Reay Under 5’s – outdoor play and the fire department

Who needs toys!

The children had the opportunity to play with a variety of objects outside. They worked together pushing and rolling the big tyres up and down the hill. This helped children develop their physical skills through movement and also helped them learn about safety, managing risk and working together. They all interacted well, using their imagination. The tyres were then put on top of each other and made into a fire, then one wee boy shouted into the tyres and said, ‘I hear an echo’. How great is that! They even used bits of wood to walk over, developing balance and coordination.

Reay under 5’s Fire Department to the Rescue! 

After the children’s police interest changed, they took a vote on whether they would like to learn about fire or the ambulance service. Fire won the vote 6/3.  This encouraged the children to make their own personal choice.

The home-corner was turned into a Fire Department. The children explored books, jigsaws, DVDs, used fire vehicles and dressing-up in their play. This time we made a large fire engine using a large box and various recycled materials to create this fantastic vehicle. There was lots of collaborative work going on, problem-solving and discussions on what was needed to make our fire engine. They also made individual pictures, coming up with their own ideas on what they needed, further developing their fine motor skills and creativity.

We added more work to our Floor Book on ‘People Who Help Us’. Again this activity covered many areas across the curriculum, e.g., Health and Wellbeing, Expressive Arts and Technologies.

Careers in Early Learning and Childcare

Do you know anyone who is considering a career in Early Learning and Childcare? Rewarding, fun and challenging, when you work in Early Learning and Childcare you have the potential to change young children’s lives for the better.

To learn more about a career in childcare, a good place to start is You will find guidance and resources aimed at people who are either straight out of school, or a little bit older and considering a career change.

Follow these useful links to learn more about a rewarding career in childcare: 

What do I need to get started in Early Learning and Childcare?

Fancy changing career to Early Learning and Childcare? 

Watch their promotional video, entitled ‘Early Learning and Childcare – a rewarding career’.

Find more resources that aim to promote a career in childcare. 

Here are some resources on the Care and Learning Alliance website that you may also find useful:

‘Current Vacancies’ – we frequently post new ELC and Childcare vacancies on our website. 

Interested in relief childcare cover? Why not take a look into CALA Staffbank.

Find out what face-to-face training we have coming up. 

Take one of our E-Learning courses. We have 11 courses, covering a wide range of subjects. Many of them are free to take. 

Keep an eye on our Facebook page, where we post updates on training, job vacancies, news from the Childcare sector, and more!

Can’t find what you’re looking for? Give us a call on 01463 222569, or email [email protected] and we’ll do our best to help. 

STEM Self-Evaluation & Improvement Framework

Education Scotland has published a new STEM self-evaluation and improvement framework for early learning, primary, ASN and secondary school settings. It can serve as a helpful guide or route map for settings looking to self-evaluate and improve their approach to STEM.

Two versions of this STEM framework have been produced. One version has been developed for STEM coordinators and senior leaders. A two-page summary version for practitioners has also been produced. The framework includes challenge questions and a series of progression statements for relevant quality indicators to help settings reflect on and plan improvements.,5ELRA,JLTM4O,KX14F,1

‘Internet Safety’ and ‘Read Write Count’

The following updates come from the Education Scotland newsletter. Sign up to their newsletter by clicking here and filling out the form.

Internet Safety

Get ready for Safer Internet Day is on Tuesday 6 February 2018. This year’s theme – “Create, connect and share respect: A better internet starts with you”.

Childnet have gathered together UK Internet Safety materials for young people, practitioners, parents and carers.

Click here to read more. 

Read Write Count

Over the next few months, families with children in P1-3 will get a free activity bag. This includes a Bookbug bag for P1 and a Read, Write, Count bag for P2-3. These activity bags will help you to read, write and count together with your child. Find out more information on how to use the bag on the Read Write Count website.

Find out more about Read Write Count.

Reay Under 5’s become police officers for the day

The following blog update comes from Yvonne at Reay Under 5’s:

Hello, hello what’s going on here?

The children of Reay Under 5’s have been learning about the police.  The home-corner was turned into a Police Station with a jail for the baddies! Lots of dressing up, co-operative and imaginative play going on.

