#Openingdoors Blog – February 2017

The following blog update comes from Kirsty Hunter, CALA Mentoring Support Officer:

It’s been a busy start to 2017 for #Openingdoors! Beginning with the fantastic news that we have been awarded funding from Young Start to deliver year 3! This is fantastic news with the built in excitement of expanding the project from the Inner Moray Firth area to now include parts of Wester Ross – Ullapool, Lochinver and Kinlochbervie here we come!

I had the opportunity to catch up with Yr 1 candidate Lynette last month and it was great to hear all her news future plans. Lynette exited #Openingdoors to study the NC Early Education and Childcare.

od-blog-postLynette says, “Openingdoors gave me the confidence to go to college. It was similar learning to college which meant when I started my course I wasn’t so overwhelmed by all the new theories and guidelines that there was to learn about as I had learned about them already. I am diabetic and taking part in Openingdoors gave me the confidence to travel independently and gain independent living skills. It also gave me the opportunity to work with others and gain and realise important skills like problem solving and time keeping”. It’s fantastic to see Lynette doing so well in her studies, all her hard work is paying off! Well done Lynette.

We have been very busy attending various career and jobs events. Darren from Staffbank has joined us and we have been spreading the word about all the fantastic opportunities there are to be mentored, work and train within CALA. We were joined by our newest and prettiest member of the promotional team – Baby Kate! Donated by our finance manager’s talented mum, with an exquisite knitted wardrobe, Baby Kate has been delighting everyone with her happy face and beautiful dresses! (see below for pics)



New Graduates!


We have also seen our first two graduates of 2017 – Shelley Watt and Annemarie Dowie – well done girls! Both girls have worked really hard to achieve their goals and we look forward to seeing them in the future as they pursue their careers in childcare! A big thank you to teams at Evanton and St John’s Nursery for having them on placement 🙂

Baby Massage

The following blog article was submitted by Jules Taylor, CALA Parent and Toddler Group Facilitator


This week’s Blog I thought how lovely it would be to highlight the Work CALA do regarding Delivering baby massage in Caithness.

baby-massage-2Once a week, we support the Health Visiting Team by delivering a weekly Drop in Clinic for 0-6 months, The Practice Lead and myself thought this was a fantastic opportunity to offer parents the flexibility to come along whenever they can to enjoy not only Baby Massage, but a short book bug session and lots of singing. The group is a fantastic place for parents to come along and meet other parents, share advice and support each other in a relaxed and fun environment. It has proven to be a very successful group and we continue to see new faces every week.

Every two weeks CALA also support our local breastfeeding group by delivering Baby Massage and recently delivering book bug sessions for the toddlers of the group. I also take along some activities along with my over growing treasure basket.

Weekly we support yet another Baby Massage Group for more rural parents in Halkirk, this has been a huge success with new faces all the time. Now that the babies are more awake and have more patience for more, I have started to incorporate a mini book bug session into the group also.

baby-massage3I am absolutely loving delivering Baby Massage. I love the response we not only get from parents but the babies too. They do enjoy it and you can see that parents have implemented this into their routine at home from the babies’ reactions during the session. Teaching such simple techniques to parents to enable them to communicate with their baby is such a wonderful gift.

I recently completed an additional Child Massage course for older children, this will prove to be a fantastic tool for all my groups. I will also be putting this new skill to use by delivering hand, feet massage to our local high school, within its Special and complex Needs Department to enable staff to deliver this to their students. Delighted to be approached to do this, it really shows that we are delivering an effective service.



Key messages from Highland Literacy Words Up

The following blog update comes from Norma Ruettimann, CALA Training Development Manager:


Attention all Early Learning and Childcare practitioners – the Highland Emerging Literacy Group have just released some helpful short video clips which focus on the key messages from Words Up. These will be a useful tool to support consistent implementation in your ELC settings.



Oral Language Videos – Adult/Child Interaction ‘Words Up’

The Words Up Key Messages have been created to support the development of Oral Language through the promotion of adult/child interaction. To support the Words Up Key Messages a number of videos have been created to allow practitioners to reflect on how these key messages feature in day-to-day interactions between adults and children.

  • The videos all follow a similar format:
  • Introduce the Key Message(s)
  • A short video clip
  • A reflection task to identify where they key message(s) featured
  • A section of the video clip again showing the Key Message(s).

CLICK HERE to access the Words Up Key Message support videos.

Education Scotland updates

The following information comes from Education Scotland’s Weekly Digest: 

Scot’s Ambassadors


St.Bridget’s Early Years class, North Ayrshire, dedicates every Wednesday to Scots learning. They have Scottish snacks, listen to stories in Scots and they even recite poetry in Scots.

The class has been promoting Scottish landscapes and places of interest which the children have been talking about at home with their families. Some children have visited the Wallace monument and Linlithgow Palace.  The children have grown in confidence by learning through Scots and the parent and carers have enjoyed being involved.

Inspection Mythbusters


There are many misconceptions of what happens during a school inspection. This week you can watch our new video with Director of Inspections, Alastair Delaney, to find out more about the Inspection Mythbusters. Remember to follow us on Twitter to see a new mythbuster each week.

CfE Statement for Practitioners

The CfE stedu-scotland-update2atement intends to provide clear, practical advice for teachers and practitioners on planning learning, teaching and assessment. It provides key messages to support teachers and practitioners in planning and also suggests what should be avoided.

Teachers should be empowered to use the flexibility that CfE provides to organise learning for children and young people in ways that best meets learners’ needs. Schools should be working in a collegiate way to make key decisions. Read more.