A BORDERS veterinary nurse has realised her dream of working with children after 30 years of working with animals.

Elaine Paterson, from Oxton, recently set up her own Debutots franchise near the town and is hosting a range of activities across the summer.

She said: “I have always been drawn to working with children.

"I don't have children myself, but over the years I have loved nothing more when visiting family and friends to be involved in reading stories to their little ones.

"When I found out about Debutots, I knew it was the perfect fit and I was excited by what Debutots had to offer – so, I took the plunge and left my job as a practice manager at a veterinary hospital to set up the franchise here in South Edinburgh, Midlothian and the Borders.

"It has been a huge change as I’ve been working in the veterinary sector for three decades, but it’s very exciting, and I’m looking forward to my first summer season of activities.”

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The sessions Elaine will offer for children aged from six months to seven years old, include interactive storytelling, puppetry, dance, and singing.

In the Borders, Elaine will be running sessions at:

The Bird Gardens Scotland (annual ticket holder event), Oxton

Priorwood Garden, Melrose

Abbotsford House, near Melrose

“Debutots is a unique concept, there is nothing like it available here for children in my franchise area,” said Elaine. “In the classes, we bring unique and original stories to life through interactive storytelling and dramatic play; the children have so much fun, and they learn so much too. I also love the fact that the activities are fully inclusive to all children, any child can take part.

“The Debutots classes not only build a child’s confidence, they also help to develop speech and language skills.

"For me, I love that I have a job that gives me the opportunity to nurture children help them to develop and learn new skills – making a difference to children is hugely important to me personally.”

Through her work in local nurseries, Elaine has received some positive feedback about her classes.

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One parent shared: “I wasn’t sure what to expect at Debutots but my 6-month-old son just loves it. I think Elaine’s energy is really captivating and he stays very engaged throughout the class.”

Another added: “It's really helped me connect and bond with my daughter post lockdowns where we couldn't attend classes like this. We are making up for lost time now and building memories. We would absolutely recommend as an alternative to the other baby/toddler sensory classes out there. Elaine is so welcoming and friendly; the kids benefit from the same format each week with a different theme. Even the adults enjoy the dancing, singing and bubbles!”

As well as her summer session at the locations above, Elaine runs classes in nurseries and schools.

For more information about any of the classes or the programme of summer activities, email elaine@debutots.co.uk or visit: debutots.co.uk/edinburghsouthmidlothianandlauder