Upcoming CALA Training: Nurturing Creativity through Expressive Arts

This is a FREE Learning and Development session available to all CALA Members and practitioners working in CALA managed settings. Subject to availability. Non-members are welcome at a cost of £12.50 per person payable at time of booking.

Click here to book your place. 

This training is based on the newly launched ‘Our Creative Journey’ by Care Inspectorate.

In this session we will:

  • Consider the meaning of ‘creativity’ in relation to experiences with expressive arts.
  • Explore the new resource tool ‘Our Creative Journey’ and how we can use it to further develop environments and experiences in Expressive Arts, taking into account the interests, stage and needs of the children we work with.
  • Consider strategies to further develop our practice in promoting young children’s creativity through expressive arts.

Course Details

Elgin, Town Hall, Wednesday 7th March 2018, 6.30-9pm

Thurso, Weigh Inn, Wednesday 14th March 2018, 6.30 – 9pm

Inverness, Venue TBC, Monday 19th March 2018, 6.30 – 9pm

Fort William, Lochaber College, Monday 26th March 2018, 6.30pm – 9pm

How to Book

You can book on to this course using our online booking form: https://careandlearning.typeform.com/to/NOmDlU

Or if you’d prefer, telephone our Inverness office on 01463 222569.

Please note if you wish to book multiple people on to the course, booking over the phone is the simplest method.

Early Learning and Childcare Sector Event – 8th March in Inverness

‘Are you interested in a career in Early Learning and Childcare? 

Come to our Early Learning and Childcare Sector Event on the 8th March!

As part of Scottish Apprenticeship Week Skills Development Scotland, Highland Council, Care and Learning Alliance (CALA) and Inverness College UHI are holding a sector event at the SDS Church Street Office in Inverness on Thursday 8th March from 12-6pm.

Whether you’re a school or college student, looking to change your career, return to work or gain employment we will have all the information you need to get started on your pathway into a career in Early Learning and Childcare.

The event will be split into ‘zones’:

Zone 1 will consist of a marketplace for employers and professionals from the early years’ industry to talk about their company and sector. We are hopeful that some of the employers will be using the event for recruitment – so bring along your CV and a smile!

Zone 2 will have a hands-on area where you can take part in a Loose Parts Play workshop and gain skills in creative play.

Workshops are at 1pm – 1.45pm and 3pm – 3.45pm. Booking is essential. Please use Eventbrite links below –



Zone 3 is for discovering the variety of courses both online and at college which can support your journey to gain qualifications which enable you to practise in the industry.

Rewarding, fun and challenging; when you work in Early Learning and Childcare, you change young children’s lives for the better.’

We look forward to seeing you there!

Bookbug Visits Watten


The following blog post was submitted by Jules Taylor, CALA Family Support Practitioner:

Bookbug is always keen to get out and about and share songs and stories with children so when it was time to celebrate Scottish Book Week he thought it would be a brilliant idea to ask if our Watten ELC and Toddler Group would like a visit with himself and his Family Support Practitioner, Jules.

So we packed up our puppets and lycra and found a super book that we both knew the children would love and went on our travels.

The children were absolutely delighted to see us, so much so we had to ask all the boys and girls to sit quietly for a minute and make themselves comfortable so we could start our ‘Hello’ song.

After we sang the Hello song and everyone sang their names so that Bookbug and Jules knew who they all were, we continued to sing: Wind the Bobbin Up,Incy Wincy Spider and many more songs and rhymes. The children laughed out loud at the funny puppets and all got to stroke “Incy Wincy” before it was time for our story.

We read Wendy the Wide Mouthed Frog. She is such a loud, funny speaking frog, the children howled with laughter – as did the parents!


After our story we had more songs and rhymes: Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes and one favourite the Nursery children didn’t know was the Green Frog song so we sang this a few times. Then we thought it a fab idea for the children share some of their favourite songs with us and there were a few Bookbug and Jules didn’t know but the firm favourite had to beOne finger one thumb keep moving. To say we were all a little tired after that one – hahaha. Oh and don’t forget Bobby Bingo…..

Sadly Bookbug and Jules had to say goodbye for now, so we sang the Good-bye song and the children helped tidy away all the puppets.

