The following blog post was submitted by Louise Gibson, CALA Community Support Worker:
This is my first blog in the new post of Community Support Worker. This job mixes family support with Toddler Group support and can be quite challenging in terms of balancing time! Fortunately I’ve been able to mix some family support with Toddler visits a few times which can be really effective. My experience from the previous CALA project Making Time for Play has been invaluable in helping me support families and also giving toddler groups a little bit of inspiration in terms of activities as well hopefully.
The area I cover is West – from Kinlochewe in the south to Lochinver/ Scourie in the north. Apart from Ullapool, my Toddler groups are all pretty small, often operating from school nurseries. These are very fragile areas, in many cases with a decreasing school roll which makes the support families can access through Toddler groups even more important.
I have had a great deal of support from the Head (and only) teacher in Kinlochewe who actively promotes the Toddler group, giving it free use of the nursery in a bid to encourage families into the area. The group also welcomes the small number of P1 pupils to join activities if I am visiting. I guess my only comment would be that while it is great to have the use of nursery rooms, they do tend to be quite cramped as you can see from the photo where we struggled to get a space to play with gloop!
I think one of the biggest areas of support for Toddler groups as well as ongoing advice on a range of issues, is Bookbug. I’m sure others find that parents and carers are a little wary of leading a story/ singing session and having someone along who’s not afraid to belt out The Wheels on the Bus really gets the rest of the parents and children involved.