Local veterinary nurse starts a new chapter bringing drama into the lives of children in Midlothian

Monday July 10th 2023


Elaine Paterson from Oxton, who has realised her dream of working with children and animals.

Written by Midlothian View Reporter, Luke Jackson

Young children and their parents living in South Edinburgh, Midlothian and the Scottish Borders can look forward to an exciting, new interactive story-telling and drama experience this summer thanks to the initiative of a local veterinary nurse.

They say never work with children or animals, but Elaine Paterson, from Oxton, loves working with both and has realised her dream after 30 years of working in a veterinary practice, by recently starting a Debutots franchise in the area, offering a unique blend of storytelling and dramatic play classes.

Elaine is kicking off the Debutots’ summer of fun with outdoor classes suitable for children aged from 6 months to 7 years old. The classes will be held in beautiful surroundings, which adds to the storytelling magic and ignites those little imaginations. Parent and child classes are running in Vogrie Country Park Midlothian, Abbotsford House (the home of renowned Scottish historian, poet and novelist Sir Walter Scott) and in National Trust sites, Newhailes Estate in Musselburgh and the beautiful Priorwood Garden in Melrose.

Elaine started Debutots because she wanted a new challenge; one that would involve working with children and combine her passion for drama, reading and storytelling – and one that would give her the opportunity to be her own boss.

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.”

“Debutots is a unique concept, there is nothing like it available here for children in my franchise area,” confirmed 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.”

Elaine has already been enjoying working in local nurseries and since launching parent and child classes has had some great feedback. She said: “I heard one group of nursery children cheer when the teachers were getting them ready to come into class, which is so heartwarming.”

One of the parents said: “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 parent said: “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!”

Elaine is keen to support local families with her energetic classes and welcome them into the world of stories, words and sounds using Debutots unique blend of storytelling, puppets, bubbles and movement to music.

Elaine offers a range of classes and events to suit parents with babies, toddlers and older children. She runs classes in nurseries and schools. The classes are held throughout South Edinburgh, Midlothian and the Scottish Borders with a full timetable of summer events planned.

For information about any of the classes or services Elaine offers, including all the summer activities, email elaine@debutots.co.uk or visit debutots.co.uk/edinburghsouthmidlothianandlauder

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