A CALA news roundup: 5th June 2020

Think you know neglect?

Think you know neglect?

Highland Child Protection Committee in partnership with ourselves here at CALA was delighted to launch the latest free e-learning module ‘Think you know neglect?’, which,  since launch 5 days ago has been accessed by 235 users and counting. Encouraging to see everyone working together to keep children safe as now more than ever, Child Protection is everyone’s responsibility.

Access the module at www.calaelearning.co.uk

Child Protection News Bulletin for Keeping Children Safe

Issue 8 of the Child Protection News Bulletin is published and includes important updates including a COVID-19 Statement from Highland Child Protection Committee, online safety, Health and Wellbeing information and much more. Click here to access under KCS Newsletters.

Foundation Apprenticeship: Children and Young People

We were absolutely delighted to welcome new Children and Young People Foundation Apprentices this morning albeit an online virtual session first session. Candidates have got off to a great start with some tasks set for next week to help consolidate learning from today and sessions set from now until the summer holidays.

If you would like to know more about our Foundation Apprenticeship: Social Services – Children and Young People course click here

Volunteer Scotland week

It is #VolunteersWeekScot this week and we would like to take the opportunity to thank all our 26 volunteers who work across the CALA services for their outstanding support and all that they do. THANK YOU from all at #TeamCALA

Family Information Pages

We have all had many weeks of living through the COVID-19 pandemic as safely and as positively as we can. With restrictions beginning to lift we still find ourselves faced with a lot of new information to process and new ways of living to adapt to.

To make this easier for you in some small way we continue to collate the information we hope you will find most useful in the one place, to help you and your family navigate through these unprecedented times.

 You will find a wealth of information on looking after you and your child’s mental health, tips on sleep routines, behaviour and play for children of different ages on parentclub.scot as well as the raft of information on these CALA pages.

Click here to access

Watten Wee Ones

Watten Wee Ones is a voluntary run Toddler Group supported by one of our Family Practitioners, Jules Taylor.  She has shared with us how the committee has worked together to support their families during Covid-19.  Here’s what Jules had to say:

I just wanted to share the thoughtful good practice of Watten Wee Ones in supporting children’s play and learning during lockdown.

Watten Wee Ones used to be a small group, which was poorly attended but some lovely local parents agreed to form a new committee and became a CALA member group.  This enabled them to apply for funding and gave them the freedom to implement their own ideas and encourage more families from the community to join in.  The group is now thriving and last year received funding from the local wind farm which has helped them to continue to improve, providing rich play experiences for the children and families attending.  Each week they provide a variety of activities, usually in themes that run over a course of around 4 weeks supporting children’s interests.


Because they are not able to offer their weekly activities to the families that attend during the pandemic, the very proactive Committee has come up with the idea of putting together an activity pack to send out FREE to families that wish to receive one. 

When a family opens the pack, they find a rainbow with their child’s name on it. Packs include a whole range of inviting resources to support play experiences including kits to make and assemble, crafts, playdough, paints, puppet kits and bubbles. There are also some glue dots and lollipop sticks so they can make the box into a small world scene – nothing is wasted!

The packs have been posted out to families and here are some of the responses:

“Flora was very excited to receive her craft box today! She’s already had loads of fun with it (as did her brother and sister) and still has lots left to do! Thank you so much!!”

 “Cammie loved the box and has painted everything including herself.  Thanks so much for the box it’s been great.  We are really missing the group and Cammie has turned into a grump not being able to socialise.”

 “Amazing support and contact from Water Wee Ones, it ensures that we still feel part of a group even though we are apart.  The excitement of getting the parcel to cheer us up and give a constructive activity was just the pick me up for us mums and babies indoors every day with little social interaction.  Many thanks and thank you to the volunteers cannot wait until we are together again…. stay safe – Archie.”

The committee has done a wonderful job and this pack clearly demonstrates their ongoing commitment to supporting their families and thinking of others during these strange times.  

A huge Well Done and Thumbs Up from CALA



Update information and upcoming events

Care Inspectorate Update

ELC including childminders and out of school care

The announcement made by the First Minister on Thursday 21 May 2020 outlined the Scottish Government Route Map and a phased approach is planned to the lifting of lockdown. The First Minister was clear in her message that each stage will be reviewed and take account of scientific evidence and research before we move forward.

Click here to read more 

Share the Love 2020 – Fri 29th – Sun 31st May

The ‘Share The Love’ festival is  Who Cares? Scotland digital festival to support participation and engagement activities for people with care experience across the country during this period of isolation and social distancing.  The festival will include a variety of different activities and broadcasts that cover learning, getting active and showcasing talents. 

Click here to find out more

Words up Wednesdays

Speech and Language Therapy (SLT) team in Highland are hosting an exciting weekly opportunity on Wednesday’s during June to focus on one of the Words Up key messages each week.

Click here to find out more

Information on reopening of schools/childcare etc.

Letter to all childcare providers from Scottish Government ELC Directorate

Yesterday, the First Minister made a statement to the Scottish Parliament setting out Scotland’s routemap through and out of the crisis, including a phased approach out of lockdown.

Click on the link to access a letter from the Scottish Government Early Learning and Childcare Directorate to all childcare providers outlining what this will mean for us all.

Click here to access

Parent Club support for parents on the reopening of Schools/ELC’s

Parent Club ha provided useful information to help inform parents of how schools/ELC’s will reopen over the coming months.

Parent Club state:

“As you may have heard, schools are set to reopen this August. However, things won’t be the same as they were before the coronavirus outbreak – schools will be making changes to ensure that everyone stays safe.

