World Kindness Day – TRACC

Practitioners in our settings have been encouraging children’s awareness of their health and wellbeing since returning to settings following closure during the pandemic. 

As this is Kindness week, the practitioners at TRACC Out of School Club suggested the children might consider kindness and wellbeing and make an individual pledge showing what kindness might look like. Initially, the children’s ideas of a pledge benefitted themselves.  So they had further discussion and also asked for CALA staff to share their ideas of their pledges to be kind to others.  12 members of staff replied including our CE, Jaci Douglas who said: ‘I always wave at the local care home residents whenever I walk by with my dog as they sit at their windows and just lookout.  They always wave back with a big smile – although it also benefits me as it makes me smile too’.  One of the children then decided her pledge would be to ‘say kind words’.  

Watten Early Learning and Childcare – Eco School

The children, families and practitioners of Watten Early Learning and Childcare are working towards renewing their ECO Schools Green Flag – here is a little update from them on some of the things they have been doing (please click to fully open the post to view their fabulous photographs)

At Watten ELC we have been busy working towards renewing our Eco-Schools Green Flag. Our two biggest topics have been Litter and Waste Minimisation.

We carried out several litter picks including one at Dunnet Beach where we learned about the harm plastic can cause to sea life. Linking with the local primary school we began collecting crisp packets and bottle tops for recycling.

Our Eco-Committee decided to make “Eco-Bricks” using plastic bottles and plastic which could not be recycled locally.  Over several months staff, children, and parents helped to collect plastic and make the bricks. Children were working out how to get the plastic into the bottles and using scissors to cut up the larger pieces of plastic. Some children even carried on making Eco-Bricks whilst at home during the lockdown.

Children were weighing, sorting, and counting the Eco-Bricks and we have now made over 100 and recycled approx. 30 kilograms of plastic. Our next step is to use the Eco-Bricks to make a planter for our garden.

Children also created a litter policy for our centre in the form of a mind-map and helped to make an anti-litter sign for displaying at the Loch Watten picnic area.

Doing this project has given children a better understanding of how we can all reduce, re-use and recycle as well as a sense of achievement knowing that they are bringing about positive changes to their local community and the wider environment.


Equal Protection

On Saturday 7th November 2020, The Children (Equal Protection from Assault) (Scotland) Act 2019 (Equal Protection Act) became the law in Scotland.

This change in the law will apply to acts of physical punishment or physical discipline carried out after 7 November 2020. 

Information from Equal Protection states:

“The purpose of the legislation is to assist in ending the physical punishment of children by parents, carers or the person who has charge of them. It removes the statutory defence of ‘justifiable assault’ under Section 51 of the Criminal Justice (Scotland) Act 2003.

It is important to emphasise that the change in the law does not change well established local and national Child Protection procedures. Those procedures will continue to be instigated as and when required by our officers, in accordance with Police Scotland’s policy”.

Police Scotland have produced information and resources to raise people’s awareness of the legislation and their role in supporting it.

There are two resource packs:

  • Children (Equal Protection from Assault) (Scotland) Act 2020 – resources for children and young people
  • Children (Equal Protection from Assault) (Scotland) Act 2020 – resources for adults

Quick and easy access to both these resources and further information are available from our Practitioner Portal on our website. CLICK HERE TO ACCESS 

CALA information roundup

‘Baby and Toddler Groups Online (title) 

The Family Services Team are excited to announce that they can deliver sessions online for groups of our Baby Toddler Group families.

We can deliver Book Bug, Baby/child massage, PEEP, [email protected] and many other activities such as songs/rhymes and storytelling sessions.

If your Baby and Toddler Group would like to participate in some fun online interactive sessions, please get in contact with your local Family Practitioner or contact our CALA Office via:

Email: [email protected]

Telephone: 01463 222569

Updated COVID 19 Guidance

On Friday 30th October there were further changes and updates to guidance such as:

  • Coronavirus (COVID-19): early learning and childcare (ELC) services
  • Coronavirus (COVID-19): childminder services guidance
  • Coronavirus (COVID-19): school-aged childcare services

To make sure we support you to access the guidance, updated information and support resources as quickly and as easy as possible, we have put these and much more all on our PRACTITIONER PORTAL.

Click here to access

COVID-19 education recovery

This resource from Education Scotland provides a single point of access to guidance and support for COVID-19 recovery. It includes key advice from the Scottish Government’s COVID-19 Education Recovery Group (CERG), and from sources approved by CERG.

It will be updated weekly until further notice. Where there are revised versions of earlier publications, these revisions will be highlighted

Click here to access

Fledglink APP

The new Fledglink app (endorsed by DWP Job help website) aimed at young people, has just been launched and is available now!

This is an attractive way of bringing free employability support to young people from their smartphone, offering guidance on building a digital CV, connections with other motivated young people, explore new career opportunities and get free in-depth professional and life skills workshops.

Visit the website here for further information. The app is free and available to download on iOS and Android.

Outdoor Play and Learning Improvement Practicum

Outdoor Play and Learning Improvement Practicum

The Scottish Government is hosting an online National Conversation event to explore how quality improvement methodology can accelerate quality and access to outdoor learning in ELC settings. 

To join or find out more about the event email [email protected] 

(Information provided by Care Inspectorate Provider Update)

Coming soon: Pyjama Party Project

CALA Family Services and Toddler Groups coming together to create stories, play, learn and have fun. Culminating in a virtual pyjama party to celebrate Scottish Book Trust – Book Week Scotland.

Each day from the 16th November we will be sharing stories, fun ideas and videos for you and your child/ren to share. We then invite you to join us on Friday 20th November at 6pm for our grand finale Pyjama Party Video.

Bookbug is excited about our upcoming Pyjama Party and launch of our new story called ‘A Tiny Wee Puff’. He has painted lots of stones with pictures of ‘Wee Puff’ on them and left them at various places all around the Highlands for you to find. Watch the video below to find out more.

Further information about these upcoming events and links to join us can be found on our website. CLICK HERE

Increase in Child Sexual Exploitation

Following concern raised at the Scottish Parliament today with regard to an increase in Child Sexual Exploitation, a reminder that you can access our free e-module on CSE developed in partnership with Highland Child Protection Committee.

Find out more at 

Croileagan Inbhir Narainn

Croileagan Inbhir Narainn has full time funded spaces available to eligible 3- & 4-year olds. For further information about the group visit

You can contact Tia or Johanne on 07725881119 or email [email protected]



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: