The other side of the coin: the impact of poverty on our children

Hello everyone

This is the fourth installment about the workshop leaders for the upcoming CALA Annual Conference.

Hanna McCulloch, Policy and Parliamentary Officer for Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG) will be delivering a workshop discussing how child poverty affects children and families as well as the most recent research on the topic

To find out more be sure to visit here!

Be sure to book your place at the conference as soon as possible, as it is first come first served!

We look forward to seeing you all there

Speaker BiographyHanna McCulloch

Hanna McCulloch is Policy and Parliamentary Officer for Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG) in Scotland. Her role involves working with CPAG colleagues to run the Early Warning System, a framework used to gather case evidence from frontline workers about the impact changes to the social security system are having on the health and wellbeing of children in Scotland.

Workshop Overview

  • An overview of child poverty in Scotland. What is the definition of child poverty?
  • How can we recognise the difficulties that families may experience?
  • What is the impact for children growing up in poverty? How might this affect their development?
  • What steps can be taken at local and national level to reduce child poverty and its impact on children and families.

Organisational Overview

Child Poverty Action Group works on behalf of the one in four children in the UK growing up in poverty.

CPAG works to understand what causes poverty, the impact it has on children’s lives, and how it can be prevented and solved – for good. They do this through developing and campaigning for policy solutions to end child poverty. They also provide accurate information, training and advice to the people who work with hard-up families, to make sure they get the financial support they need and carry out high profile legal work to establish and confirm families’ rights.

CPAG Mission StatementCPAG Blogpost

Our vision is of a society free of child poverty, where all children can enjoy a childhood free of financial hardship and have a fair chance in life to reach their full potential.

How Good Is Our Early Learning and Childcare (HGIOLC)



The following article was submitted by Norma Ruettimann, CALA Training Development Manager:

As many of you will be aware, Education Scotland have recently launched the National Improvement Hub to support continuous improvement in our work with children and families. If you haven’t had a look yet, it’s definitely worth clicking on . You can view a range of interactive material including guidance and practice example videos and download transcripts and power point presentations to use to support self-evaluation for improvement in your setting. New items are added frequently.

We were particularly interested in the report “The Twoness of Twos’ (posted on yesterday’s blog) by Jane O’Sullivan and Sue Chambers of the London Early Years Foundation which we found especially pertinent as more two year olds become eligible for funded ELC in Scotland and we strive to improve quality to support positive outcomes. The cover quote by Jerry Seinfeld “A two year old is kind of like having a blender, but you don’t have a top for it” will no doubt strike an only too familiar cord with those of us who have the privilege of knowing and/or working with these little treasures!

messy-kid-paintYou can also view or download the new framework for self-evaluation How Good Is Our Early Learning and Childcare (HGIOLC) which has been designed to help us ‘take a fresh look at the developing needs and reflect the changes and increased provision of today’s ELC sector’ (source HGIOELC 2016). The framework takes account of childminders, private, voluntary and local authority settings therefore is for all practitioners working with children from birth to starting school. The framework will be used by Education Scotland for ELC inspections from this month onwards.

It is important that we begin to familiarise ourselves with the 15 Quality Indicators within HGIOELC. This will support us to evaluate our strengths, identify areas for development and help us to plan improvement. HGIOELC encourages as to look ‘inwards, outwards and forwards’ – the National Improvement Hub certainly provides us with useful tools to help us do so.

– Norma Ruettimann

There are still places left on CALA’s HGIOELC training in Fort William, Thurso and Elgin. Check the following blog article for more details:

The Twoness of Twos



The following article was submitted by Norma Ruettimann, CALA Training Development Manager:

“Early Learning and Care for 2 Year Olds – University of Stirling

An interesting 3 page paper (Page 4 provides an indicative list of resources) which recognises that the extension to Early Learning and Childcare to some two year olds requires more than calculations about number of children, space and adults. Aspects include:

  • Two year olds need practitioners who..
  • Two year olds need practices that..
  • Two year olds need spaces and resources than..

It’s certainly worth a read. If you would like to comment on the paper or for further discussion contact: [email protected]

The paper can be read online by clicking here.

Frugal Fun Friday – Bubble Dough

Frugal Fun Friday is back! This week Mairianne demonstrates how to take simple ingredients and turn them in to some squidgy, colourful ‘bubble dough’. Have a try yourself! If you ever try one of Mairianne’s ideas, why not send over some pictures and we’ll feature your creation on the blog.

Click the picture below to play the video:


Supporting Parents along the Journey of Child’s Development

Hello everyone

This is the third installment about the workshop leaders for the upcoming CALA Annual Conference.

James McTaggart, Educational Psychologist with Highland Council will be delivering a workshop discussing how Developmental Overviews can be used by professionals, the benefits to children and the impact on their development.

To find out more be sure to visit here!

Be sure to book your place at the conference as soon as possible, as it is first come first served!

We look forward to seeing you all there


Workshop Outline

Over the past 3 school sessions, Developmental Overviews have provided a format for the early identification of need within preschool settings in Highland.

In James’ workshop, he will explain the background of the Developmental Overviews, as well as:

  • How the data generated by the Developmental Overviews is collated, analysed and used to address and improve play experiences to maximise opportunity for children’s learning and development.
  • How at an individual level DO’s can support in the early recognition of any issues/developmental gaps/delay, difficulties for young children in managing their behaviour etc.
  • A new web resource that provides strategies to support children’s development from pre-birth onwards, put together by local speech and language and occupational therapists, physiotherapists, early years practitioners and psychologists.
  • Strategies to employ to address the concern identified along with an appropriate timescale for intervention and review, level of success and next steps, e.g. differentiating activities, making changes to the environment, etc.
  • The importance of practitioners working to support and engage parents and the significant difference this can make to outcomes for children. What would practitioners like covered on the website?