Until next time ………

World Book Day will be coming up on 1st March 2018 so another great opportunity to get together for some songs and stories. There are loads of ideas for all ages on the website. Maybe Bookbug would like to come along too! Learn more about World Book Day: http://www.worldbookday.com/


Highland Play Conference – 15th March 2018

Play Highland Conference 2018 – Sleep, Eat, PLAY, Repeat

Inspiring Equality and Inclusion in Planning and Delivery of Play

March 15th 2018 – 9.30am–3.30pm at the Culloden and Balloch Baptist Church

The Highland Council’s Play Improvement Group are hosting a Play Conference on 15th March 2018. The conference is aimed at all those with an interest in children and their play, and features an array of workshops delivered by leading practitioners.

The day will start with registration and coffee at 9:30am followed by a welcome to the conference by David Alston chair of NHS Highland Board.

Learn more and download a booking form by following this link: https://playhighland.co.uk/play-conference/

Upcoming Training in Skye – Play and Learning into Practice (PLiP)

There are still places available at our upcoming training ‘Play and Learning into Practice’, taking place in 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

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

How to book…

Simply fill out our quick and easy online form: https://careandlearningalliance.co.uk/training/plip2day.html
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.

Digital Learning

Education Scotland’s National Digital Learning Week takes place from 14 – 18 May and this year celebrates the Year of Young People. Find out more at https://digilearn.scot/digital-learning-week/

Why not have a go at some digital learning yourself by trying CALA’s e-learning on our E-Learning zone. Our range of introductory level modules are designed to support the learning and development of practitioners, professionals, parents, students and volunteers. Thanks to funding from the Scottish Government’s CYPEIF and other partners, we are able to offer some of our modules free of charge, others at a minimal cost. All courses are certificated to demonstrate your CPD.

What users have said:

Very easy to use. Interesting content in small bite-sized chunks of information which is perfect for me.
– ELC Practitioner, Inverness October 2017

“The animations and short video clips along with the interactive tasks really supported my learning style.” 
– Children’s Support Worker,  Moray, September 2017

“Very informative and relevant, easy to navigate.”
– Caroline, Childminder, East Renfrewshire November 201

“I love these courses, the fact that I can do them from home while my own children are with me is a great bonus.”
– Kerry, ELC Practitioner, Inverness, November 2017

Learn more at https://calaelearning.co.uk 

Missing People Training – Inverness – 6th March (Children and Young People) and 7th March (Adults)

Missing People are working alongside The Scottish Government, Shelter Scotland and Barnardo’s to deliver training exploring Returned Discussions. Returned Discussion is part of the Scottish Government response to the National Framework for Missing persons in Scotland and aims to work with relevant professionals and practitioners to enable early and positive intervention with vulnerable individuals to limit and prevent missing episodes from occurring across Scotland.

Missing People have kindly agreed to bring this training to Inverness on 6th and 7th March free of charge.

You can sign up for this training now: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/o/missing-people-10626570914. Please apply ASAP if you do want to attend.

– Norma Ruettimann – CALA Training Development Manager

Highland Hero Week – Mon 5th to Sun 11th March

The following blog post comes from our friends at Safe Strong and Free:

We encourage all staff and children to join us by dressing as a Hero and donating £1 to Safe Strong and Free.  Our SSF Heroes will also be out visiting as many nurseries as possible.  Looking forward to celebrating with you.

Add to your diary now! ?

– Laura from Safe Strong and Free

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

There are still places available for Risk Assessment training. Choose from Wick, Inverness, Fort Willian or Portree. 

Book now using the Highland Council CPD calendar: http://highland.cpdservice.net/

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: http://highland.cpdservice.net/


Golspie ELC Celebrate Burns Day

For snack, we had haggis, neeps and tatties. We learnt that neeps are also called turnips and that tatties are really potatoes.

After snack, we had a special visit from a pupil who plays the Bagpipes at Golspie High School and he played “Amazing Grace” for us. The Bagpipes sounded a lot better than Julie pretending to play them. 

The boys and girls at Golspie ELC enjoyed celebrating and learning about Burns night.

– Julie Shaw, Golspie ELC Manager