How many children dream of being able to sit in a real, working digger?
Certainly, the preschool children who attend Footsteps Nursery in Minworth near Birmingham did. For weeks the 2-4-year-olds had been watching with keen interest while Winvic Construction Ltd operated their Flannery machines on an IM Properties site right next to where the nursery is situated.
Like Flannery, Winvic has a strong community engagement policy so when we heard that the little ones had been fascinated by the construction happening so close by both organisations were ready to get stuck in, get them excited, and share some messages about working in construction and staying safe.
What better way to capture the imaginations of 50 or so pre-schoolers than taking a real-life digger onto their premises and safely allowing them to climb up onto it and even sit in the cab? There is so much they would learn without even realising.
‘We were so excited to invite Flannery and Winvic into our setting’ said Louise Humby, Footstep’s Nursery Manager, ‘and the children all enjoyed the learning opportunities provided by the team. They especially loved getting into the cab to press the horn! Following the visit, our children continued to extend their learning in the role play areas inside and were treated to lots of new diggers to play with.’
Thanks go to Liam Hills, our designated operator for the day, who demonstrated how a digger works and how to keep people safe with high-vis clothing, hard hats, keeping safe distances and using alerts (like-sounding that horn!). He also patiently lifted every child who wanted to into the cab and out again so they could get the full digger experience.
The children made colourful pictures of diggers and were given a goody-bag each for their efforts – the Flannery team judged the best one and presented a toy digger as a prize.
‘You may think nursery children are too young to be thinking about career options,’ said Emma Rhymes, Winvic’s Social Value Manager, ‘but we were surprised and delighted at how many inquisitive questions we received about the jobs we do. It was magical to see how excited the children were during the visit.’
When it was time to wind down, the children enjoyed a special story (Goodnight, Goodnight Construction Site by Sherri Duskey Rinker) and no doubt went home buzzing with what they’d seen that day.
‘The children at Footsteps Nursery were incredibly engaging,’ said Chris Matthew, Flannery Strategic Manager, ‘from their questions to their willingness to sit in the cab of the machine (and press every possible button – ignition disabled of course!).
‘Flannery are pleased to continue to support the local communities that we work within and are really keen to encourage any initiative that helps young people feed their enthusiasm for construction whilst offering them some guidance on the potential dangers that our machinery may pose.
‘And as for the welcome the delivery driver received – I’m not sure 50+ smiling faces and waving arms is all that common on the rest of his rounds!’
All in all, it was a heart-warming day for everyone involved and a real lesson on the impact of reaching out to the local communities where we work.