Dr Anne Martin or Dr Paul McCrorie (Principal Researchers) are looking for Early Years practitioners responsible for children aged 2-5 years old to complete an online survey exploring perceptions of the risks and benefits of outdoor activities.

 The survey presents 10 different outdoor situations that you may experience with the children in your early learning centre. Each situation presents a different type of risk and similarly may offer different types of benefits. 

 The results of this research study will improve our understanding of educators’ perceptions of the risks and benefits of children playing outdoors, with the aim of enhancing children’s outdoor experiences.

 You find more information about the study and the survey here: Risk and Benefit of outdoor activity survey

Please get in touch with the lead researchers at the following email addresses if you need any more information:

 Dr Anne Martin or Dr Paul McCrorie – Principal Researchers

[email protected]

[email protected]

Information from Care Inspectorate

Childminders contact with Public Health 

Care Inspectorate has released the following information:

“We are aware that Public Health teams have been receiving a high volume of calls from childminders and would like to remind childminders to follow the Scottish Government FACTS guidance.

Childminders should self-isolate and book a test if they or a member of their household has symptoms of COVID-19 or if they have been advised to do so by the Test and Protect Team or the Test and Protect App. 

Health advice on COVID-19, including social distancing and stay at home advice is available from NHS inform website. There is not a necessity for childminders to contact Public Health unless further assistance is required”. 


Services Temporarily Closed as an Impact of COVID-19

 Update from Care Inspectorate states:

“Since March 2020 services have been able to tell us about being temporarily closed as an impact of the pandemic. You have done this by submitting an eform notification: “Changes to service delivery due to Coronavirus (Covid-19)”.

To further support providers at this time, we will continue to use this process. Services may continue to remain temporarily closed until 31 March 2021 due to Covid-19. Other services can submit an eform notification if their service temporarily closes.

We are aware a number of providers including childminders have been keen to retain their registration while not operating at this time and this process will facilitate this as we move through the pandemic. We will review this position in March 2021″.

Scottish Government note to all childcare providers

Statement from Care Inspectorate:

“The First Minister has announced that, following an increase in coronavirus (COVID-19) cases across Scotland and on the advice of her medical and scientific advisers, further measures were to be introduced across Scotland to slow the spread of COVID-19.  The announcement by the First Minister has no effect on current childcare arrangements and childcare providers should continue to operate in accordance with the current guidance.

The Scottish Government Early Learning and Childcare Directorate have issued a note outlining this to all childcare providers”.   

Click here to access the note

Transitional Support Fund

Don’t miss out!

The Transitional Support Fund for private, voluntary or not for profit daycare of children providers closes Friday 9 October.

Read more about this excellent opportunity and how to apply here:


Refreshed Early Learning & Childcare National Induction Resource

Scottish Government (Childcare) have announced the refresh of the ELC National Induction Resource.

They state:

The ELC National Induction Resource,  produced collaboratively with leading partners, has been refreshed to provide new ELC employees with all the relevant information they need on what to expect in their first few months in post, including the most up-to-date resources and best practice.

Click here to access the resource

Click here to hear about the resource from Maree Todd – Minister for Children and Young People

We have also added the direct link to the resource on our CALA PRACTITIONER HUB for quick and easy future access.

Care Inspectorate Poster – Keeping children and families safe in your ELC setting

The Care Inspectorate has produced a helpful poster to help ELC settings keep children and families safe from the spread of COVID-19.

Click here to view and download the poster

Using ‘My World Triangle in Practice’ (CPL Opportunity)

Tuesday 6th October: 2-3pm

CALA members are invited to join our online virtual continuous professional development session – Using My World Triangle in Practice.

The My World Triangle is a useful tool to build a picture of the whole child, strengths, and pressures to enable us to identify the best way to support the child and their family and work with other agencies. 

We will look at ways to use the tool effectively and will also consider what Trauma-informed Practice is, and how we can become more aware of the impact of trauma for children and families.

