Announcing the latest FREE course on the CALA E-Learning Zone: ‘What makes a good chronology?’

We are pleased to announce the launch of the latest free e-learning module ‘What makes a good chronology?’

Get started by visiting the CALA E-Learning Zone and adding ‘What makes a good chronology?’ to your basket. 

This short, interactive module developed in partnership with the Highland Child Protection Committee (with multi-agency input), is designed for anyone who may have cause to write ‘chronologies’ (recording of events or dates in the order of their occurrence) eg. ELC practitioners and agencies including Social Work, Health, Education, Police, Adult Services.

This module aims to support greater understanding what a chronology is, the purpose, types of chronologies, key points to record and highlights the importance of getting this right so that they are effective and fit for purpose.

Watch our promotional video by selecting the image below: 

Instructions for accessing the course: 

It couldn’t be simpler to access this new free course, but if you’ve never used our e-learning website before, here’s how it’s done: 

  1. Go to
  2. Select ‘add to cart’ next to the Chronologies module. 
  3. If you already have an account, enter your username and password. Otherwise press the ‘I don’t have an account’ button.
  4. If asked to enter a coupon, just press next.
  5. On the next screen, you are asked for some basic details about yourself.
  6. Finally, press the ‘complete order’ button. 
  7. That’s it! You should now have access to the free course. 

If you have any difficulty, please do not hesitate to contact us at [email protected]

We hope you enjoy the course, made in partnership with the Highland Child Protection Committee. 

The staff and children at Junior World reflect on this year’s Mental Health Awareness Week theme

In recognition of Mental Health Week, the children of Junior World were discussing this year’s theme of ‘Body Image’. They used the opportunity to reflect and think about how they feel about their own bodies and expressed their thoughts and ideas creatively through drawings.

“I’m happy with my image although if someone is watching I am a bit shy”

“When I look in the mirror, I am very happy with the way I look”

“I am fast, skilled, athletic and sporty”

“I really love my hair and my smile”

Words Up – Early Key Messages Monitoring Tool

The following update comes from the Highland Literacy blog: 

Following engagement with the Words Up Early (Level 1) Key Messages Training there has been guidance developed by education practitioners and speech and language therapists to support practitioners to embed the Words Up Early Key messages in their practice. This guidance has been shared recently with practitioners in their second and third year of the Emerging Literacy networks.

The Words Up Early Key Messages Guidance Notes March 2019 provide an overview of how ELC practitioners and teachers can embed the Words Up Early key messages in their practice and the Words Up One Early Monitoring Tool March 2019 can be used to support ongoing self-evaluation and reflection on the progress that is being made.

CLICK HERE: Words Up Early Key Messages Guidance Notes March 2019
CLICK HERE: Words Up One Early Monitoring Tool March 2019

Subscribe to the Highland Literacy Blog by clicking here and entering your email address in the sidebar. 

Upcoming Training – Gender Equal Play

This upcoming training is an opportunity to support your implementation of key aspects of the
Care Inspectorate guidance, ‘Gender Equal Play, 2018’.

Dates and locations:

Inverness, Kintail House – Tuesday 4th June
Wick, Pultney Centre – Wednesday 5th June
Elgin, Elgin Academy – Monday 10th June
Fort William, West Highland College – Wednesday 12th June

All sessions are 6.30 – 9 pm

This is a FREE Training available to all CALA Members and practitioners working in CALA managed settings. Subject to availability non-members welcome at a cost of £12.50 per person payable at the time of booking. All bookings can be made online at:

Enquiries/telephone bookings to Rebecca on 01349 866749 or email: [email protected]

The Child Protection Toolkit

The Highland Child Protection Committee’s ‘Child Protection Toolkit‘ is an invaluable resource for third sector organisations and community groups in Highland.

Some of the topics covered in the toolkit include:

  • Recruitment of Staff and Volunteers
  • Protection of Vulnerable Groups (PVG) Act 2007
  • Transporting children and young people
  • Photographing, videoing and filming
  • Dealing with a Child Protection Situation
  • A sample Child Protection Policy

There are two versions of the toolkit available to download:

Download the CP Toolkit for Third Sector Organisations.

