Play and Learning in to Practice – free training opportunity taking place in Wick; September and October 2017


This is a FREE introductory course for both new and inexperienced practitioners and experienced practitioner’s looking to refresh their skills and knowledge in the value of play and learning. The course is delivered over 6 days and provides wide range of practical learning experiences, knowledge on child development and an understanding of how to provide an effective childcare environment.


Location: Pulteneytown People’s Project, Wick


  • Friday 1st September 2017
  • Friday 8th September 2017
  • Friday 15th September 2017
  • Friday 22nd September 2017
  • Friday 29th September 2017
  • Friday 6th October 2017

9. 45a.m – 4p.m each day.


For more information and to book a free place contact Care and Learning Alliance on 01463 703033 Or email

The SSSC’s new ‘professional simulator’ tool – help develop your assessment and decision making skills

The following information was taken from the SSSC Blog:



“Professionals working together and understanding each other’s role plays a vital part in protecting children and young people and comes up as a critically important issues time and again.”

“You can develop your knowledge and understanding of how to work together by using our web-based multi-professional simulator which we created to enable workers supporting children and families to develop their assessment and decision-making skills. Based around a fictitious family, this learning resource provides a safe environment for professionals to assess information then choose from a range of actions. This in turn leads to outcomes for the child and his family resulting from the choices of the worker.”

Click here to learn more and use the SSSC Simulator.

Highland Child Protection Committee – launch of new website


The Highland Child Protection Committee is delighted to announce the launch of their new dedicated website for all matters relating to Child Protection in Highland. The website address is

This brand new website is streamlined, easy to navigate and provides a wide range of information under the headings of:

  • Help and advice
  • Children and Young People
  • Communities
  • Parents
  • Training
  • Resources

All Child Protection training in Highland can now be booked via this super new website. Everyone working with and for children and families in Highland are advised to have a look around the website regularly to help you keep up to date with news, training, information and resources.

Norma Ruettimann
Training Development Manager and Chair Keeping Children Safe Reference Group

Book your place at the 2017 CALA Conference!


Our annual conference will take place on September 28th at Culloden-Balloch Baptist Church, Inverness. If you haven’t yet, head over to the conference page of our website for more information and to book your place.

The theme of this year’s conference is: Workforce Development: Today’s Children are Tomorrow’s Future.

We have a number of fantastic workshops planned for the day, as well as a keynote address from James Hempsall OBE, National Programme Director for Childcare Works.


Workshop 1: Developing the Young Workforce

Aileen Mackay (Strategic Quality Improvement Officer for Highland) and colleagues will share expectations for ELC in planning and providing a breadth of rich relevant play experiences to develop children’s understanding to the wider world of work and take a quick look of where we are on the DYW journey and what else we could be doing.

Workshop 2: Early Learning and Childcare: Routes and Transitions

Dr Alice J F Mongiello, BA Childhood Practice Programme Leader from at UHI Highlands and Islands and her team will lead a workshop which will:

  • explore a broad range of routes and transitions staff/students can undertake whether they are currently employed or are looking to join the Early Years sector.
  • Highlight that these are exciting, yet somewhat challenging, times to be involved in the Early Years sector and as the workforce continues to grow, look at how we need to remain mindful of the provision offered to young children and their families. The aim is to maintain high standards as we realise and achieve the growth required within the sector.

Workshop 3: Developing the Young Workforce, Creativity Skills

Lucy McGlennon, CREATIVE Business and Engagement Officer from Highland Creative Learning Network who will deliver a workshop to support and develop delegates knowledge and understanding about how creativity skills are increasingly valuable to employers, and help us to be empowered, flexible and adaptable in our own lives.

Book your place today!

If you’d like to read more about our workshops or speakers, click here to be taken to the 2017 CALA Conference page on our website. 

Or, if you’re ready to book, click here to be taken directly to the conference booking form. You can pay via credit/debit card, cheque or bank transfer.

We look forward to seeing you there 🙂

Team #Openingdoors head to Holyrood


There was great excitement this week at #Openingdoors as we headed down to Edinburgh to deliver a presentation all about #Openingdoors and it’s ‘innovative approach to developing the Early Learning and Childcare Workforce’.


We were delighted to be invited by Holyrood Magazine to be part of their Developing the Early Years Workforce event and join an incredible list of speakers, such as Professor Iram Siraj, Sue Palmer, Alison Cumming and many others. In preparation for the event some of our fantastic #Openingdoors graduates soon got to work creating video clips for the day that highlighted their unique journeys into a career in Childcare. A huge thank you to Hayley and Zoe for dedicating so much time to this, and to Cougar for all his patience editing the footage.

Our Modern Apprentice, and one of our #Openingdoors Youth Ambassadors, Rebecca, also prepared and delivered an inspiring speech detailing her experiences as a Youth Ambassador for #Openingdoors where she enjoys motivating young people by sharing her own story regarding achieving her goals through hard work and determination.


When asked what it was like to take part in the presentation Rebecca said:

This was my first time speaking at an event like this and I was really nervous. As an #Openingdoors Youth Ambassador I was able to calm my nerves knowing that I was the voice for a large number of #Openingdoors graduates and participants whose voices wouldn’t have been heard otherwise, so it was a huge honour attend on their behalf!


Our new Chief Executive, Jaci Douglas, introduced our presentation and gave an illuminating overview of Care and Learning Alliance and its commitment to empowering and supporting young people through the #Openingdoors programme. Jaci illustrated #Openingdoors’ key objectives and highlighted our dedication to providing young people with bespoke mentoring support that has real, tangible outcomes that are meaningful to each young person, so that they can begin their journey in accessing a career they feel truly passionate about.

