Drakies Out of School Club – March 2017 Newsletter

The following blog article was submitted by Tracy and Mandy at Drakies OOSC: 

We would like to wish Nicola a fond farewell and the best of luck in new job and welcome Mandy to our Drakies team. Mandy has previously worked on Direct Childcare and Staffbank and is currently studying towards her SVQ 3 in Childcare.

The children and staff have really appreciated our young volunteer Calvin who has been coming in as part of the High Life Highland Leadership Programme and for Saltire Award. He has been a great asset and the children love to spend time playing with Calvin.

The children enjoyed celebrating Chinese New Year by painting and gluing a Chinese dragon wall display, colouring in pictures and trying various Chinese food themed snacks for the week. And what a great job they made of the display, it looks ‘fantastic’ in the words of the children.

We have currently started an under the sea theme display based on Dory and Nemo to brighten up our arts and crafts area, so watch out for that whilst in club.

Colouring in seems to be a favourite activity in club just now, where children of all ages sit and chat sociably together whilst they colour. Lego Marvel, Fifa and Minecraft are still the favourite Xbox games although more children have recently been accessing the Wii to play Just Dance. We have quite a few budding young builders whom enjoy using the blocks and lego to make new creations.

We are currently getting organised for the Easter holidays which are just around the corner so please get your bookings in soon. Planners and booking forms are available within club or online from the Care and Learning Alliance Website. Please be advised spaces will be filled on a first come first served basis with payment expected to be made two weeks prior to holiday commencement and will be non-refundable. Holiday club will run

from Thursday 6th April through to 21st April, however we will be closed Good Friday 14th April and Easter Monday 17th April. Normal after school club will resume 24th April.

Thank you to the cooperation of the school, we are now collecting children from P1 – P3 from their classes at 2.45pm which is working very well could all parents be reminded of last minute bookings to inform school so the class teacher can therefore update their list also.

Could we remind all parents of our fee paying and cancellation policies: “Invoices will be issued from the club weekly and payment will be due within 7 days. Failure to pay within 7 days could result in your child being denied access. If you wish to cancel a session please note that 48 hours’ notice is required or the session fee will be charged. Please advise the club promptly if your child is ill to avoid being charged for the session.” The finance office is tightening up on this policy so we can remain sustainable and will therefore be sending out letter 1s and 2s more efficiently.

We understand after a long day you just want to collect your child and go home however, could we please ask all parents to take a few minutes when in club to review and make any amendments necessary to their child’s enrolement form to ensure all details held are accurate. We thank you for your cooperation.

You may also want to consider providing your child with indoor shoes they can take to wear whilst in club, to maintain hygiene we ask all children to take their outdoor shoes off at the door so they do not traipse mud and dirt through the floor where they also sit and play, however during fire drills children have tried to stop to put shoes on if they have not got any on and understandably during a fire getting all children out quickly and safely is the priority so therefore if they already had something on their feet it would help with this matter.

How CALA are supporting the Syrian Refugee families in Alness

The following blog post was submitted by Jayne Watt, CALA Parent Toddler Co-ordinator:


CALA have been involved with four of the Syrian Refugee families since September last year – our role has been delivering childcare sessions to the under 3 years whilst their parents receive English lessons on three separate days.

On a Monday we join in with the Polish toddler group at the Perrins Centre, (whilst the Syrian parents are in another room across the hall).

syria-blog-3The Syrian children enjoy playing alongside the other children – they enjoy playing on the seesaw, exploring and investigating pasta, oats or coloured rice that we offer in big tubs (they also enjoy getting into the tubs to play!) They enjoy the space to run around in this big hall and are now happy to sit and enjoy a healthy snack, now that they are getting to know the structure of the session.

The children love singing time , and from not knowing any songs, rhymes in English – they now participate fully with twinkle twinkle (doing the actions and humming the tune) – they always say ‘again’ when we do ‘ring a ring a roses’ and ‘the wheels on the bus’ is a favourite , which has them all smiling and rocking back and forth. They really enjoy using the bookbug puppets at this time. They like to pick up books and take them to us to look at with them, especially the ones with ‘lift the flaps’ and the ones that make different noises when you push the buttons. Now the books are becoming familiar to them, they have their favourites.

syria-blog-post1On a Tuesday, we are in Milnafua hall, in Alness and we deliver our session in the same hall as the parents have their lessons. This set up works well now – as the children are happy to stay in one part with us to play with the homemade playdough, investigate treasure baskets, sing and look at books even though they can see their parents. It is nice for the parents to see their children at play and learning new words and skills –the parents have once or twice stopped their lesson to watch their children singing or because they hear them laughing when we are playing peek a boo.

On a Wednesday, the parents receive support and lessons to help them with their older children’s homework. On this occasion we are all in Obsdale Primary school, and we deliver our childcare session in a room close by – the children are usually quite tired by this day but they are still eager to come with us and see what we have in our bags for them.

This piece of work has been rewarding and challenging at the same time – when the children did not want to leave their parents in the beginning , then we had to spend the 2 hours just cuddling them , reassuring them that everything was ok. Now they all come straight to us with big smiles ready to learn and play – these four children will be fluent in English by the time they go to school and their parents are so grateful for this opportunity of uninterrupted learning.

