Merry Christmas from all at CALA

Seasons Greetings to everyone from all at CALA, this filled us with Christmas cheer – hope it does for you too!


Launch of Consultation on Early Learning and Childcare Statutory Guidance

The Scottish Government launched a consultation on the updated Early Learning and Childcare Statutory Guidance. The consultation will provide an opportunity for everyone involved in early learning and childcare to provide their views before the guidance is finalised.


Scottish Government state:

The Guidance will support local authorities in exercising their functions in relation to the delivery of early learning and childcare from 1 August 2020. It refreshes the Statutory Guidance published in 2014 and reflects the changes in the policy and legislative framework for the delivery of early learning and childcare. This includes the legislative changes, which were agreed by the Scottish Parliament in June 2019, to increase the statutory funded early learning and childcare entitlement for eligible children from 600 hours to 1140 hours from August 2020 and to support the implementation of the expanded entitlement”.

 Who should complete the consultation?

Everyone involved in early learning and childcare.

The consultation on the updated statutory guidance document can be found at:  

The consultation will run until 4 March 2020.

‘On-line Safety Awareness’ session

New computer games for Christmas? Kids playing games on-line? Are you feeling a little bit like it’s all an alien language and wish you knew more about it?

Useful for parents, carers, childminders and anyone working with or for children and young people, this free session will provide you with information and guidance to help you support your child or young person to stay safe on-line.

The workshop will be delivered by Robert Quigley, Digital Development/Online Safety Officer with Highland Council

This FREE training is available to everyone and bookings can be made via the CALA Inverness Office 01463 703033 or online by clicking here

Booking closes on 15th January 2020

The First Christmas – Lochinver ELC

The wonderful children at Lochinver wanted to share the story of ‘The First Christmas’ with us – here is the little film they have made. Words and scene-building by the children of Lochinver ELC!


Save the date – Rewarding Careers in ELC event!

On behalf of Skills Development Scotland, the Care and Learning Alliance are delighted to be coordinating an exciting partnership event aimed at encouraging and supporting those interested in a career in Early Learning and Childcare by providing them with focused and dedicated guidance on how they may embark on a rewarding career.

Book the date in your diary and keep a look (and listen!) out for the free Eventbright registration opening in the New Year –  and our MFR campaign in February!

Please feel free to share it as appropriate. 

If you have any questions or if you would like to attend as a provider or stallholder, please get in touch at [email protected]

Rothiemay & District Playgroup and Balhousie Care Home – Critter Keeper Visit

Rothiemay Playgroup and Balhousie Care Home in Huntly,  have enjoyed a close relationship for a number of years. This intergenerational link is maintained through monthly visits between children and residents which help to maintain the meaningful cross age relationships.

Since the visits began we have seen increased confidence, patience and understanding from the children who regularly attend. For some of the children it has filled a void for those who either do not have grandparents close by or available to them.

On Monday 18th November we all welcomed David Low the Critter Keeper to the Balhousie Care Home  with his menagerie of exotic and furry friends.

Here are some of our pictures from the day.

Discover more about the many benefits of intergenerational working across the ages in the ‘Bringing Generations Together’ document from the Care Inspectorate. Click here to access.

Rothiemay Playgroup is a registered charity. We are a small Playgroup and rely on a busy fundraising calendar and sponsorship events within the community so that we are able to offer a wide and varied approach to the Early Years. If you would like any more information or like to know how you can support us please get in touch at [email protected] 

Santa Loves STEM Video from the Institute of Engineering and Technology

As most of us are aware, there is huge demand for a workforce with STEM skills (Science, Engineering, Maths and Technology) and the IET (Institution for Engineering and Technology) has launched its annual ‘Santa Loves STEM’ video (IET) aiming to inspire the next generation.

In the animated story, we learn how Santa’s children, Sammy Science, Tommy Technology, Evie Engineer and Mollie Mathematician saved Christmas. We are shown the STEM toys they were given as children and the influence this had on their hobbies and future careers growing up.

The video aims to show young people and their influencers the importance of STEM throughout a variety of careers. It highlights how a hobby can lead to a job that you’re truly passionate about.

As well as the film, there is:

  • Further information about how the STEM toys influenced Santa’s children: click here to access.
  • Ideas of some fun things to make and do at home using items readily available, including a dissolving egg, magnetic slime, a kaleidoscope and even a smartphone projector: click here to access.

Jólabókaflóð – An Icelandic Christmas Tradition

We all have different traditions, some in our own families and some celebrated across our communities.  We loved hearing about the Icelandic tradition of Jólabókaflóð from the National Literacy Trust.

On Christmas Eve, people exchange gifts of books and then read them straight away, snuggled up in front of the fire, eating chocolate or drinking hot chocolate.  What a cosy idea!

The National Literacy Trust is suggesting that this Christmas we follow the Icelandic tradition of Jólabókaflóð – the Christmas book flood. To read more about this tradition including a list of fun ideas of how you could adapt the Jólabókaflóð tradition and resources, click here.

The National Literacy Trust is also promoting the Gift of Reading.  More children and young people own their own books, but a survey carried out found that there are still many who don’t. The survey found that children who own books are 6 times more likely to read above the level expected for their age.  So that’s a huge incentive to share books with children is it not?  You can read more about the survey by clicking here.

Child Sexual Exploitation

The ‘Upstream Project ‘by Stop it Now (UK & Ireland) was launched yesterday in Scotland. ‘Stop it Now UK & Ireland!’ is a project solely to tackle child sexual abuse. Their new ‘Upstream Project’ has been set up in Scotland to provide practical advice to anyone worried about the abuse of a young person and also includes help for anyone “worried about their own thoughts, feelings or behaviour towards children”.

Visit the ‘STOP IT NOW  – Upstream Project’ to learn more.

Sadly, CSE is a significant issue for children and young people in the UK and is more prevalent and widespread than you may think. This is in part due to the ever-growing use of technology in our communications. If you would like to be better informed about the subject of Child Sexual Exploitation, you may find our ‘Introduction to Child Sexual Exploitation’ e-learning module useful.

The ‘free’ module is therefore highly relevant for anyone working with children, young people and families and will provide a comprehensive introduction to this challenging subject

Click here to access ‘Introduction to Child Sexual Exploitation’