Training Opportunity: Play and Learning into Practice

This is a FREE introductory course for new, inexperienced practitioners and experienced practitioner’s working in Early Learning and Childcare (including Childminders) in Highland who want to refresh their skills and knowledge on the value of play and learning. The course is delivered over 6 days and provides wide range of practical learning experiences, knowledge on child development and an understanding of how to provide an effective early learning and childcare environment.


Aviemore Community Centre, Aviemore


  • Friday, 13th January,
  • Friday 20th January,
  • Friday 27th January,
  • Friday 3rd February,
  • Friday 10th February,
  • Friday 17th February

More Information

For more information on this training, including details of how to book a place, click here to download the flyer (PDF).

October’s ‘Toddler Link’ Newsletter


The October edition of the Toddler Link newsletter is out! It includes information on BookBug, the CALA E-Learning Zone, fun activities to try with toddlers, and information on Speech and Language Therapists.

Click here to download the newsletter.

An action packed October Holidays at Junior World in Nairn


The children and staff at Junior World had a very busy and enjoyable time during the October Holidays. The children were asked for their ideas on activities they could do during the holidays, and they came up with some great activities.

They conducted some science experiments, learned about Russian culture (including learning the Russian word for ‘soup’), had plenty of outdoor play, and did lots of other fun activities.

One little girl said: “I loved making new friends because I made lots and had fun“.  🙂

Alison has sent through a PDF that provides more details, and includes lots of pictures of their adventures. Click here to download. It includes a section that outlines the theory behind some of the work they have been doing, based on ‘Building the Ambition‘, which is “national practice guidance to support staff in providing high quality early learning and childcare.”

Fun Frugal Friday – Gloop!

It’s time for another Fun Frugal Friday! This week, we’re making gloop! Here is Mairianne to explain more:

“Gloop is a wonderful activity for children of any age, older children can explore this fascinating substance as it changes from a solid to a liquid and its safe for little ones should they be tempted to have a taste!”

Click the image below to watch the video:


Thanks Mairianne!

The Loose Parts Play Toolkit


The ‘Loose Parts Play Toolkit’ was released recently, and is packed full of information on how to incorporate ‘loose parts’ into children’s play. The toolkit was a collaboration between the Play Strategy Group and the Scottish Government. If you’re not familiar with the term ‘loose parts’, have a read of this excerpt from the toolkit:

“Loose parts create richer environments for children to play, giving them the resources they need to do what they need to do.

Loose parts aren’t prescriptive and offer limitless possibilities. A stick, for example, may become a fishing rod near real or imaginary water, a spurtle in a mud kitchen, a tool to nudge a football that is stuck in a tree; it can be thrown, floated, snapped, pinged, bent, hidden, added to a pile, burnt, tied to something else, split, catapulted or discarded.”

If you’re looking for ideas on making play time more rewarding, this toolkit is definitely worth a read!

Click here to download the toolkit in PDF form.

Training Opportunity in Fort William and Portree: Science in the Early Years and Childcare

2/11/16: Council Chamber, Fort William

8/11/16: Council Chamber, Portree

Course Description

What we ‘know’ about science is always changing and evolving. During this session we will consider opportunities for science learning all around us in the highly relevant context and children’s everyday lives. We will reflect on our current practice and explore practical ways to create science rich learning environment. The course will look at the wider context for learning for this key curricular area using everyday items and consider how we can maximise the potential for a blend of natural occurring, child initiated and focused learning opportunities to promote children’s exploration and discovery indoors and outdoors. All content fully supports and progresses Curriculum for Excellence principles and practice and other national guidance.


Baking Fun at Strathpeffer Eagles


Strathpeffer Eagles out of school club were very busy recently baking some cakes.  At the club we try to bake every week and the children enjoy it very much.  We try to bake something healthy to have for our snack that day.  Our next baking activity will be some treats for our Halloween party on the 27th October. 

Safe Strong and Free news update


Safe Strong and Free have released a video that details some of the amazing work they do to reduce the vulnerability of young children to abuse and assault. SSF have provided more information on their video:

“As many of you will be aware, Safe Strong and Free Highland is an abuse prevention program (the only one of it’s kind in Scotland!) Children attend a program of interactive puppet workshops to teach them strategies to use which will help them stay safe if they encounter bullying, an approach from a stranger or an unwanted/inappropriate approach from an adult they know. They are then given short story books that reinforce the messages.

This year, the team at SSF have been busy reviewing how they share information about the content of workshops with parents with a view to maximizing awareness. As a result, they’ve moved from Parent Workshops to an on line DVD clip which parents/carers can watch at a time and a place which suits them! The DVD clip, which is just over 7 minutes long, provides an overview of how the SSF staff work with children, the content of children’s workshops and the strategies used. Feedback received from parents who have viewed the DVD in advance of their child attending workshops has been very positive indeed. Why not have a look on the website where you’ll find the DVD and a range of downloadable resources for parents, carers, professionals and children which can be used to support the SSF messages after the workshops.”

Keeping Children Safe – Reference Group

The following flyer was sent through by Norma Ruettimann, CALA Training Development Manager:


You can download the flyer as a PDF by clicking here, or as a Word document by clicking here .

New Safety Centre – ClickCEOP Reporting


The following information comes from CEOP (the National Crime Agency Command):

The ClickCEOP button provides a direct route for children, young people, parents, carers and professionals to report incidences of child sexual abuse directly to CEOP. Although anyone can report to CEOP through the button, its primary focus is to encourage children and young people to report to CEOP if they are ever worried or concerned about contact made to them by an adult on or offline.

Over the past few months we have been working hard to make this reporting form (our ‘safety centre’) more engaging, accessible and young-person friendly. The new Safety Centre (out in Autumn) will be mobile friendly and take only the critical information needed to safeguard the child or young person.

It will now provide reporters key information on: * Should I make a report to CEOP? * What happens when I make a report? * How can CEOP help me? As always, we strongly recommend professionals to promote the ClickCEOP button and encourage young people to report to CEOP if they are ever worried about online abuse. Prior to its launch, further information will be sent to our Thinkuknow network.

If you’d like more information about ClickCEOP, click here to visit their website.

Progress Update on Implementing Early Learning and Childcare under the Children and Young People (Scotland) Act 2016


The Scottish Government has published a report that details the progress made so far in expanding early learning and childcare (ELC) provision in Scotland. From the report:

“This report provides a comprehensive picture of delivery based on information to date. It sets out the key headlines which summarise current progress, and addresses the following specific issues:
1. Uptake of free entitlement for 3 and 4 year olds
2. Uptake of free entitlement for 2 year olds
3. Local authorities consultations with local populations
4. Increased flexibility and choice
5. Parental perceptions of the service
6. Staffing changes
7. Infrastructure changes”

Click here to download the full report (PDF).

Taking Literacy and Numeracy Outdoors

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


Twenty practitioners in Early Learning and Childcare from Highland Council attended a busy day’s learning outdoors at the Aigas Field Centre. There were plenty of literacy and numeracy skills utilised throughout the course of the day as the attendees explored and experimented, made discoveries, problem solved, created, inquired and worked collaboratively to consider how they might provide similar play and learning opportunities to develop literacy and numeracy skills outdoors in their ELC settings.

wow-amazingThere was just one (ok, it was rather heavy) rain shower to contend with but everyone was suitable dressed for any weather so no one minded! A big thank you from course tutors Corrina and Norma to everyone who attended and participated so enthusiastically. The thumbs up photo and two word evaluations give an indication of what folks thought about taking literacy and numeracy outdoor by the end of the day.