Speaker Biography

James is an educational psychologist with Highland Council, specialising in early years. He has key roles in supporting developments in early parenting, learning, language and literacy, working across all services and sectors. As the workshop will demonstrate, he is not yet very good at designing websites, but enjoys learning new things. A key part of James’s role is to engage with practitioners and find where development and improvement is needed, and he will hope to hear many views during the day.


August Edition of the ‘Toddler Link’ Newsletter


The August edition of the Toddler Link Newsletter is out. Toddler Link features news, tips and articles on a range of issues relating to the care of young children.

This edition includes a good practice guide to cash handling, information on the upcoming CALA Conference, and news of the Play, Talk, Read bus’ visit to the Highlands.

Click here to download the August edition of the Toddler Link Newsletter (pdf). 

Upcoming CALA Training: How Good is our Early Learning and Childcare?


Training sessions will be held during the month of September entitled “How Good is our Early Learning and Childcare?”. HGIOLC is a framework aimed at practitioners working with children from birth to starting school, and has been designed to “help us take a fresh look at the developing needs and reflect the changes and increased provision of today’s ELC sector“(source HGIOELC 2016). You can find more information on this framework on the ‘National Improvement Hub’ website, or by downloading this short informational document.

The training is free to CALA members and practitioners working in CALA managed centres. Non-members are very welcome to attend, at a cost of £10 per person.

To book, please contact our Inverness office on 01463 703033.

The flyer for the training can be downloaded by clicking here.


Healthy Minds, Happy Children

Hello everyone

This is the second installment about the workshop leaders for the upcoming CALA Annual Conference.Linda and Emma

Linda Thom, Promoting Positive Relationships Team Lead & Emma Campbell, Primary Mental Health Worker, Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service are going to deliver a workshop discussing how mental health can affect parents and children in different ways , the increasing instances of mental ill health and what are the strategies which can be adopted to support children and families through mental illness.

To find out more be sure to visit here!

Be sure to book your place at the conference as soon as possible, as it is first come first served!

We look forward to seeing you all there

Healthy Minds, Happy Children

Workshop Outline

  • How do parents mental health issues impact children’s health and wellbeing?
  • An explanation of the rising instances of mental health issues in young children. What support is available?
  • What strategies can be adopted to allow practitioners to take a preventative,
    rather than reactive approach to supporting children?
  • Support that can we offer ‘in-house’ and where can we go for more advice?

Promoting Positive Relationships Team

This is a strategic Post supporting and developing the building of relationships for all in the Care and Learning Service.
It fits with the National direction working to enable ‘better relationships, better learning, better behaviour’ (Smarter Scotland Scottish Government)
Improving the Odds – states that ‘of all the features the most important was the quality of relationships between staff and pupils’

Building Curriculum for Excellence through Positive Relationships and Behaviour (2010) states
“Curriculum for Excellence cannot be delivered without good relationships and positive behaviour”
and that underpinning this is the emotional health and wellbeing of staff.

The work of Promoting Positive Relationships is underpinned by Emotional Literacy.
We offer various levels of training to staff which develops their own Emotional Literacy and helps them to support and develop it in others.


CAMHS (Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service) is provided by NHS Highland and The Highland Council.
We work with children, young people and families to understand their difficulties and offer a range of therapeutic interventions
to help you make the changes you want to make.

The term, CAMHS is used to embrace the range of services across agencies that contribute to the mental health and care of children and young people.
CAMHS works collaboratively with children, young people, parents and professionals, using the most up to date research and knowledge,
building on strengths and fostering self-development”.

Primary Mental Health Worker Service, CAMHS Mission StatementHighland Council

The PMHW service builds capacity within other agencies and provides early intervention to support the mental health and emotional wellbeing of children, young people and their families, within their local communities, through consultation, direct intervention and training.

The PlayTalkRead bus is coming to the Highlands!

From Monday 22nd to Friday 26th August 2016, the PlayTalkRead bus will be in Highland. The bus will be hosting free storytelling and rhythm sessions and a range of play and activity sessions for children and their mums, dads and carers. Have a look at their poster for more information, including dates and locations:


Funding Opportunity for Groups, Clubs and Projects in Lochaber

Emma Tayler from Highland Council has been in touch to let us know about a funding opportunity available to groups, clubs and projects based in Lochaber. The following poster explains more about the opportunity:


For more information about the grants available, click here to download the guidance notes.

Boredom Busters – a new app from Play Scotland


A new app has been released by Play Scotland, full of fun and healthy ideas you can do with children. Find out more on the Boredom Busters website.  Here’s some more information on the app from Play Scotland:

Boredom Busters is a brand new, fun app for 8-12 year olds, designed to get children actively playing more in a variety of different ways. This app is packed full of inspirational ideas for ways to play brought to you by Play Scotland.

“By tapping into the digital world we can offer this resource to children all over Scotland no matter who or where they are. This is a fun way of supporting children and young people in Scotland giving them access to a wide range of play opportunities that meet their individual needs.”

Check out our Boredom Busters micro site


Early Years Information Pathway, NHS Health Scotland


The following information comes from an email sent by Play Scotland:

“The Early Years Information Pathway is designed to guide professionals through the national information resources that are available to facilitate discussion and effective communication with parents and carers. The pathway covers pre-birth to preschool. Full details and copy of the publication can be found here