#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.

Time for a Cuppa – Hosted by Golspie ELCC and Seaforth House

The following blog post was submitted by Julie Shaw, Golspie ELC Manager:

Time for a Cuppa is a way of helping raise funds for Admiral Nurses who help support and care for families who are affected by dementia. As we have close links with Seaforth House we thought that this would be a lovely intergenerational fund raiser to do jointly with the residents of Seaforth House.

We have been liaising with Tracey Campbell to organise this and a mutual date of Monday 6th March has been agreed between 2pm and 3pm the venue for this event will be Seaforth House.

We will be sending out invitations for your child, you and other family members to attend this event as well as advertising this locally. If you would like to read more about this event, please click on the link below: – https://www.dementiauk.org/get-involved/time-for-a-cuppa-2017/


Frugal Fun Friday – Yellow! (week one)

Happy Friday to you all! Looking for something to entertain the kids with this weekend? Well you’re in luck, because Mairianne has sent over another Frugal Fun Friday. This week’s theme is ‘yellow’. Here’s Mairianne to explain more:

Week one of our new three week theme of Yellow, we start with something to eat and have easy to make banana pops!

Click on the image below to play the video:


Rothiemay and District Playgroup Participate in Eco-Schools

The following blog article was submitted by Laura and Rosie from Rothiemay and District Playgroup:


We have been participating in eco-schools for a couple of years now and are delighted to say that after receiving our Bronze Award we have now received our silver award in November 2016.

Read the rest of the blog article by clicking here [MS Word].

Disclosure Scotland session for CALA


Disclosure Scotland are keen to support organisations who use higher level disclosures (such as the PVG Scheme) in both navigating the disclosure process easily and in understanding their legal obligations under the PVG Act and Code of Practice for Registered Persons.

The event is aimed at employers of ‘regulated work’ positions – which include childcare providers. Consequently, Disclosure Scotland are keen to offer a session aimed at members of the Care and Learning Alliance in order to support you as much as possible. Areas that may be covered during these sessions include:

  • Your “duty to refer” to Disclosure Scotland – and why it matters
  • Recent changes to the disclosure of spent convictions and how it affects employers
  • Advice on common application errors and how to avoid them
  • Update you on ongoing projects within Disclosure Scotland, including the PVG Review and ‘data cleanse’ projects – and what these could mean for you.

There will also be lots of opportunity for you to ask questions!


A venue is yet to be identified for the session, but it is likely to be in the Inverness area on a weekday evening (with a possible date under consideration of 22 March 2017). The session length will be between ninety minutes and two hours and will be delivered in an interactive manner to encourage your participation.

The event is free to attend and tea/coffee will be provided. Each organisation is welcome to nominate a maximum of two delegates, due to limited places.

What to do next

If you are interested in attending this event (even if you are not available on the above provisional date), please provide the following to Gareth Wilks of Disclosure Scotland ([email protected]) by 28 February 2017:

  • Your organisation name
  • Name of attendee(s) and roles within organisation
  • Your contact e-mail address and telephone number
  • Areas of specific interest to you

If you have any questions or queries around this event, please contact Gareth directly on 0141 3143153.

Rothiemay and District Playgroup – Forest Skills Blog Update

The following blog article was written by Laura and Rosie at Rothiemay Playgroup:


Since our first blog about our forest skills sessions at Rothiemay Playgroup we have been very busy. Our first group of children headed off to school in August and we have introduced the fun of the forest to a new group who love to explore and are growing more in confidence with every visit.

We have been very busy investigating different areas of the forest and finding different things to do. Here are some of the things we’ve been getting up to…

Read the full blog article by clicking here [MS Word]


Drakies Easter Holiday Club – Planner and Booking Form


Click here to download the planner [MS Word].

Click here to download the booking form [MS Word].

North Kessock Red Kites – Easter Holiday Booking Form & Planner


Download the booking form by clicking here [pdf].

Download the planner by clicking here [pdf].

Junior World Feb/March Newsletter


Junior World in Nairn have sent over their February/March newsletter. It features 2017/2018 enrolment information, details of some recent fundraising, some parent feedback, and lots more.

Download the newsletter by clicking here [MS Word].