Bookbug’s Big Picnic

BookBug, Debbie and I took our painting kits, Song Band and Storybook along to our Lybster and Miller Family Centre peep Groups, where everyone took part in our fun-filled joint session for “Bookbug’s Big Picnic peep Adventure”.

We Set out the paints, brushes, boxes and paper, and let the children be creative, giving them the opportunity to express themselves and explore the endless fun they could have with just their imagination. Both parents and children had immense fun just by simply interacting whilst having FUN.

ORIM and mark making were the themes for our big picnic.

For snack, the children enjoyed Bookbug’s Big Picnic – which included sandwiches and lots of other yummy, healthy snacks.

We read “Peep Paints his Room” – our families had fantastic fun with the song band, especially when singing “ Tiny Tim” and pulling it sooooo tightly and only letting go when his bubble finally popped.

We finished off with lots of stomping about and singing lots more action songs.

HM Prison Inverness – Peep Progression Pathway qualifications for fathers (and their partners)

CALA Family Support Project Coordinator Mairianne Nairn has been helping deliver 13 weekly hour-long sessions peep sessions with fathers inside HMP Prison Inverness. 

At the request of the Prison Governor, this is now the third time the programme has run. 

The following quotes come from the father’s who took part in the programme: 

“Peep’s had a massive impact on me and my family – without it, I wouldn’t have had that opportunity to bond with my baby.”

“I’ve really enjoyed the course, it’s made me feel more confident in being a first-time dad and I have discovered lots of activities me and my son can do together.”

“It’s helped me exist, I feel more like a father. Even getting to stand up with my daughter makes a huge difference, in a normal visit session we can’t get off our seats.”

Read the full case study by clicking here [PDF].

Empowering Parents in Prison

Mairianne Nairn and Gillian Forbes, supporting dads and their families at Inverness Prison

The following blog article was submitted by Mairianne Nairn, CALA Family Support Project Coordinator.

In my role as Family Support Project Coordinator, I have been working closely with Family Contact staff at HM Prison Inverness to offer a range of support and opportunities to dads and their families. Alongside Council colleague Gillian Forbes, I recently delivered a 12 week Pathway programme in the prison resulting in two fathers graduating with nationally recognised SCQF level 4 qualifications through the programme.

This is the first Pathway group to be delivered within a Prison in the whole of the UK and the first Pathway for the Highlands.

Every week we had a fun packed peep session, I’m sure the Dads and children would agree that Messy Play was the absolute favourite thing thoroughly enjoyed by all! After our hour of peep we waved goodbye to the families and got out the coffee and the chocolate biscuits and set to work on portfolios.

At the end of the 12 weeks, prison governor Stephen Coyle presented two dads with their certificates

Some weeks brought challenges, but the Dads were determined to achieve their goal and worked so hard, completing portfolios to a very high standard. We ended the 12 weeks with a celebration with the families and the Prison Governor joined us to chat to the dads and present them with their certificates. Thanks to the Community Justice Partnership’s generous funding we were able to gift each family a box of resources so they can replicate the activities at home.

The peep Pathway at the prison was only possible thanks to an excellent working relationship with fellow practitioner Gillian Forbes from Highland Council and Scottish Prison Service staff who supported the families along with all the other professionals involved throughout to ensure the programme’s success.

During the 12 weeks of the course, it has been a pleasure to work with the Dads to complete their portfolios and explore the topics. I have observed first hand the positive effect this has had on parent and child as their understanding of their child’s development and how best to support it has deepened. Peep is a wonderful programme that allows the practitioner to deliver an adult learning programme in a positive atmosphere with families learning alongside each other. I look forward to returning to the Prison to deliver another round of Pathway training where one of the dads is coming back to complete his level 5.

What is peep?

The CALA Family Support Team have a diverse set of skills and tools at their disposal to ensure we can give the very best tailored support to families and groups one of those tools is peep.

The peep learning together programme is an evidence-based intervention, developed by the charity ‘Peeple‘ and focuses on the all-important home learning environment and strengthening the relationship between parent and child.

Peep sessions come in all shapes in sizes as it is a wonderfully flexible programme and can be in a group, in the home, over a number of weeks or a one-off session. Above all things peep sessions are fun!

Peep sessions involve songs, stories, activities and discussion linked to the programmes five strands of learning:

  • Personal, social and emotional development
  • Communication and language
  • Early literacy development
  • Early numeracy development
  • Health and physical development

The peep Progression Pathway allows parents to gain a City & Guilds qualification whilst participating in weekly peep sessions then taking additional time to complete a portfolio related to their learning during the session.


Peep – Learning Together Programme

The following blog post was submitted by Monika Maleszka-Ritchie, CALA Bi-lingual Coordinator:


Earlier this month most of the Toddler Team were training with Peeple – a charity which supports parents, carers, babies and children to learn together. Peeple practitioners and families share information and ideas about how to make the most of all of the learning opportunities that surround us in everyday life and play. Research shows that the home learning environment is really important – and that parents and carers can make a huge contribution to their children’s school-readiness.

The aim of the Peep Learning Together Programme is to train practitioners working with families to support the home learning environment. We explored a range of topics, session plans and resources and discussed how they could best be used at home, as part of drop-in sessions and to support regular groups. It was also a great opportunity to meet other organisations which also work with children. Our two trainers Gillian Forbes from Inverness and Lyn Rutherford from Edinburgh brought a huge amount of knowledge and enthusiasm.


We all learned a lot and had great fun during the practical sessions. I loved singing ‘Alice the Camel’ (a new one to me) and have already translated it for my Polish groups… Altogether now…