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. 

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

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

Sleep Scotland – supporting families of children and young people with additional support needs and sleep problems

Our third sector colleagues over at Sleep Scotland offer sleep support to parents or carers with children aged between 18 months to 18 years.

Their mission is that “all families of children and young people with severe sleep problems, including those with additional support needs, can be helped to achieve a qualitative improvement in the whole family’s life.”

If you need support or advice on a sleep-related issue, why not give them a call on 0800 138 6565, or take a look at their website: http://www.sleepscotland.org/

Out of School Care Policy Update 2018

The Scottish Government’s Out of School Care (OSC) policy dates back to 2003 when School’s Out was published. This has provided the underpinning policy framework and guidance for OSC for the last 15 years. But in that time, policies relating to early learning and childcare, school education, child poverty and inequality have changed hugely.

Learn more by downloading the Scottish Government’s Out of School Care policy update.

‘Careers in Early Learning and Childcare’ – a new page on the CALA website

If you are considering embarking on a career in Early Learning and Childcare, you might be interested in a new webpage we’ve just launched on the CALA website. 

Our new ‘Careers in Early Learning and Childcare‘ page is packed full of useful information for anyone with an interest in ELC.

The page contains information on: 

  • What to expect from a job in ELC
  • Information on pay, working hours and holiday entitlement
  • Advice on the qualifications you will be required to work towards as an ELC practitioner 
  • Information on volunteering with CALA, as well as details of our #OpeningDoors programme and the CALA Staffbank. Perfect for people who’d like to build up their experience and confidence before taking up a permanent position in ELC 
  • Links to useful websites that provide further guidance on careers in ELC

With the expansion of ELC to 1140 hours by 2020, an estimated 11,000 additional staff will be required. If you’d like to be one of them, begin your journey by visiting: https://www.careandlearningalliance.co.uk/careers-in-elc/

Vote on what children’s play equipment you would like at the new Moray Sports Centre

The following blog article comes courtesy of the Play Scotland newsletter: 


Play Park designed by the community

Moray Sports Centre wants to build an inclusive Play Park at the new centre. They have contacted all local children’s groups, schools and nurseries to share the opportunity with users to contribute to the design of the park. Through this, they will be able to develop a design which the community wants, needs and will use.

Why do they want Inclusive Play Park?

Play is vital to a child’s healthy development in life. It is important to their physical health, as well as social skills. This park will enable children and young people to come together and play equally.

Inclusive Play is something that all children and young people should have equal access to. Children should have the chance to be able to play safely along-side one another.

 The Impact

Moray Sports Centre Play Park will become a facility in where children, families and the whole community can visit and not feel excluded. It will provide a safe and inclusive space for children to grow and learn while making friends and having fun.  This will be the only fully inclusive Play Park in the whole of Moray.

They would love to hear from prospective users on what equipment they would like to see in the park. Go onto their website here and please vote

Early Learning and Childcare (ELC) Inclusion Fund

The following blog article comes courtesy of Children in Scotland

The second round of the Scottish Government’s Early Learning & Childcare Inclusion Fund is now open to applications.
The ELC Inclusion Fund provides funding to selected Scottish registered ELC providers to support children with additional support needs (ASN) in Scotland access their funded ELC entitlement. It funds staff working in ELC settings to receive appropriate training and fund resources, equipment and adaptations to help meet the needs of these children.

Details on the funding and how to apply can be found at https://childreninscotland.org.uk/our-work/services/early-learning-childcare-inclusion-fund/

Closing date for applying to the fund is 5 pm on 31 October 2018. For further details email [email protected]

Not included, not engaged, not involved: a report on the experiences of autistic children missing school

Not Included, Not Engaged, Not Involved – Children in Scotland, Scottish Autism and National Autistic Society’s research report 2018 on the experiences of autistic children missing school.

The report, based on analysis of 1434 responses to an online survey (from every local authority) suggests nine calls for action and a range of further actions needed. Full report:
https://bsdev.site/scot-aut-report/download/SA-Out-Of-School-Report.pdf