Encourage and Support Early Years Skills for ASN (EASEYS)

Highland Psychological Services have produced new EASEYS (Encourage and Support Early Years Skills for Additional Support Needs) – supporting inclusion for Early Learning and Childcare Expansion.

Highland Psychological Services introduce the resources by asking us to consider “the impact of the expanded hours on children with Additional Support Needs (ASN)?” along with stating:

“Some of the questions in this EASEYS for ASN could apply to all children in your setting but may have more of an impact for children with ASN. What might be a minor inconvenience for some could have a dramatic impact on others. Adjusting your environment and approaches could make all the difference…”

This informative, easy to navigate resource contains a wealth of information including:

·         Together time

·         Communication with Home

·         Self-regulation

·         Quiet time

·         Intensive Interaction

·         Key Transitions

·         Meeting Additional Support Needs

·         Support Strategies Toolbox   

These resources and many more can be found clicking here. Why not keep up to date by signing up for the Highland Psychological Blog and receive notifications when new posts/resources are added.

Children’s Mental Health Week

This week is Children’s Mental Health week and this year the theme is ‘Find your Brave’. 

Place2Be, the children’s mental health charity has some useful tips for parents and carers to help encourage children and young people to ‘find their brave’ and overcome challenges. 

It seems that 1 in 8 children and young people could have a mental health problem so we probably all know someone who might benefit from some support. 

Check out their website  for more information and spread the word – Click here to access

Highland Council Guidance on Deferred and Early Entry to School

Highland Council shared reviewed guidance on deferred and early entry to school on their ‘elchighland blog’ Click here to access the post for full information and download the guidance.

Parentzone Scotland – I am an engineer!

A recent newsletter from the Northern Alliance highlighted the website Parentzone Scotland for supporting Family Engagement. This website is a tool to support parents  ‘be at the heart of their child’s learning’ by providing useful information on a broad range of topics including curriculum, schools, additional support needs and ideas for supporting their child’s learning at home.

Their ’Supporting science, technologies, engineering and mathematics (STEM) at home’ page provides information and ideas for parents to support their child in different areas of STEM at different stages of their learning journey.

An example of one of the tools is: ‘I am an engineer!’

Parentzone Scotland describes this as,

“a learning resource for families to engage in STEM activities using the world around them. The workbook is split into sections depending on the age and stage of children and families and supports them to learn about engineering in a fun and challenging way. You can find out more about the work of some real-life engineers and have fun trying some of the STEM activities and challenges as a family”

To explore this valuable resource and much more, visit Parentzone Scotland at: https://education.gov.scot/parentzone/learning-at-home/supporting-science-at-home/

It’s never too early to share a book!

We wanted to share a lovely example of how our Family Service workers are promoting early literacy and family learning through PEEP sessions which support parents and children to learn together. 

At a recent PEEP session, one of our FS practitioners was talking with parents about the benefits of sharing books with babies.  Parents of a 5-month-old baby were there and the Dad thought this a strange idea as his baby was far too little.  Staff encouraged him to try reading a story: he did so, and the little one was mesmerised!  When the story was finished he kept staring at his Dad until Dad read him another book!  Mum was so impressed with this she went out and bought some books for the little one and is now reading to him every day!

It’s never too early to share stories with a little one and there are a useful video and information for parents on the Parentzone website at https://education.gov.scot/parentzone/learning-at-home/supporting-literacy-at-home/  which also includes information about accessing libraries. You can find out about Bookbug bags available from the Scottish Book Trust here: https://www.scottishbooktrust.com/reading-and-stories/bookbug/bookbug-bags


You can find out more about PEEP here: https://www.peeple.org.uk/

Bookbug Shared Practice Event

Bookbug are inviting you to join them at their ‘Bookbug Shared Practice Event’ on Wed 4th March 2020, 10am – 2pm at Canal Park, Inverness: you can find out more about how Bookbug is being used by a whole range of practitioners in communities and family homes throughout your area and beyond.

For further information and to book you place, visit https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/bookbug-shared-practice-event-inverness-registration-85961143093

Letters to our grandchildren

The following is a letter from Mollie Rawnsley sharing the details of her exciting project has come to us via ‘Generations Working Together’ – If you are interested in taking part, or feel like you might know someone who might like to write to you, please get in touch either via e-mail: [email protected] or by following the project on Instagram @letters_to_our_grandchildren,


Hello to everyone

My name is Mollie Rawnsley, and I have set up a unique project aimed at bringing together two very different, yet equally interesting generations. As part of a new initiative, entitled “Letters to Our Grandchildren”, I am asking those aged 65+ to write letters addressed to younger people in their lives aged 18-35. It is my goal to then compile these letters into a moving and thought-provoking book that will engage young people and connect them with an older generation.

Mollie Rawnsley, founder of Letters To Our Grandchildren

Letters To Our Grandchildren is directed at bringing together two generations that currently have been pulled apart by cultural stereotypes. It is my hope that by compiling a collection of letters written by those aged 65+, that young people may develop a better understanding of their older counterparts. This seems particularly important in present times when mistreatment of the elderly is rife in our society, a problem exasperated by the fact that the proportion of older people is growing at an increasing rate.