Click here for further details

Click here to book online

Dingwall Ducklings

During the summer holidays, Dingwall Ducklings were delighted to have some refurbishment done. Patio doors have been fitted and decking built to make freeflow play from the playroom to the garden area easier. The lovely large patio doors have also helped more natural light into the playroom making it bright and airy. 

Many thanks to Kenny Ross (K. Ross Joinery) for fitting the doors and a very special thanks to Stuart MacBean (parent) for donating the decking and the workforce to get the job done! 

We think our Dingwall Ducklings photo says it all!

A special delivery supports children’s transition back to Reay ELC

Practitioners in Reay had a special delivery left outside of their setting this week! The children were super excited to open the parcel and find a tiger puppet and a letter introducing ‘Timmy the Tiger.’

The children discussed what they could do to make Timmy feel welcome and safe and decided that this week they would plan and build a special ‘den’ for him.

Senior Early Years Practitioner Yvonne explained that they will be using ‘Timmy the Tiger’ as a learning character to support children’s recall and learning experiences in a variety of ways.  For example,  before lockdown the children were working on a book on  SHANARRI and had started with SAFE and HEALTHY, using photos, pictures and children’s comments and descriptions. Next steps will be to revisit these encouraging children to tell Timmy the Tiger all about it, embedding and consolidating their understanding of what it means to be safe and healthy.  Children’s annual participation in the local garden show will be done virtually this year with Timmy the Tiger’s support to share photographs, recognise and celebrate children’s achievements with their families.

New e-module

CALA are delighted to announce the launch of their new module to the CALA e-learning zone – Gender Equal Play: breaking down barriers. 

Children’s understanding of gender is influenced and reinforced from a very young age through interactions and experiences with family, culture, lifestyle, the media, education, childcare environments and the wider community.

The module will support parents and practitioners understanding of how to support gender equality through nonbiased practice with young children.

The module is a mixed media presentation which will guide learners through key messages in a clear, straightforward and interesting way. Video, audio, simple interactive tasks, links to national and relevant guidance, along with suggested further reading are suggested and used to explain and illustrate important learning points and consolidate learning.

The module is aimed at:

  • All Managers, practitioners, community groups, support staff or volunteers who work with or for children and young people.
  • Parent, carers and significant family adults in children’s families
  • Students and or those considering a career in childcare.

Visit www.calaelearning.co.uk for further information.

ELC Childcare Improvement Programme: Bitesize resources

The ‘Early Learning and Childcare programme’ announced the release of a series of online bitesize resources on the Care Inspectorate Hub which will support services to complete their Key Question 5 self-evaluation

Care Inspectorate state:

“The flexible design of the bitesize resources means all ELC staff can view the four sessions at any time – supporting them to raise their knowledge and skills in specific areas. ?Anyone can access them, so it’s a helpful resource for the wider ELC sector. ?They are centred on the programme’s vision which is to see an increased number of ELC settings achieve the national standard.

  1. Key Question 5 self-evaluation
  2. Quick wins in ELC Care Inspectorate inspections
  3. Introduction to quality improvement in an ELC context.

The sessions share some pointers and reminders which will help raise knowledge on the information and detail required to ensure ELC settings facilitate self-evaluation. “

The first in the series introduces and supports services in completing their Key Question 5 self-evaluation? The sessions have been designed to be viewed in sequence.

Click here to access

CALA Virtual Pyjama Party celebrating Book Week Scotland!

CALA Family Services Team has been awarded funding from the Scottish Book Trust to support CALA Toddler Groups to come together to create stories, play, learn and have fun culminating in a virtual pyjama party to celebrate Book Week Scotland.

Before we get to the pyjama party however our Family Service Practitioners are looking for your toddler’s creativity to help us write our very own storybook!

The story will be about a character called ‘Puff’ who visits our toddler communities across the Highlands. We need your help to create pictures of things you enjoy on windy days or pictures of your local area.

If you would like to take part, please send your pictures to [email protected] by the 16th September.

We will be posting further information shortly about our VIRTUAL PYJAMA PARTY!

Click here to access a short video with further details