Children should be playing outside. Research shows it increases their physical and mental health. That’s why Caitriona Walsh set up ‘Little Green Fingers’, Ireland’s first child minding service that does all its activities outdoors – with help of a Dutch delivery bicycle. Yesterday, Little Green Fingers was awarded the Early Childhood Ireland Innovation Award. Caitriona and her children showed up in their delivery bike to receive the Award.
Like normal childcare facilities, Little Green Fingers has literacy and numeracy games, such as number treasure hunts, telling stories, or rhyme exercises. The difference is: Little Green Fingers does it all outside. Caitriona uses a Dutch delivery bicycle to transport the children to the beach, the woods, or to excursions. She and the children spend delivery bicycle trips singing, pointing, and discussing surroundings. Special outdoor waterproof clothing keeps the children comfortable, regardless of the weather, and specially designed cameras allow them to document their outdoor adventures each day.
Caitriona set up Little Green Fingers because she saw a need for alternative child care. Caitriona says “children spend too much time in an artificial world, and not enough time in the real world.” With Little Green Fingers, she aims to teach children about animals, plants and garden work. With the delivery bicycle, Catriona also takes children to the fire station, Newbridge farm or other local attractions, to give them an understanding of their community.
The Malahide community, where Caitriona is currently based, is lucky to have her. Let’s hope the Award paves the way for similar concepts in the Dublin community.
For more information, check the Little Green Fingers website: www.littlegreenfingers.me