CALA Family Services and Bookbug

The Scottish Book Trust, home of Bookbug, states “Bookbug is Scotland’s universal early year’s book gifting programme and aims to inspire a love of stories, songs and rhymes from birth.”  Throughout their early years, every child should receive four Bookbug bags containing books, and other resources which facilitate families to share songs and rhymes and supports all areas of child development.

Many CALA Family Practitioners are privileged to be able to deliver Bookbug Sessions, which are free, organised sessions held for children and their care-givers to share in songs, rhymes and a story on a regular basis.  These sessions have moved online in recent months and toddler groups are loving the opportunity to get together – albeit virtually – to share songs and rhymes together and listen to a story.

The number of groups requesting Bookbug sessions is increasing each week.  Over the last five weeks, eight groups have begun to meet regularly in Inverness-shire, Caithness, Easter Ross and Sutherland, with more set to follow.  This includes two Gaelic groups for families speaking or learning the language.  Feedback from families shows appreciation for the opportunity to participate in a shared, fun-filled activity with their wee ones.  Adults have commented too on the importance of this connection with other families at this time when so many feel isolated.  Following on from the Bookbug session, many practitioners also give an idea of a linked [email protected] activity supporting children’s development, which families may wish to do over the following week.  Take a look at the following video for how Bookbug sessions can benefit your child’s development:

Dr Suzanne Zeedyk – Scottish Book Trust

We also encourage families to consider downloading the Bookbug Songs and Rhymes App, which is a fantastic resource with lots of ideas of songs and rhymes that can be shared throughout the day.  Free to download and use, it’s possible to make your own playlist featuring your current favourites, find songs and lyrics and useful actions.  A treasure trove is just ready to be explored by your family!

 Bookbug’s songs and rhymes app – Scottish Book Trust

If you are keen to join a Bookbug session, please contact your Family Services Practitioner or the CALA office for more details on 01463 222569.

Scottish Child Payment & Best Start Grant School Age Payment

Scottish Child Payment is open for applications

Scottish Child Payment is a new payment for families on tax credits or certain benefits to help towards the costs of looking after a child. It’s £40 paid every four weeks for each child under six.

The payment starts on Monday 15 February 2021, with first payments made from the end of February onwards, but Social Security Scotland has been taking applications early to help manage demand.

You can apply if your child will be under six on 15 February 2021.

The qualifying benefits are:

  • Child Tax Credit
  • Income Support
  • Pension Credit
  • Working Tax Credit
  • Universal Credit
  • Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA)
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) Social

Security Scotland will ask for evidence that the person applying is responsible for a child under six, usually through the child being named on a benefit claim form.

If more than one person applies for the same child, there’s a process for deciding who gets the payment – prioritising the person who the child lives with most of the time.

Scottish Child Payment will not be taken into account for UK benefit and tax credit assessments and there is no cap on the number of children this payment can support.

First payments will be made from late February onwards. When someone gets paid will depend on how many applications we get and the process each individual application goes through.

If someone applied before Monday 15 February 2021, this will be the date that their payment will be calculated from. If they apply after this date, it will be calculated from the date that they applied. Payments will be made every four weeks following the first payment.

Find out more information and apply at mygov.scot/scottish-child-payment or call Social Security Scotland on 0800 182 2222.

FactsheetsScottish Child Payment Factsheet.pdf – These are also available in a variety of different languages if required on the Social Security Scotland website.


Best Start Grant – School Age

 

People with children who were born between 1 March 2015 and 29 February 2016 could be eligible for a Best Start Grant School Age Payment but they must apply before 28 February this year.

FactsheetBest Start Grant School Age Factsheet

Factsheets available in a variety of languages and can be found on the Social Security Scotland website.

 

CPL Opportunity for Practitioners working in OSC /Childminders in Highland

Introduction to Play Practice – 1-hour online session.

As part of Highland Council’s CPD staff development programme, CALA will be delivering a 1-hour online session on ‘Introduction to Play Practice’. These sessions are suited to practitioners working with children in Out of School Care, Breakfast or Holiday Clubs and childminders in Highland.

Date:

Wednesday 17th February 2021

Choice of sessions available:

  • 9.30am – 10.30am
  • 11am- 12pm
  • 1pm – 2pm
  • 2.30pm – 3.30pm

Full details and booking via  http://highland.cpdservice.net/ or contacting Highland Council CPD on 01463 702780.

 

Staying connected

Culbokie Out of School Club

Our responsive practitioners at Culbokie Fun Club shared how they had facilitated the children’s idea to show they were mindful of others by making small gifts and notes which they posted to friends so they would know they were thinking of them. This followed on from their discussions from children’s mental health week.

