The First Christmas – Lochinver ELC

The wonderful children at Lochinver wanted to share the story of ‘The First Christmas’ with us – here is the little film they have made. Words and scene-building by the children of Lochinver ELC!


Save the date – Rewarding Careers in ELC event!

On behalf of Skills Development Scotland, the Care and Learning Alliance are delighted to be coordinating an exciting partnership event aimed at encouraging and supporting those interested in a career in Early Learning and Childcare by providing them with focused and dedicated guidance on how they may embark on a rewarding career.

Book the date in your diary and keep a look (and listen!) out for the free Eventbright registration opening in the New Year –  and our MFR campaign in February!

Please feel free to share it as appropriate. 

If you have any questions or if you would like to attend as a provider or stallholder, please get in touch at [email protected]

Rothiemay & District Playgroup and Balhousie Care Home – Critter Keeper Visit

Rothiemay Playgroup and Balhousie Care Home in Huntly,  have enjoyed a close relationship for a number of years. This intergenerational link is maintained through monthly visits between children and residents which help to maintain the meaningful cross age relationships.

Since the visits began we have seen increased confidence, patience and understanding from the children who regularly attend. For some of the children it has filled a void for those who either do not have grandparents close by or available to them.

On Monday 18th November we all welcomed David Low the Critter Keeper to the Balhousie Care Home  with his menagerie of exotic and furry friends.

Here are some of our pictures from the day.

Discover more about the many benefits of intergenerational working across the ages in the ‘Bringing Generations Together’ document from the Care Inspectorate. Click here to access.

Rothiemay Playgroup is a registered charity. We are a small Playgroup and rely on a busy fundraising calendar and sponsorship events within the community so that we are able to offer a wide and varied approach to the Early Years. If you would like any more information or like to know how you can support us please get in touch at [email protected] 

Santa Loves STEM Video from the Institute of Engineering and Technology

As most of us are aware, there is huge demand for a workforce with STEM skills (Science, Engineering, Maths and Technology) and the IET (Institution for Engineering and Technology) has launched its annual ‘Santa Loves STEM’ video (IET) aiming to inspire the next generation.

In the animated story, we learn how Santa’s children, Sammy Science, Tommy Technology, Evie Engineer and Mollie Mathematician saved Christmas. We are shown the STEM toys they were given as children and the influence this had on their hobbies and future careers growing up.

The video aims to show young people and their influencers the importance of STEM throughout a variety of careers. It highlights how a hobby can lead to a job that you’re truly passionate about.

As well as the film, there is:

  • Further information about how the STEM toys influenced Santa’s children: click here to access.
  • Ideas of some fun things to make and do at home using items readily available, including a dissolving egg, magnetic slime, a kaleidoscope and even a smartphone projector: click here to access.

Jólabókaflóð – An Icelandic Christmas Tradition

We all have different traditions, some in our own families and some celebrated across our communities.  We loved hearing about the Icelandic tradition of Jólabókaflóð from the National Literacy Trust.

On Christmas Eve, people exchange gifts of books and then read them straight away, snuggled up in front of the fire, eating chocolate or drinking hot chocolate.  What a cosy idea!

The National Literacy Trust is suggesting that this Christmas we follow the Icelandic tradition of Jólabókaflóð – the Christmas book flood. To read more about this tradition including a list of fun ideas of how you could adapt the Jólabókaflóð tradition and resources, click here.

The National Literacy Trust is also promoting the Gift of Reading.  More children and young people own their own books, but a survey carried out found that there are still many who don’t. The survey found that children who own books are 6 times more likely to read above the level expected for their age.  So that’s a huge incentive to share books with children is it not?  You can read more about the survey by clicking here.

National Improvement Hub – Sketchnotes

Education Scotland has been sharing some ‘Sketchnotes’ on the National Improvement Hub as a way of sharing effective practice and inspection highlights.

Education Scotland state:

“Education Scotland wanted to find some new ways of sharing effective practice identified during inspections. Using a sketchnote is a popular approach for providing a visual journey of activities. Sketchnotes provide a visual description of the practice and approaches which HM Inspectors have observed during scrutiny activities and are worth sharing more widely.”

Each ‘sketchnote’ example is accompanied by further background information, video interviews with staff, PDF examples and reflective questions to use individually or as a staff team to help you reflect on your own practice and identify any areas for improvement.

