Last week Nil by Mouth visited Aberdeenshire schools as part of its ‘Neeps & Tatties’ project which uses Doric and the Scots language and a specially written storybook to help teachers, pupils and parents discuss issues such as stereotypes, discrimination and how young people can help overcome old prejudices. Created by author Carey Morning and illustrator Anna York, ‘Neeps and Tatties’ tells the story of two warring vegetable tribes who are finally encouraged to put the past behind them in the interests of a better future. The charity has devised a series of classroom games and activities based around the story that will encourage children to explore different cultures, including looking at the significance of food and festivals in different traditions.
Nil by Mouth visited Crombie Primary in Westhill for a special reading of the book organised by local teacher Mrs Kerry Clark who runs the popular ‘Mrs C Teaches’ Instagram account with 7,000 educationalist followers, followed by a trip to Turriff Primary where pupils received copies of the book donated by the Barrack Trust.
Doric is still widely spoken and understood in the North-East and the book, which includes a glossary of words for those new to the language, also includes a range of digital activities which encourage children to explore different faiths and traditions. The Barrack Trust is providing copies of the ‘Neeps & Tatties’ education resource to schools across the region as part of its most recent round of donations to good causes. Schools already benefiting include Cornhill, Dyce, Kirkhill, Kittybrewster, Loriston and Seaton Primaries and the charity is encouraging every primary school in the area to claim their copies.
Nil by Mouth Engagement Officer Emma Alexander said:
‘It’s been a real delight to be invited into schools in Aberdeenshire to talk about our work and be able to share this beautiful book with pupils. When Kerry contacted us about coming to Crombie it was clear that the school was very passionate about ensuring children know their rights and responsibilities and this passion was mirrored in Turriff. It was great to hear the book being read in rich Doric by local people at both schools and the children could clearly easily relate to what was being said and the messages contained within the story. Since being launched in January 2021 Neeps & Tatties has been used in over 1,000 schools including nearly 100 in the North-East and the Barrack Trust donation will ensure the book is enjoyed by hundreds more children and that teachers have all the resources required to bring the story to life. Doric is widely spoken and understood in the North East and we hope that in addition to helping pupils learn more about different cultures and beliefs it will also deepen their understanding and appreciation of the many Scots and Doric words which enrich their lives. So much of our work challenging bigotry deals with how words can be used to hurt or belittle others. That’s why it’s brilliant to be able to celebrate language and the different ways we can express ourselves. The stories we tell our children help shape how they see the world and make sense of the differences that exist around them.'