Several parents have been in touch with the setting to say how excited their children were to receive their gift. #SHANARRI in practice.

Click here to view

 

Family Services

CALA’s Family Practitioners continue to lead virtual Bookbug sessions, baby massage sessions and Gaelic sessions for some families across Highland.

Families who have taken part in these online sessions have said in their feedback, “online sessions are great for giving the kids something to look forward to.”  They are “not as good as the real thing but [are] the next best thing.”

 

Update from Scottish Government – Re-opening of ELC

Stated by the Scottish Government:

The First Minister today announced the Scottish Government’s intention that childcare settings can re-open to all pre-school children from 22nd February.

This is subject to continued progress in suppressing the virus and will be subject to final confirmation in two weeks’ time.

The Scottish Government has issued a letter to all registered childcare providers with more information.

You can read the letter here: https://bit.ly/3cynlWs

CALA 500

As part of CALA’s ongoing Health and Wellbeing programme, some of the CALA team have come together to participate in our very own CALA 500! Their aim was to work together to collectively collate their daily cycling, walking, running miles to see if they could complete 500 miles together between the 18th of January and 14th of February.
 
In true #TEAMCALA style, they met this target in just over a week! In order to keep the momentum going, they are now raising the bar and are going to aim for 500 miles per week!
 
Along with the benefits of getting out and about, the teams’ spirits are also being lifted by sharing of photographs of the stunning scenery from across Highland (and of course a few added extra photos of their four-legged friends!). We have shared a few photos below for you to enjoy.
 
We hope all our children, families, members and partners are finding time to get outside each day – it is amazing what even a few moments of fresh air can do for lifting the spirits!
 
Keep safe everyone.
 

Enrolment Week

Enrolment week for Early Learning and Childcare settings will take place from the 8th to 12th February 2021.

Children born between 1 March 2017 and 28 February 2019 are entitled to a funded Early Learning and Childcare place.

CALA has some available spaces in our settings throughout Highland.

Click here for further details of setting locations, contact details and information about each setting.

Further information on ELC Enrolment is available from the Highland Council  – click here

Funding Support for Eligible Childminders

Scottish Government have announced funding to support childminders business sustainability. Scottish Government state:

Grants of up to £1,000 each will be made to eligible childminding providers, and work is now underway with the Scottish Childminding Association (SCMA) to finalise the details of the scheme. Further information on how to apply will be published shortly.

Alongside the funding, a new Childminding Action Plan has been published, setting out the Scottish Government’s vision for the sector and the actions to support it that are being taken now and into the future.

Click here to access further information.

 

Update – Scottish Government

In the latest update today, the Scottish Government announced that the current closures of ELC settings will remain in place until at least mid-February due to the COVID-19 rates remaining high.
 
Nurseries & regulated childcare providers should continue to open to key worker/vulnerable children only.
 
Childminders can continue to stay open operating in line with the latest guidance.
 
A further review will now take place on the 2nd of February 2021.
 
Read further information – CLICK HERE 
Practitioners – for latest guidance and support CLICK HERE
Parents – for advice, guidance and fun play and learning ideas CLICK HERE

Scot Gov – (COVID-19): financial support to childcare sector

The Deputy First Ministers announcement today included information on financial support for childcare providers.
 
This information applies to private and third sector childcare providers and childminders and sets out the range of business and financial support that has been made available to the childcare sector.
 
Access this and other relevant guidance on our Practitioner Portal
 
 
 

Updates from Scottish Government

Childminders

There are no changes for childminders following yesterday’s announcement from the First Minister, Childminders can continue to operate as normal under Level 4 guidance, ie to all children, not only key workers and vulnerable children.  

The FM’s statement applies only to extending supplementary guidance for daycare of children’s services including out of school care to the end of January.  We will keep you updated on this as information is shared.


Updated Guidance for Organised Activities for children

Scottish Government have issued newly updated guidance for the safe running of organised activities for children and young people during lockdown – this includes Toddler Groups. Access the guidance at https://www.careandlearningalliance.co.uk/practitioner-hub/


We recognise that in the current climate there is a need for responsive and fast-changing guidance and information and the difficulties keeping track of this can create.  We endeavour to update our website with direct links to all sector guidance/information as it is shared with us – keep checking in on the dedicated pages of our website at:

Practitioners Portal at  https://www.careandlearningalliance.co.uk/practitioner-hub/

Parent Portal at https://www.careandlearningalliance.co.uk/parent-portal/