Highland Literacy – New and updated Pre-Handwriting Resources

The following blog update comes from Corrina Shearer, CALA Training Officer: 


The Highland Emerging Literacy Group has added new and updated helpful resources and ideas to support young children’s pre-handwriting skills.

The ‘Highland Literacy’ page on pre-handwriting has a wealth of resources to support practitioners provide daily developmentally appropriate and fun experiences and opportunities to enable children to strengthen muscles and develop the skills necessary for future hand writing.

Begin exploring the site by visiting: https://highlandliteracy.com/2017/03/13/pre-handwriting-new-and-updated-resources/

Little Lochinver Litter Lifters

The following blog article was submitted by Jane and Amy from Lochinver pre-school:

Lochinver Early Learning Centre has been carrying out a marine litter project as part of their Eco School journey. The ‘Wrigley Litter Less’ campaign awarded us a grant of £200 towards the cost of litter picks and leaflet printing. The children have been learning about the different dangers from marine pollution and where it comes from.

They have produced 2 leaflets: one for the fishing industry and one for the local community. We hope to persuade local harbours to join the KIMO ‘Fishing for Litter Initiative’ and raise awareness of recycling and micro-bead/glitter pollution in the local community. Our video charts our journey so far. Next we want to approach schools and Highland Council to encourage them to use biodegradable glitter – would you feed plastic to your pet fish? Then don’t wash glitter down the drain!!!!!!!!!

Click the image below to play our video:

Evening Workshop for Childminders (updated)

There are still places available at our forthcoming “Evening Workshop for Childminder” events. Take a look at the flyer for more details:


Having trouble reading the flyer? Click here to download as a PDF. 

Frugal Fun Friday – Easter Art!

Happy Friday! 🙂 Mairianne is here with another round of Easter themed FFF.

“The last of our three week Easter them, we are making very frugal but fantastic Easter art.”


An evening with Care and Learning Alliance – Thursday 20th April, Elgin Community Centre

There are still places available at “An Evening with Care and Learning Alliance”, due to take place on the 20th of April at Elgin Community Centre. The event is FREE to attend.

To book, please call 01463 703033, or email [email protected]


Having trouble reading the flyer? Click here to download it as a PDF.

#Openingdoors Blog – Graduations Galore!


There has been a record 4 graduations in one week this week! Congratulations ladies! Meet three of the graduates, Kaitlin, Caroline and Morgan, below.


kaitlinHere’s our 1st graduate, Katilin. Kaitlin found out about #Openingdoors with her guidance teacher on the Hi-hope website and knew this was what she wanted to do. During our very first meeting Kaitlin enjoyed mapping out her individualised pathway into childcare and found the information and guidance through all the possible options really helpful.

Kaitlin decided her personal pathway would be to complete #Openingdoors then apply to college to study an NC. Kaitlin would use her experience of work placement and learning sessions throughout #Openingdoors to help prepare her for this. Kaitlin has completed her learning days with Kirsty at #Openingdoors and is now volunteering with Jayne and the team at Junior World following her placement there.

Kaitlin attend Junior World when she was younger and is really enjoying being back as a volunteer – with some of the staff who used to care for her! Well done Kaitlin your commitment, communication and talent has shone through throughout your time on Openingdoors – congratulations on your graduation!


morganMorgan has also graduated this week. Morgan has been volunteering with one of our parent toddler facilitators, Mairianne. Morgan has really enjoyed attending the weekly groups where she has been helping to provide fun activities, book bug sessions and healthy snack.

Morgan was interested in working with children as she has babysat for young children with additional needs in the past. However, Morgan had never taken part in anything like #Openingdoors before and was “nervous and sceptical”. Morgan has consistently received positive feedback following her voluntary sessions. “It was great to have Morgan supporting me at the group today. She arrived early and helped me set up and offered lots of practical help during the session.ozzie

Morgan has a wonderful manner with the children and her interactions with them are lovely to watch, we are delighted to have her!”. Morgan even took her pet rabbit Ozzie in to visit the children for the Easter fun session this week! Morgan is looking forward to gaining more experience with different age groups now that she has gained confidence and experience with Mairianne at the toddler groups. Morgan will be starting some holiday experience at Drakies OOSC in two weeks time – beginning with Science Day! Well done Morgan – your passion and commitment has shone through! I look forward to supporting you on the next part of your pathway!


carolinecaroline-gungeCaroline also graduated this week. Caroline had a great day for graduation as she was also volunteering at Muir Of Ord ELCC on Red Nose day! Here she is having great fun with the children and their families ‘gunking’ the lovey practitioners Donna and Laura where they raised a fabulous amount for charity.