National Minimum Wage and National Living Wage

min-wageFrom April 2017 the minimum wage and the national living wage will be going up. The changes are outlined in the following table:


If you are an employer, it is important you know this information, so you can ensure you are paying workers appropriately. And if you’re an employee, it’s important you know what wage you are legally entitled to.

You can read more about the minimum wage and the national living wage on the ACAS website, and also watch a video that goes in to more detail on the changes.

Free Online Course – Caring for Vulnerable Children

The following information comes from the Education Scotland Weekly Digest: 

The hugely successful ‘Caring for Vulnerable Children’ Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) is starting a new session on 27 March. Developed by CELCIS and University of Strathclyde, it’s run by FutureLearn and is suitable for teachers, social workers, residential care workers and parents.

This six-week free online course will help you explore and develop an understanding of the approaches involved in caring for vulnerable children, including what we mean by risk and vulnerability and how we can provide children with security through meaningful relationships. Find out more.

Highland Child Protection Committee Conference – Understanding and Working with Neglect

Highland Child Protection Committee Conference – Neglecting the Issues? Understanding and Working with Neglect.

MacDonald Drumossie Hotel, Inverness

Friday 31st March 2017

1000: Welcome and Introductions from the Chair

1020: The Impact of Adverse Childhood Experiences – Dr Michael Smith, Associate Medical Director, Mental Health & Drug and Alcohol Services, NHS Greater Glasgow & Clyde

1110: The Graded Care Profile – Helping Practitioners Make Sense of Neglect – Dawn Hodson, NSPCC

1150: Break

1210: Domestic Abuse and Neglect, Martha Scott, Scottish Women’s Aid

1235: Everyone Has A Story –Working with Parental Substance Misuse – Elaine Wilson, Lloyds TSB Drugs Partnership

1300: Lunch

1350: Workshop Session – Workshops will be selected on arrival

1445: Facilitated Session (with coffee) – Working Together to Address Neglect in Highland

1540: Closing Remarks and Plenary (Close at 1600)

Download the conference booking form by clicking here [MS Word].

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


Click here to download the flyer as a PDF.

Tha gaol agam ort! I love you!

gaelic-blog-oneBha spòrs gu leòr aig a’ chloinn agus na pàrantan, nuair a bha iad a’ dèanamh cairtean Naomh Bhaileintin aig Na Rionnagan Beaga ann an Inbhir Theòrsa. Chuir Ishbel ar neach-cluich a-mach peant de gach dath de phinc, geal, agus dearg airson dealbhan a dhèanamh de làraich-làmhan a bha coltach ri cridhe-gaoil, agus mar a chì sibh bho na dealbhan againn chòrd e math ris na mamaidhean cuideachd. ’S e a’ chiad uair a bh’ ann airson na cloinne as òige agus airson aon nighean bheag cha do chòrd e idir, idir leatha! Tha sinn air a bhith ag aithneachadh gu bheil a’ chlann a’ togail faclan dhe na h-òrain. Tha seo mìorbhaileach chionn ’s nach gaelic-blog-twoeil Gàidhlig idir aig na teaghlaichean san dachaigh agus tha iad dìreach gan cluinntinn nuair a tha iad an làthair aig Na Rionnagan Beaga. Bidh sinn ag ionnsachadh òrain ùra thairis air na mìosan a tha romhainn agus a’ cumail ris na h-òrain a tha sinn eòlach air agus tha sinn an dòchas gum bi sinn a’ cluinntinn am barrachd Gàidhlig bhon chlann bheaga againn!

English Translation

Parents and Toddler alike had a fun and messy time making Valentine cards at Na Rionnagan Beaga in Thurso. Ishbel our play-leader had set out some pink, red and white glittery paints for making love hearts handprints and as you can see from our photos the mums had a good time too.

gaelic-blog-threeFor some of our younger children it was their first time hand-painting and one wee girl was not impressed with it at all! We have also been seeing the benefits of singing our Gaelic songs during our sessions as a few of the regular children are starting to say a few words/phrases in Gaelic which they have picked up mainly from the songs. This is fantastic as none of our families have Gaelic at home and are only exposed to it during Na Rionnagan Beaga.

We will be introducing a few new songs over the next month as well as sticking with some of the firm favourites so hopefully we will be hearing even more Gaelic from our toddlers!

Rothiemay and District Playgroup Visit Balhousie Care Home

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


In December we received a phone call from the Balhousie care home in Huntly asking if we would like to go and sing some Christmas songs for their residents. Unfortunately we weren’t able to go in December but we arranged a visit in January to sing some Scottish songs and do some Scottish dancing for Robert Burns’ day instead.

Download the full report by clicking here [MS Word].

Frugal Fun Friday – Lemon Playdough

It’s week two of the “yellow” theme for Frugal Fun Friday. Here’s Mairianne to explain what she’s been up to this week:

“Week 2 of our yellow theme something to make, lemon playdough, this is one for the grown ups as its made with boiling water but takes minutes to make and if you keep it airtight it will last for weeks.”

Click the image below to watch the video: