome

E-reading resources relating to Starting School and Outside Play are available at: https://aberdeenshirelibraries.overdrive.com/library/kids/

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