Download the CP Toolkit for Community Groups.

If your workplace is involved in the care of children, it is highly recommended you download the toolkit, and keep it on your computer to act as a reference for child protection matters.

#lovefromCALA Cheque Presentation

Care and Learning Alliance (CALA) handed over cheques totalling almost £3000 to two local charities following an incredible, energetic and innovative fundraising effort. 

The money was raised during CALA’s first annual ‘#lovefromCALA’ day on February 14th which saw children, staff, parents and other supporters cycle, bake, walk, run, jump and dance as part of the Highland-wide event.

Representatives from the two charities that benefited from the cash – Mikeysline and The ARCHIE Foundation (Raigmore) – were delighted with the £1425 each which will be used to support people in local communities. 

Margaret Kinsella, The Chair of CALA’s Board said “We were delighted to fundraise for these excellent local causes which help families and children across the area.

Debbie Campbell, Office manager for CALA and one of the key organisers of the event said: “We would just like to thank everyone for their amazing efforts on the day and for the generous support from sponsors and those who donated prizes as well. We will definitely be making this an annual event and the bar has been set very high but we will rise to the challenge again next year!

CALA’s Chief Executive Jaci Douglas added: “As a Highland based 3rd sector organisation which puts children and families at the heart of all we do, we really believe that we should be supporting other charities who have the same ethos and it was a privilege to be part of that. It was just a great day with everyone coming together and not only raising a huge amount for great causes but having a lot of fun and laughter as well!

Helping hand over the cheques to the charities were children from CALA’s Out of School club at Drakies who also did a sponsor walk and bake sale to raise funding on the day. The children said they had “enjoyed the big walk to the Beechwood campus to see the swans and the pond life.

CALA plans to run LovefromCALA again on Valentines Day – 14th February 2020. If you would like to get involved please contact 01463 222 569. 

Playtime activities for travelling

With the summer holidays on the horizon, the Real Play Coalition has published a newsletter with some ideas for fun activities parents and children can play during long journeys. From the newsletter: 

Keeping kids occupied during long journeys don’t have to be challenging. Why not take a look at some of our activities below? They’re perfect for keeping the little ones busy. What’s more, they can be fun for adults to join in on, too!

Read the full newsletter by clicking here.

Who are the Real Play Coalition? 

The aim of the Real Play Coalition is to “create a movement that prioritises the importance of play as not something that only lets children be children, but as something that sparks the fire for a child’s development and learning.

Take a look at their ‘Activities for Kids‘ page – a great place to find fun, creative ideas for keeping children entertained. The activities can be filtered based on age range, the number of children taking part, and whether the activity needs equipment. 

Upcoming training: ‘Developing Literacy and Numeracy Outdoors’ – choose from Elgin or Laurencekirk

This training is a practical, mostly outdoor learning opportunity where you will try out ways to provide rich learning experiences to support the development of young children’s literacy, numeracy and other skills. 

You can choose to attend this training in either Elgin or Laurencekirk.


Date: Saturday 11th May
Location: Winchester House, Elgin
Time: 10am – 3pm
Price: £35 per person (£30 for multiple bookings)

Booking link:
or telephone 01349 866749


Date: Saturday 25th May
Location: Laurencekirk
Time: 10am – 3pm
Price: £35 per person (£30 for multiple bookings)

Booking link:
or telephone 01349 866749

In this training, you will: 

  • Explore ways to maximise opportunities for spontaneous well as intentional learning outdoors through free and focused play.
  • Consider planning, resources, children’s learning styles, and meaningful ways to involve children in their own learning.
  • Reflect on partnership with parents, consider the benefits, barriers and solutions for providing outdoor learning and ways to progress along the continuum of implementation in practice.

The Importance of Rhyme and Rhythm (The Highland Literacy Blog)

The Highland Literacy Blog has published an interesting article about the importance of rhythm and rhyme in ELC settings. Click here to read the post.