QMYOU Alumni Magazine Issue 81 - Page 7

Midlothian school children graduate from Queen Margaret Children’s University I N JUNE, 54 SCHOOL pupils from four schools across Midlothian gathered at QMU as part of the first Children’s University graduation ceremony for Midlothian schools. The junior scholars were dressed head to toe in traditional gowns and mortar boards. Family, friends, teachers and supporters were welcomed to the ceremony to help celebrate the children’s achievements. dementia will receive a minimum of one year’s post diagnostic support. The dementia campaigner was joined by Laura Young, Founder of The Teapot Trust charity which uses art therapy to help children and young people cope with long-term medical conditions. Laura established the Trust with her husband in 2010 following the death of their eight year old daughter Verity, who suffered from the autoimmune disease Lupus. From the time Laura’s daughter was three, she was frequently in hospital for treatment for Lupus, and when she was diagnosed with cancer three years later, hospital visits increased. Laura was aware that Verity associated the visits with pain and anxiety, but when Verity began using art, she realised that it was a successful coping mechanism that helped make her daughter’s time in hospital more bearable and provided an outlet for expressing her feelings. Over the last few years the Teapot Trust has developed significantly and now funds art therapy in clinics, hospital wards, mental health services and hospices for children with chronic illnesses in six centres across Scotland, with a total of 21 funded art therapy projects providing either individual or group art therapy for sick children. There are also plans to expand the work in Fife and in the Scottish Borders. In the last year alone the Trust, which is the only Scottish charity to provide art therapy in hospitals, has supported over 3,500 children and their families. Both honorary graduates were acknowledged for the relevance of their work to society, reflecting the University’s own commitment to enhancing lives in the communities it serves. You can read more about our honorary graduates at www.qmu.ac.uk ❒ Newbattle Community High School, Danderhall Primary, Kings Park Primary, and Woodburn Primary were the first Midlothian schools to take part in the Queen Margaret Children’s University graduation ceremony. QMU is the first higher education institution in the east of Scotland to host the Children’s University, which aims to help school children, aged between seven and 14 years of age (and five and six year olds with their families), become confident learners and broaden their horizons. QMU has taken the lead in establishing the Children’s University in the east of Scotland by working in partnership with schools via Midlothian and East Lothian Councils. The children build up credits the more they engage in learning activities and they can work towards bronze, silver and gold certificates. Callum Maguire, said: “After over a year of hard work, we’re really excited to have now staged the first QMU Children’s University graduation ceremony for Midlothian schools and celebrated the pupils’ achievements. This valuable initiative is already helping to encourage young children across Midlothian and East Lothian to get involved in different methods of learning, whilst boosting their achievement.” Over 2,000 pupils from across the two counties have signed up to the Queen Margaret Children’s University scheme since 2014. There are now over 400 accredited learning destinations across East and Midlothian, including Butterfly & Insect World in Lasswade and the Scottish National Mining Museum in Newtongrange. One thousand two hundred learning activities include everything from dancing, and painting, to cheer- leading, modern languages and gardening. A film about Queen Margaret Children’s University, which features elements of the first graduation ceremony held in January this year, is available to online: https://www.youtube. com/watch?v=Qr_bHaHTYKA ❒ QMYOU / Community Engagement and Widening Access 7