News from CALA Family Services

The Family Services team have supported community Baby and Toddler groups around the Highlands over this last year.  Despite the past 12 months being far from ordinary, our member groups have continued to benefit from their membership in lots of ways.

Family Practitioners continue to support committees with up-to-date Scottish Government guidance.  A representative from CALA has been present at government meetings throughout the year, not only ensuring our advice is current, but also advocating the importance of support for families with young children and reflecting pressures on community toddler groups.  With this knowledge, our practitioners have been supporting those who were able to meet as regulations allowed both outside and inside.  One Chairperson said “We would not have managed to reopen our toddler groups without your help. We would not have felt confident enough about all the rules or even thought it possible. It was only through your help and encouragement that the groups re-opened.”

Family Practitioners have also been constant support for families as they navigate parenting and family life in such different circumstances.  Outdoor and online groups have provided key support to families as places to meet and to make connections with others, which supports the health and wellbeing of parents and carers.  They have also become forums to discuss home-based activities to support their child’s development.  Many families have also explored the ever-expanding resources on our CALA website, including our dedicated Parent Portal, Family Services page and Play and Learning page which encourages play and learning opportunities at home.  Most recently on the Family Services page, we have begun a series of short clips focusing on supporting children’s early communication.  The members-only Facebook page gives further useful tips and links. 

Member groups also have access to the MembersZone section of the website, which has useful templates and documents, to support the running of groups and a committee induction pack, with top tips for new committees.  As part of their membership, groups receive three vouchers to take part in further training from CALA’s e-learning zone. 20 courses are available, with topics ranging from an Introduction to Risk Assessment to Top Tips for Interacting with Young Children, or Gender Equal Play, there is plenty to choose from.  You can also currently access the ‘Supporting Young Children’s Behaviour for Parents’ e-module here, currently being gifted for free during COVID.

The family Services team have also recently undertaken Walk Leader training with Paths for All.  Partnering with other organisations, we can’t wait to offer member groups the chance to take part in Buggy Walks and Toddler Toddles, as a way to increase health and wellbeing; enjoy the outdoors and support child development. These walks are now permitted under government regulations and plans are being made to establish these early next term.

If you would like to explore membership for your community group click here or contact the Inverness Office 01463 222569.

As restrictions begin to ease and we can begin to get out and about more, our Family Services Practitioners would like to take this opportunity to wish everyone a Happy Easter holiday and look forward to seeing you next term – Happy Easter!

Consulting with our Youngest Children Toolkit

The Highland Child Protection Committee, Keeping Children Safe and Care and Learning Alliance are delighted to be launching the ‘Consulting with our Youngest Children Toolkit’.

As part of Scotland’s commitment to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) every child in Scotland has the right to have their views heard and taken into account in decisions affecting them (Article 12) and to be protected from harm (Article 19).

Consultation with young children is more than just asking their views, it is about really listening to and responding to them.   It’s also about facilitating their ability to influence things that affect them and help adults to know and understand their concerns or worries through the child’s eyes enabling adults to help protect them from harm.

Consultation with children under 5 years of age can be a little challenging!  However, it’s vital we take time to enable children to communicate their ideas, thoughts and feelings in ways best suited to their age and stage to ensure that we keep the child at the centre of all that we do.

We know that children need to feel secure, confident and familiar with their physical and psychological environments. Having a consistent approach to consulting with young children is more likely to help us gain a true understanding of the child’s world enabling us to plan to meet their needs effectively. 

The strategies in this tool can be used by adults working on an individual basis with a young child for a specific purpose or by adults who have significant contact with young children on a frequent basis embedding meaningful consultation in daily practice.

This tool will support you to engage in a fun playful way to enable young children to:

  • share their ideas and make choices
  • share their thoughts, feelings, likes, dislikes and worries
  • recognise their views matter
  • know they are listened to
  • support their sense of belonging
  • develop confidence and self-worth
  • develop their communication skills

The tool is ‘free’ to everyone and is available from our Care and Learning Alliance Website, Highland Child Protection Website and Keeping Children Safe websites.

Click here to access.

An e-book guidance document is also available to support implementation and for those seeking some further guidance on using the toolkit.

Click here to access

For further ideas and resources for consulting and keeping children safe visit:

Highland Child Protection Committee

Safe Strong and Free

Child Sexual Exploitation/Child Exploitation Awareness Day 2021

In line with the 18th of March having been Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE)/Child Exploitation (CE) Awareness Day 2021, Highland Child Protection Committee will be uploading a range of RISE (Reducing the Impact of Sexual Exploitation) and CPC resources to help services and communities identify and respond to CSE and CE in Highland. CLICK HERE

RISE Highlands is a new multiagency initiative to proactively identify & disrupt perpetrators. For further information CLICK HERE

The Scottish Government has also launched a Child Sexual Exploitation campaign with a website for young people and parents – CLICK HERE to access 

Everyone has a role to play in protecting children and young people however the signs of CSE aren’t always obvious and this can be a barrier to identifying young people that are at risk of being exploited. If you would like to know more try the free online module’ Introduction to Child Exploitation’ – developed in partnership between HCPC and CALA – https://calaelearning.co.uk/

Out to play – new chapters added

Today Scottish  Government, in partnership with Inspiring Scotland and the Care Inspectorate, have published 3 new sections of the guidance document ‘Out To Play’.

‘Out To Play’ is practical guidance to help create outdoor play experiences in childcare. The 3 new sections cover ASN, Childminders and School-Aged Childcare.

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, these sections are only available as digital copies at the moment.

·       Practitioners supporting children with additional support needs

·       Childminding services

·       School Aged Childcare services

 

 

Impacts of the pandemic on young children survey – help us to help you!

Thank you to all who responded to our previous consultation – it is hard to believe that 6 months have now passed!

CALA are keen to continue to monitor and understand the impact of the pandemic on our young children.

We invite you to share your thoughts on any impact you feel the pandemic has had on you and or your child/children via this simple 3 question consultation survey.

We will collate your responses anonymously (no personal information will be retained) and use them to both inform CALA services and share with the Scottish Government to help inform the direction of support available to help mitigate impacts.

Click here to access the consultation.

Thank you in advance for your help with this.

Gaelic Medium Information Day

Latha Gaidhlig air Loidhne – Online Gaelic Day for parents interested in GME

27mh den Mhàrt – 10:30-13:00/27th March – 10:30-13:00

Click here to view the programme

Click here to download and complete a registration form.

Interested parents/carers should return their completed registration form to [email protected]hland.gov.uk

 

Gaelic Parent and Toddler Newsletters

Despite the difficult times that we find ourselves all in with COVID 19 restrictions, our Gaelic Parent and Toddler Development Workers continue to be solution-focused and innovative in finding ways to communicate and support the development of the Gaelic Language with our youngest children. Click on the links to find out about some of the things they have been doing and useful links to resources in their latest March 21 Newsletter.

Click here to access the newsletter in Gaelic

Click here to access the newsletter in English