Ashgrove Nursery pupils rise to a sponsored bake-a-thon challenge

Star baker Harry MacAleese from Newtownabbey pictured at the Ashgrove Nursery School bake-a-thon fundraiser.
Star baker Harry MacAleese from Newtownabbey pictured at the Ashgrove Nursery School bake-a-thon fundraiser.

Ashgrove Nursery pupils have baked up a treat to raise money for an in-school mental health and wellbeing initiative.

Children at the Nursery School used World Mental Health Day - Wednesdday, October 10 - to hold a ‘sponsored bake-a-thon’ to help raise funds to receive their very own mental health and resilience programme.

The programme, called Fresh Little Minds, is usually delivered to children aged five to 12 year.

However, the teachers and staff at Ashgrove Nursery, see huge benefits in delivering the programme to children within the school.

Joanne Barr, who is the Principal of Ashgrove Nursery School in Glengormley, said: “There is a big focus at the moment on building children’s mental health and well-being, but many initiatives fail to recognise that early intervention begins at pre-school.

“Children’s social and emotional health has always been high on the agenda at Ashgrove Nursery, but this year we want to take it even further by raising money to offer this fantastic programme to all children in our School. Providing we raise enough money to do so, Fresh Little Minds will deliver a six-week programme incorporating children’s yoga, laughter therapy and lots of movement techniques that will help their bodies feel better when they are anxious, scared worried or excited.”

Teacher at Ashgrove Nursery Gillian Parkinson said she believes that this programme will benefit the children in the long run.

Mrs Parkinson said: “Fresh Little Minds is a highly acclaimed mental health and resilience programme of thoughtful, fun and stimulating activities for children. The overall aim is that children will become more confident; their physical and mental health will improve; and they will be able to positively express their feelings. Funding has proven quite difficult to obtain; which is why we decided to hold our very own fundraiser. The children all had a great day baking buns and they demonstrated excellent team work by working together and helping each other. “I am not sure if any of the buns made it as far as home, but the children certainly enjoyed themselves and deserved a treat after their very busy day.”

Ashgrove Nursery School is a ‘stand-alone’ building, opened in 1980. It currently caters for 78 children in their pre-school year, funded by the Department of Education. It was recognised as winners in the ‘Best Nursery School’ category at the Families First NI Awards for two years in a row.

Anyone who would like to donate to Ashgrove Nursery School to help them raise money for their mental health and wellbeing initiative, can call the school on 9084 3178.