Upcoming training: Needs, Connections and Development

Care and Learning Alliance are pleased to announce our upcoming training: ‘Needs, Connections and Development’. 

Sessions will be taking place in Inverness and Elgin, both in March 2019. Please see our course flyer for more information. 

Click here to book online.

Book your place by filling out our online booking form, or telephone Rebecca on 01349 866749

Out to Play – Practical guidance for creating outdoor play experiences in early learning and childcare

This comprehensive guidance is full of useful tips, practical ideas and links to examples to support us to consider ways to ensure we provide children with the benefits of everyday outdoor play. This publication builds on and links with existing guidance including eg. My World Outdoors, Loose Parts Play, Building the Ambition, Pre-Birth to Three, CfE, The Continuous Learning Framework and many more.

Click here to download the guidance. 

SQA Early Learning and Childcare Resource

The SQA (Scottish Qualifications Authority) has developed a website that offers free resources designed to support learners studying for Early Learning and Childcare qualifications. 

You can access the website by visiting: http://www.elcresource.co.uk/

There are sections on early baby, outdoor nurseries, pre-school, care experience, as well as information on careers in ELC. 

Lochinver ELC hunt for the perfect Christmas tree

The following blog post was submitted by the staff at Lochinver ELC: 


The fun and learning opportunities when you go searching for a Christmas tree are endless.

The children first had to think about where the tree would go and measure the space…. “with what?” Remembering the big number was tricky but it was the same height as Jane’s shoulders. Saws are sharp and dangerous but not our folding saw! Which tree to choose? Children learnt a new word “evergreen” and discovered some had “needles” not leaves. We even made up a new song!

Of course, when we returned, the tree was hung upside down the old traditional way!

Merry Christmas!

Click on the image below to watch a video of Lochinver’s Christmas Tree hunt! 

“Food Matters” – A new resource from the Care Inspectorate (featuring Junior World)

Food Matters is a resource by the Care Inspectorate that highlights examples of good practice from across the ELC sector in relation to food and nutrition. The resource compliments NHS Health Scotland’s ‘Setting the Table‘, the nutritional guidance and food standards for the ELC sector. 

You can view the resource on the Care Inspectorate website by clicking here.

The guidance features case studies from ELC settings across Scotland, including Junior World in Nairn. 

Here’s an excerpt from the guidance, in which Jayne Macintosh, Junior World Manager, talks about their gardening project: 

“Donations of seeds, bulbs and resources for the garden led to them growing produce. Children
delighted in growing their own strawberries and commented that they tasted better than any they had
eaten before. The gardening project expanded to include growing radishes, cucumbers, and tomatoes
as well as herbs and flowers. The children now take extra delight in ensuring that Jayne, the manager,
always has fresh flowers in her office. They also show their parents what they have been doing, taking
real pride in their achievements.”

CALA practitioner Elizabeth Reid presented with award by Drew Hendry MSP

Congratulations to Elizabeth Reid, Assistant Childcare Practitioner at Junior World in Nairn. Elizabeth recently received a Saltire Ascent Award for completing over 500 hours of voluntary work within her local community! Elizabeth has also been selected as a Saltire Ambassador by Signpost Inverness and Nairn. 

Elizabeth expanded on her love of volunteering to us: 

“It all started from a hobby of mine, which was tennis. I started helping my coach teach younger children how to play. Shortly after I found out about Saltire, so I quickly signed up and ever since have been gaining hours. When I was at school, my friends started volunteering at a group called BIG. I was intrigued to find out more about it, so a couple of weeks later I started attending with them and I am so pleased I did.”

“Just over 4 years later I am still helping the club! I have developed friendships with the attendees – most of whom have been coming since the start, like me. Since leaving school just over two years ago, I have been returning to Nairn Academy twice a week to tutor the Steel Band. I am proud of the groups I have helped develop. It is great saying you help at a group but it’s even better when you love what you do.”


The award was presented to Elizabeth by Drew Hendry MP at the Signpost AGM held in Nairn. Here he is on Facebook offering his congratulations to the volunteers: 

Care and Learning Alliance would like to congratulate Elizabeth for her fantastic dedication to making her local community a better place. 

Kindness Calendar: Do Good December 2018

Action for Happiness has created an alternative advent calendar – one based on kindness. For every day of December, there is a suggested act of kindness. 

Head over to their website to download a high-resolution version of the calendar and to learn more about it. 