I launched the project last month and have since attracted the attention of a number of newspapers, as well as the BBC, who excitingly, is coming to film an interview with me about the project this week.  To give a few more details, the letters should include words of advice about a specific life topic (some suggestions are listed at the bottom of this article) and should be a maximum of 1 side of A4 paper (small to medium handwriting or size 12 font).

Rena Barker, one of the writers currently taking part in the project

The inspiration for this project came from frustration. I think we, the young, can often express such contemptuous and patronising behaviour towards the elderly which I find very sad and such a great shame. I believe that our generation has been brought up in a culture that doesn’t encourage us to always appreciate the wisdom that older people have to offer and we, therefore, take those older individuals around us for granted. I wanted to find a way of addressing this by making a more engaging and interesting way for young people to connect with this issue and to better understand their elderly friends and family. I am passionate in the belief that this project could really connect two very remarkable and passionate generations in a completely unique and exciting way.

If you are interested in taking part or feel like you might know someone who might like to write to you, please get in touch either via e-mail: [email protected] or by following the project on Instagram @letters_to_our_grandchildren.

Suggested topics for letters:

  • How to find happiness in life
  • The importance of family and/or friends
  • How to find lasting love
  • How to cope with loss
  • Hopes for a future world

Please note these are merely suggestions, writers are more than welcome to write about a topic of their choice.

Happy writing!

Mollie x


Closing date approaching – Scottish Government ELC Innovation Award

A quick reminder that the  ELC Innovation Awards are still open for applications but will close on Monday, 13th January 2020.

The awards celebrate and highlight innovative initiatives that improve children’s learning and provide funding and support to further develop them.
Any setting delivering funded ELC can apply for a grant of up to £5,000 to continue to develop their innovative practice.

Click here for further information and how to apply

CALA E Learning Zone – New module added!

SOSCN – Activity and Well-being

This module developed in partnership by Care and Learning Alliance (CALA) and the Scottish Out of School Network (SOSCN) and is available free of charge for everyone to access.

The module combines key aspects from two training programmes: Activity and Wellbeing – First Steps and Next Steps which have been delivered to out of school services by SOSCN over   a number of years and is designed to help practitioners to consider how they plan, deliver and review physical play opportunities for children in their settings.

Through interactive content, films, interviews, links to guidance and support materials and a few simple tasks to help consolidate your learning, this module will help all those working with children and young people to:

  • Explore and be more aware of three resources – ‘The British Heart Foundation Active Pack’, ‘The British Heart Foundation – Early Movers Resource Booklets’ and Education Scotland’s ‘Significant Aspects of Learning’.
  • Identify how to use the British Heart Foundation – Early Movers Resource Booklets and Significant Aspects of Learning in practice to support how we plan for and facilitate physical play for children of all ages and stages that is fun, active and inclusive.

The module is beneficial for a wide range of learners, such as:

  • Managers, practitioners, community groups, support staff or volunteers who work with or for children and young people and their families delivering high quality play opportunities
  • Parent, carers and significant family adults in children’s families
  • Those considering a career in childcare

For further information and access to the module, visit CALA e-learning.

For information about CALA Training services click here

For information about SOSCN Training and Support click here


Merry Christmas from all at CALA

Seasons Greetings to everyone from all at CALA, this filled us with Christmas cheer – hope it does for you too!


Launch of Consultation on Early Learning and Childcare Statutory Guidance

The Scottish Government launched a consultation on the updated Early Learning and Childcare Statutory Guidance. The consultation will provide an opportunity for everyone involved in early learning and childcare to provide their views before the guidance is finalised.


Scottish Government state:

The Guidance will support local authorities in exercising their functions in relation to the delivery of early learning and childcare from 1 August 2020. It refreshes the Statutory Guidance published in 2014 and reflects the changes in the policy and legislative framework for the delivery of early learning and childcare. This includes the legislative changes, which were agreed by the Scottish Parliament in June 2019, to increase the statutory funded early learning and childcare entitlement for eligible children from 600 hours to 1140 hours from August 2020 and to support the implementation of the expanded entitlement”.

 Who should complete the consultation?

Everyone involved in early learning and childcare.

The consultation on the updated statutory guidance document can be found at: https://consult.gov.scot/children-and-families/early-learning-and-childcare-statutory-guidance/.  

The consultation will run until 4 March 2020.

‘On-line Safety Awareness’ session

New computer games for Christmas? Kids playing games on-line? Are you feeling a little bit like it’s all an alien language and wish you knew more about it?

Useful for parents, carers, childminders and anyone working with or for children and young people, this free session will provide you with information and guidance to help you support your child or young person to stay safe on-line.

The workshop will be delivered by Robert Quigley, Digital Development/Online Safety Officer with Highland Council

This FREE training is available to everyone and bookings can be made via the CALA Inverness Office 01463 703033 or online by clicking here

Booking closes on 15th January 2020