Click here for the full list of ‘sketchnote’ examples available on Education Scotland National Improvement Hub

ELC examples provided include:  

Cornton NurseryOwnership of vision, aims and values

 Riccarton Early Childhood CentreUsing data to ensure progress

Green Acres Nursery –  Transition processes at all stages

Draft Quality Framework for Early Learning and Childcare

A quality framework for early learning and childcare services

Care Inspectorate is looking for feedback on the draft quality framework for early learning and childcare services.

All early learning and childcare services, including nurseries, playgroups, family centres, childminders, and out-of-school care, are being invited to comment on the Care Inspectorate’s draft quality framework.

The framework will be used by services to evaluate how well they are doing and also by inspectors when they are inspecting services.

The short survey consists of 10 questions and will take no longer than 5 mins to complete. You can provide feedback as an individual or on behalf of an organization.

You can download the draft quality framework here.

You can complete the survey here

Closing date for ELC Inclusion Fund

Applications for the ‘Early Learning and Childcare Inclusion Fund’ will close on Monday 2 December at 12pm.

The Scottish Government’s ELC Inclusion Fund provides funding to early learning and childcare settings to support children with additional support needs to fully benefit from their funded ELC entitlement. All settings that offer ELC funded places can apply.

CLICK HERE for further information

CLICK HERE to access the online application form, case studies, and other guidance documents.

New Highland Council Safety Bulletin

Socket covers and square adapters safety information

Highland Council has released a safety bulletin on the use of socket covers which replaces the use of socket covers originally issued in 2016.

CLICK HERE to be directed to the Early Learning and Childcare in Highland blog to read the full safety information. This includes links to two very informative short videos that we encourage you to take time to watch.



Tools, resources and links to support practice

Education Scotland, National Improvement Hub: An Empowered System 

This guidance resource is for everyone involved in working together to improve children and young people’s outcomes.

Education Scotland explains:

“this is a developing resource designed to support our empowered system in its collective endeavour to improve children and young people’s outcomes. The draft jigsaw and supporting guidance explore the contributions of eight key partners in an empowered system. They encourage collaboration, collegiality and mutual respect between all partners”

The guidance resource focuses on the 8 partners to inspire empowerment and collaboration for improvement at all levels, including:

  • Empowering Parents and Carers guidance
  • Empowering Partners guidance
  • Empowering Teachers and Practitioners

For further information and access to the document visit THE NATIONAL IMPROVEMENT HUB

Improving children and young people’s understanding of their wellbeing

Children in Scotland was commissioned by the Scottish Government to produce this guidance resource with the aim to support children and young people’s understanding of their wellbeing.

The resource has been developed in response to the views of children, young people, teachers and practitioners who stated they would want a resource that provided activities that were ‘fun, creative and engaging’.

For those working with children in the early level, pages 6 – 23 of the resource contain a variety of different experiences to provide for children to help them explore wellbeing. All the suggested experiences focus around the story “There’s a Spider in my Hair” which is readily available online. There are also templates to support the experiences along with further reading and resources.

Click here for further information and to access the resource

Click here to access the e-book ‘There is a spider in my hair’




Parent Club

Parent Club is a new site full of helpful advice and information for parents and families with children of all ages,  for example, information on how to balance screen time supported with ’25 screen-free activities’ and ‘Tips to avoid a strop at the shop!’

This is an excellent site for settings to signpost their parents too through notice boards, social media, home links, etc. Click here to visit the site.

Safer Recruitment Through Better Recruitment Good Practice Guidance

At a time when there are so many exciting job opportunities within the Childcare sector, we thought it might be useful to remind everyone of the ‘Safe Recruitment through Better Recruitment’ guidance.

This joint resource from the SSSC and Care Inspectorate was published in 2016 as:

 “good practice guidance intended to help employers, especially those in social care, early education and childcare and social work to meet existing legislative and regulatory requirements in relation to the safer recruitment and selection of people who work with individuals who receive support and care from social services in Scotland”

Download ‘Safe Recruitment through Better Recruitment’ by clicking here. 

Family Learning in Scotland 2019 survey

Education Scotland – Family Learning in Scotland 2019 survey

Education Scotland is looking for all practitioners working with children and families pre-birth -18 years to share their views in their short online survey on family learning:

“Education Scotland is gathering information on what Family Learning programmes and professional development opportunities are being delivered across Scotland. This will help take forward the commitments in the Learning Together Action Plan and National Improvement Framework. Responses will be used to help support the quality of family learning provision and professional learning in Scotland”

The survey should take around 10 minutes to complete.

Click here to access the survey

Click here to access ‘Learning together: national action plan on parental involvement, engagement, family learning and learning at home 2018 – 2021’