We had such a fantastic and inspirational day with Holyrood Magazine, all the speakers and delegates – thank you again for having us!

What’s next……..

#Openingdoors is now progressing rapidly through its third year of provision where it continues to evolve and develop in response to the needs of young people wishing to access a career in childcare. Our geographical area has expanded for year 3 provision and we are now supporting young people in the Ullapool and surrounding areas alongside our inner Moray Firth cohort. We are also very excited to be taking part in CALA’s annual conference – ‘Workforce Development – Today’s Children are Tomorrow’s Future”. #itscala17

The story so far………..

By the end of year 2 (April 2017) 48 young people had taken part in #Openingdoors. 14 candidates have exited #Openingdoors directly into employment within the childcare sector, 7 candidates have exited into or maintained employment in another sector, 13 exited into or maintained college placements and 6 exited to focus on parenting their own families. 5 candidates continue to volunteer in the childcare sector, 2 candidates exited onto another employability programme and 1 candidate exited as she had to move out of area at short notice.

Please feel free to read our Year 2 report for further details.

Further Reading

Playday 2017 Research Survey

The following blog post comes from the Play Scotland newsletter: 


We need your help! To date we have had a tremendous response to the Playday survey but we need more responses before this closes on 21 July, and therefore we would be grateful if you could:

  • Complete the Playday Survey
  • Share the survey with your family, friends, colleagues and neighbours!
  • Add the link the survey to your newsletters and social media sites

Playday 2017 Research Survey

What do you think about playing today and how have play opportunities changed for children, families and communities through time? We want to hear what you think.

Playday, the national day to celebrate play, is 30 years old this year. The national organisations that promote play in the UK want to find out how play opportunities have changed over these years and need your help.

Could you spare 15-20 minutes to complete an online survey?

Please visit to complete the survey and we would be grateful if you could share this link with your friends, family, neighbours and colleagues.

Help us understand the nature of the play in the UK today and how this has changed over the last 30 years.

Closing date for survey is 21 July.

Thanking in you advance.

The children of Lochinver Pre-school get their hands dirty

The children of Lochinver Pre-school have been getting their hands dirty doing a spot of gardening. They’ve been planting, watering, and taking care of different types of vegetables, like peas, carrots, and leeks. Along the way they’ve learnt about the different kinds of food that grow in the ground, how to help the plants grow and how composting works. Click the image below to play the video:


Times passes quickly when you are having fun…


For the past 13 years, every day was a happy day knowing I was going to have fun through play with children and their families. Thank you CALA for giving me these wonderful opportunities.

I loved my job for many reasons, such as: being called the ‘painting lady’ , seeing children’s happy faces when you walked through the door of a Toddler group, with your bag of ‘goodies’

It was rewarding when a parent came up to you to say they tried out your activities and hearing the little children’s voices singing along to the Bookbug ‘hello’ song just melted my heart.

I could go on and on about what I loved about this amazing ‘big warm caring family’, but the main thing that stood out for me was , everyone is passionate about working with , supporting and making a difference in the lives of children and families , the drive, commitment and stamina everyone has is amazing .

CALA moves at such a fast pace which is a good thing as you never get bored! There is always a new project / piece of work to challenge you and build on your knowledge and experience.

Teamwork plays a strong and important part within CALA and I was so fortunate to be a part of such a great team. I have made lovely friends within The Family Support Team, and as I head off to take a slightly different path within the caring sector – I will always think fondly of them all as they continue with the valued work supporting children and families throughout Highland

To me CALA has always, and I am sure will continue, to strive in making a difference – with each member of staff playing their part to help make Scotland ‘the best place for children to grow up’.

CALA – I will miss you.

Jayne Watt
Parent Toddler Co-ordinator

The Little Lochinver Litter Pickers win an award!

The following blog article was submitted by Jane, Amy, Michele at Lochinver Pre-school:


When Nicola Turner from ‘Keep Scotland Beautiful’ visited Lochinver Early Learning Centre there was an extra surprise! She came to present the children with their certificate for the work they had completed with Wrigley’s Litter Less Campaign and being chosen as “Hero of The Month”. The children were presented with bags, gloves and a child sized litter grabber.

The extra surprise was being awarded another £175 for their Wrigley’s work! We were delighted to receive the extra money and hope to use it to fund the printing and postage of our “ban non-degradable glitter” poster which will be sent out to schools across Highland.

Learn more about the Wrigley’s Litter Less Campaign

Supporting children and families – new legislation to clarify information sharing provisions

The following information comes from The Scottish Government, in relation to new legislation on information sharing provisions: 

Public bodies and other organisations are to have a duty to consider if the sharing of information will promote, support or safeguard the wellbeing of a child or young person.

The duty forms part of the Children and Young People (Information Sharing) (Scotland) Bill, which will also ensure that the sharing is compatible with current law and will introduce a new code of practice for information sharing with regard to the Named Person service.

Publication of the Bill follows the parliamentary statement by Deputy First Minister John Swinney earlier this year.

Mr Swinney said:

“Earlier this year I outlined the next steps for the Named Person service, following the Supreme Court judgment which required changes to the provisions relating to information sharing in the 2014 Act. I am therefore very pleased to bring forward the Children and Young People (Information Sharing) (Scotland) Bill.”

Read more about the new legislation on the Scot Gov website.