The children came up with their own ideas for their play, they even made a police van, working out who was going to be the driver and traffic control. They did lots of investigating and exploring, solving clues to find missing things, they even had to find Cocoa the missing puppy! We looked at the equipment police use in their job and talked about the work they do. The children looked at books and watched a DVD on the laptop.

We then decided we would make policeman and a police lady collaboratively. The children also made some fantastic individual pictures of ‘police’, some telling us imaginative stories to go with their pictures. We also started a floor book with some fantastic input from the children sharing what they know and what they have learnt. We covered lots of areas across the curriculum during our time looking at the work police officers do.

Upcoming Training: Risk Assessment (Wick, Inverness, Fort William, Portree)

This training provides an introduction to risk assessment and risk benefit analysis for all practitioners working with children. Participants will be provided with a system (in line with what is already in most settings) and documentation ready to use as well as the knowledge, confidence and understanding required to implement this effectively.

The training links to the guidance from the care inspectorate ‘My World Outdoors‘ 2016 and looks at risk benefits and children’s involvement in the risk assessment process.

Training Details

Wick – 16th February 2018, Noss Primary, 1.30pm – 4.00pm.

Inverness – 23rd February 2018, Inverness Royal Academy, 1.30pm – 4.00pm.

Fort William – 05th March 2018, Bun-Sgoil Ghàidhlig Loch Abar, 1.30pm – 4.00pm.

Portree – 8th March 2018, Highland Council Chambers, 1.30pm – 4.00pm.

To book, please log on to the Highland Council CPD service:


The new ILF Scotland Transition Fund

The following information comes from the Independent Living Fund Scotland (ILF):

The new ILF Scotland Transition Fund provides money, for up to one year, to support young people living with disabilities (as defined in the Equality Act 2010) to improve their lives. This includes autism, learning difficulty, physical disability, mental health (e.g. anxiety or depression) or hearing or visual impairments.

The purpose of the Fund is to help young people, between the ages of 16 and 21 living with disabilities, with the transition after leaving school or children’s services to be more independent and to continue spending time with other people.

Learn more about the fund by visiting the ILF website.

Upcoming FREE Training: Play and Learning into Practice (Aviemore or Skye)

This is a FREE introductory two-day course for both new and inexperienced practitioners and experienced practitioners looking to refresh their skills and knowledge in the value of play and learning.

Course Details

Aviemore – St John’s Church, Rothiemurchus Saturday 20th and Saturday 27th January 2018

Skye – Aros Centre Thursday, 1st and Friday 2nd March 2018

How to book…

Simply fill out our quick and easy online form:
Please note if you would like to book more than one person on to the course, you’ll have to fill out the form for each person.

Or we can take your booking over the phone: 01463 222569.

Upcoming Training: How Children Learn Through Play

This is a free course for all practitioners working in Early Learning and Childcare in Highland.

In this course we will explore the powerful contribution play makes to children’s development and learning. Play is intrinsically motivated, the right of every child, often driven by curiosity and is therefore a key tool for learning. We consider children’s early development and share practice ideas on how best to support this through thoughtful, well-judged interactions, relationships, environments and experiences which support children’s independent exploration, discovery and learning through high quality play.

Monday 15th January 2018 Millburn Academy, Inverness  9.30am – 3.30pm.

Please use the Highland Council CPD website to book a place on this course. 


The Right Brain Develops First – Why Play is the Foundation for Academic Learning

The following is an excerpt from an article originally posted on

Did you know that the right brain develops first? It does so by the time children are four years of age. The left brain, on the other hand, doesn’t fully come online until children are approximately seven years old; hence the first seven years being recognized as such a critical period in child development.

“Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere.” ~ Albert Einstein

The left brain’s functionality is one of language, numeracy, literacy, analysis and time. It is the logical, calculating, planning, busy-bee part of us that keeps us anchored in the pragmatic world, and in past and future. The right brain, on the other hand, is responsible for empathy, intuition, imagination and creativity. It is where we wonder, dream, connect and come alive. Through the right brain we dwell in the space of no-time, in being absolutely present. While the left brain is more interested in outcomes or product, the right brain cares much more about process—the journey is what matters, not the destination. 

Read the full article by clicking here.