Caroline is looking forward to her next step of applying for Staffbank where she will gain even more experience and skills in the Childcare sector. Caroline is also looking forward to volunteering over the holidays at Drakies OOSC on Harry Potter day! Well done Caroline – you did it!

Your commitment, despite being such a busy girl with college and Rainbows, has been brilliant! I hope you’ve had a much fun as the children you have worked with have had. 🙂

Education Scotland – Weekly Digest

The information in this blog article is taken from the Education Scotland Weekly News Digest. Read the full newsletter by clicking here. 

Education Scotland

CfE Statement & all Benchmarks now available

New Curriculum for Excellence Benchmarks for all curriculum areas are now available on the National Improvement Hub.  Developed by Education Scotland in consultation with individual teachers and networks across the profession, the Benchmarks embed a wide range of existing assessment guidance which includes significant aspects of learning, progression frameworks and annotated exemplification, into one key resource to support teachers’ professional judgement.

The Benchmarks are presented alongside the Experiences and Outcomes, along with supporting guidance and exemplification. Teachers should begin to familiarise themselves with the Benchmarks through using them to support assessment as appropriate in their local contexts, and taking account of current school improvement priorities.

Refreshed Technologies Experiences & Outcomes now published

The updated Technologies area of the curriculum is now available to download. The Technologies Experiences and Outcomes have been refreshed to ensure learners between 3-18 have the knowledge, understanding and skills in the technologies required to succeed in today’s world.  This refresh will ensure the Technologies area of the Curriculum is relevant and fit for purpose.

Join us in taking part in Earth Hour

Earth Hour is the world’s largest demonstration of support for action on climate change. It is an annual global celebration where people switch off their lights for an hour to show they care about the future of our planet. This year is the 10th anniversary and takes place at 8:30pm on 25 March.

Join Education Scotland at work or at home in signing up, taking part in the big switch off, raising awareness of the need to act on climate change and demonstrating your commitment to reducing Scotland’s greenhouse gas emissions. Find out more.

Tesco Bank Art Competition for Schools

The art competition, now in its 14th year, is opened for entries with great themes such as Feathery Friends; Pirates and Mermaids; Transported; and Tune In, Play On.

There are categories for Nursery, Primary, Secondary, Special Education Schools and Group entries. The closing date for this competition is Friday 5 May. Find out more.

Charities and Auto-Enrolment – what you need to know

The following information comes from OSCR (the Scottish Charity Register):


The Scottish Charity Regulator (OSCR) has produced new guidance for Scottish charities about pension auto-enrolment.

Every employer in the UK, including charities, must put certain paid employees into an appropriate pension scheme and contribute towards it. This is called ‘auto-enrolment’.

This guidance is aimed at small and medium charities with paid employees. It lets charity trustees know their legal responsibilities in relation to auto-enrolment by explaining some of the basic requirements.

The guidance tells trustees: 

  • What auto-enrolment is
  • What a charity has to do
  • Where to get more help and advice

Click here to read the full guidance note on the OSCR website.

Spring has Sprung

The following blog post was submitted by Caroline Askew Parent & Toddler Group Facilitator for Lochaber:


The first day of Spring saw me at Kilmallie Parent and Toddler Group which meets every Monday during the school term time from 10am to 12pm at Kilmallie Community Centre in Corpach. They have a lovely bright room to meet in along with a larger main hall used at the end of the session for the children to run about in (if they still have energy left!) and is a great space to sing action songs before heading home.

To celebrate Spring we made our own lambs – and enjoyed spreading glue and pulling apart cotton wool, but the most fun of the day was definitely experimenting with foam. A tremendous amount of fun and laughter was had by everyone during this activity and is also very easy to do at home (best lock up your shaving foam from now Dads!).

New members always welcome so if you have a baby, toddler or young child and find yourself free on a Monday morning – please just come along and join-in.

The Little Storks Experiment with Skittles and Watch the Orchestra

The following blog post was submitted by Monika Maleszka-Ritchie, CALA Bi-lingual Coordinator:


little-storks-2Little Storks in Alness had lots of fun creating sweet rainbows with Skittles and water. The temptation of eating the skittles was so strong that even the adults couldn’t help themselves. But everyone was very restrained and we were able to experiment, placing the Skittles in patterns around a plate and then adding water. Try it for yourself – the results are amazing!

The Little Storks were also invited to join the Scottish Chamber Orchestra workshop for young children. The children had a chance to see the musicians performing live with their amazing instruments – and learned that Classical music can be a lot of fun.

Free Training Opportunity: an Evening Workshop for Childminders

There are still some places left for our ‘Childminder Workshop’ TONIGHT (27.03.17) at Merkinch Community Centre. This training is FREE.

Book by calling 01463 703033.


Having trouble reading the flyer? Click here to download as a PDF.

Easter Fundraiser at Junior World