Action for Happiness describes themselves as “a movement of people committed to building a happier and more caring society. We want to see a fundamentally different way of life – where people care less about what they can get just for themselves and more about the happiness of others.

Only 2 days left to register for World Book Day!

Time is running out to register for World Book Day! Get your application in before 5 pm on the 30th of November, or risk missing out. 

If you’re new to World Book Day, here’s what it’s all about (taken from their website): 

World Book Day is a registered charity on a mission to give every child and young person a book of their own. It’s also a celebration of authors, illustrators, books and (most importantly) it’s a celebration of reading. In fact, it’s the biggest celebration of its kind, designated by UNESCO as a worldwide celebration of books and reading, and marked in over 100 countries all over the world.

If you’re ready to register, head to https://tinyurl.com/ybdoycm8

Or learn more about World Book Day on their website: https://www.worldbookday.com

Have You Seen The Leaf monster? Autumn fun at Lochinver ELC

The abundance of autumn leaves blowing around at this time of year presents many fabulous and fun learning opportunities for children of all ages. Lochinver wanted to share some of their learning, developing their understanding about hibernation, using their imagination and creativity inspired through running around and making discoveries outdoors.

The children at Lochinver ELC have been chased through the woods and around and around the play area by the “leaf monster”!

Then it disappeared and no-one knew where it had gone, but how could people help when we didn’t know what the leaf monster looked like? The children contributed ideas about the monster and then created their own version using recycled and natural materials. The monster hid in the leaves amongst the hibernating hedgehogs! Shhh, do not disturb until spring!

– Amy and Jane, Lochinver ELC

Muir Of Ord ELC (MOO) welcomes MOO FOOD

The following blog article was submitted by Laura at Muir of Ord ELC :


The staff and children at MOO invited Rachel from MOO FOOD to visit us in September to talk to the children and some parents about what they do as a group and some ideas of what we could do together here at our setting.

MOO Food is a community food company located in the Highlands of Scotland, with the aim to build community resilience by bringing people together to grow food, knowledge and confidence. Learn more about them at https://moofood.org/

It was agreed that Rachel would provide us with a raised planting bed, compost and bulbs to plant in it. Everyone is so excited about working together with MOO FOOD

Early in November Rachel and Jasmine came back and helped all the children fill the raised beds with compost and plant some onions and garlic bulbs.

We learned that the bulbs needed frost, sun and rain to grow. Our bulbs should be ready in Spring, so the children counted how many months we would need to wait before we could harvest them. We talked about things that could harm the bulbs and put netting over the planting bed to protect it from birds.

We have only planted seeds before, so planting bulbs was a new experience for us. One of the children explained: “you have to break them up.”

We have had so much fun, and cannot wait to harvest our crops. “We are going to make garlic bread!” exclaimed one child! See you soon MOO FOOD!!!!!

Scotland Works for You – guidance on the Scottish disclosure process

 ‘Scotland Works for You’ is the name of the collaborative group initiated in early 2017 with the aim of securing opportunities for people with convictions to lead positive, healthy lives that contribute to society. The initiative also aims to reduce both the stigma of having a conviction and the barriers to integration, through employment and education for individuals with convictions.

They have released guidance to support employers who are or are looking to, employ someone who has a conviction and offer information to individuals who have a conviction and are looking for employment. 

The guide is split into ‘advice for employers’ and ‘a guide for individuals’. The information in the guide includes: 

  • The different types of disclosure
  • Who can apply for each level of disclosure? 
  • What can and should be disclosed?
  • Creating internal policies and procedures
  • A disclosure case study
  • A ‘safer recruitment’ checklist

This is a fantastic guide for anyone who would like a deeper understanding of the disclosure system, or for people with specific questions about the rules governing past convictions. 

You can download the guidance by visiting https://www.mygov.scot/scotland-works-for-you/ 

Anti Bullying Week

12-16 November is anti-bullying week. Bullying is never acceptable and is something that can affect people of all ages. Those of us working in childcare have a real opportunity to help the children in our care to develop positive, respectful relationships with others.

Respect Me, Scotland’s anti-bullying campaign has a range of information and resources which you can access here: https://www.chooserespect.scot/

An interesting study in Canada has discovered that babies visiting schools can help children develop empathy and recognise vulnerability in others as well as themselves. This seems to have a positive impact in reducing bullying in school. To find out more about this you can watch a BBC news item here:
https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/av/stories-42776809/the-baby-tackling-bullying-at-school