On our new back to school FAQ page, we answer as many questions as we can about what those changes will be and how they’ll affect your family”

Click here to access

Information on transitions and Gaelic language learning at home resources

Early Learning and Childcare Highland

ELC Highland has posted updated information on Developmental Overviews and transitions to Primary 1 in the current situation due to COVID-19.

Read the full article on ELC Highland blog by clicking here:


Cluichidh sinn Còmhla’ – Resources to Support Gaelic Language Learning at Home

Cluichidh sinn Còmhla’ is a new resource created in collaboration with Early Years Practitioners who are linking ‘Bumps to Bairns’ play-based learning activities to language opportunities.

Read the full article on ELC Highland blog by clicking here

Update on the use of PPE in Childcare settings

Click on the link below to listen to a short video clip from Jason Leitch, National Clinical Director sharing information about what the science tells us and why childcare and education workers don’t need special protective equipment or face coverings while caring for children in hubs/settings

Click here to access the video

Playful Project Packs

Playful Project Packs.

We were delighted to receive a grant for £1000 form North Highland Initiatives Community Support Programme to provide Playful Project Packs.

Click here to read more about the project in the media article in the John O’Groats Journal and Caithness Courier

Update Information

Career Advice – Skills Development Scotland (SDS)

As First Minister has just announced, anyone concerned about their learning or work during the current crisis can now access free one-to-one career advice through SDS helpline on 0800 917 8000   

Click here to access the media release from SDS

Skills Development Scotland Online Portal – free access to online learning materials

SDS has introduced an online learning portal to connect people with thousands of free-to-access online learning materials. Additional opportunities will be included in the coming weeks and months.  People who have been furloughed or made redundant are being encouraged to develop their skills with the help of this new online resource.

Click here to access the media release from SDS

Children’s Parliament – National children’s wellbeing survey

Children’s Parliament is supporting a national survey for children aged 8 to 14 years old. It is designed to measure the wellbeing of children during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The survey is anonymous and can be accessed here.

Care Inspectorate – Young inspectors video message 

Our young inspectors have made a video to share their thoughts and ideas about staying safe and getting through the lockdown

Practical information and advice

With so much really useful and practical advice and guidance around we thought you might find it useful if we collated a few together to share with you. We hope you find them helpful.

May Calendar – Action for Happiness

This Meaningful May Calendar has daily actions for May 2020 to help us respond to this global crisis with a sense of purpose and meaning. 

Click here for further useful information from Action for Happiness

Top tips for bedtime = Parent Club

Many parents are reporting that due to the current COVID-19 situation they are seeing changes in their children’s sleeping patterns etc, Parent Club provides really useful advice and top tips – visit Parent Club and enter ‘sleeping’ to their search facility to view a host of options to explore.

What’s the Problem? – Stop it now

Being online with their friends, doing lessons etc. is the norm at the moment for our children – What’s the problem? – is a useful guide for parents about staying safe online and what to do if problems arise from ‘Stop it Now’

Click here to access

At Home with Ziggy toolkit (as highlighted in Education Scotland)

Road Safety Scotland’s free ‘Go Safe with Ziggy!’ road safety learning resource helps equip young children with the skills, knowledge and attitudes that will help them stay safe now, and in later life. Download the toolkit here.

Mindfulness – Information from NHS

NHS state:

“Paying more attention to the present moment – to your own thoughts and feelings, and to the world around you – can improve your mental wellbeing”.

This useful page provides you with access to ‘mood self-assessment’ quiz, information on ‘mindfulness’ and links to other useful wellbeing information.

Click here to access

Care and Learning Alliance

We have created several different pages on our website which we hope families are finding useful. Check them out at:

Keep safe information for families during COVID-19 – quick useful links to both national and local services to support families

 Click here to access

Play and Learning Ideas – lots of simple play ideas to do at home for children of all ages

Click here to access

Keep up to date with news from CALA services – our practitioners from each of our sessions are working hard to stay connected and continue to support their children and families. Each setting is posting messages and ideas.

Click here to access.

Child Protection – Information on how to keep children safe and how to share concerns.

Click here to access.

Week ending 1st May 2020: Summary of information updates

The Care Inspectorate  shared the following information:

  • Update for ELC and Childminders on the COVID-19 staff absences

“The recent COVID-19 staff absences notification that went live on the 17th April is being revised and there is no longer a requirement for ELC and childminders to complete these. 

Please continue to complete the daily survey for the Scottish Government, remembering to use the name the service is registered under, and submit it before 3pm”.

Safety Notice from Care Inspectorate

IRIC Alcohol-based hand rubs risk of fire

The Incident Reporting & Investigation Centre has released an information message containing guidance on the risk of fire from alcohol-based hand rubs. 

You can view the information message here.

Information form Highland Third Sector Interface (HTSI)

HTSI has created a COVID-19 response website – ‘Highland Community COVID-19 Response’

There are a lot of resources available for Third Sector Organisations – from Social Media tutorials to Self-Care

You can also register to volunteer – HTSI is maintaining a register of volunteers who are ready and willing to support across the Highland Region

Click here to access the site

Keeping Safe Online

With many children and young people spending more time online, it’s comforting for parents/carers to know that you’re doing everything you can to help ensure they do so safely. Have a look at these useful guides providing helpful information to help you keep children and young people of all ages safe online:

Internet matters 0 – 5 years,

Internet matters 6 – 10 years,

Internet matters 11 – 13 years and 14+ 

Parent guide

Click here to access the resources on our ‘Child Protection Useful Publications’ page under ONLINE SAFETY