News from CALA Family Services

The Family Services team have supported community Baby and Toddler groups around the Highlands over this last year.  Despite the past 12 months being far from ordinary, our member groups have continued to benefit from their membership in lots of ways.

Family Practitioners continue to support committees with up-to-date Scottish Government guidance.  A representative from CALA has been present at government meetings throughout the year, not only ensuring our advice is current, but also advocating the importance of support for families with young children and reflecting pressures on community toddler groups.  With this knowledge, our practitioners have been supporting those who were able to meet as regulations allowed both outside and inside.  One Chairperson said “We would not have managed to reopen our toddler groups without your help. We would not have felt confident enough about all the rules or even thought it possible. It was only through your help and encouragement that the groups re-opened.”

Family Practitioners have also been constant support for families as they navigate parenting and family life in such different circumstances.  Outdoor and online groups have provided key support to families as places to meet and to make connections with others, which supports the health and wellbeing of parents and carers.  They have also become forums to discuss home-based activities to support their child’s development.  Many families have also explored the ever-expanding resources on our CALA website, including our dedicated Parent Portal, Family Services page and Play and Learning page which encourages play and learning opportunities at home.  Most recently on the Family Services page, we have begun a series of short clips focusing on supporting children’s early communication.  The members-only Facebook page gives further useful tips and links. 

Member groups also have access to the MembersZone section of the website, which has useful templates and documents, to support the running of groups and a committee induction pack, with top tips for new committees.  As part of their membership, groups receive three vouchers to take part in further training from CALA’s e-learning zone. 20 courses are available, with topics ranging from an Introduction to Risk Assessment to Top Tips for Interacting with Young Children, or Gender Equal Play, there is plenty to choose from.  You can also currently access the ‘Supporting Young Children’s Behaviour for Parents’ e-module here, currently being gifted for free during COVID.

The family Services team have also recently undertaken Walk Leader training with Paths for All.  Partnering with other organisations, we can’t wait to offer member groups the chance to take part in Buggy Walks and Toddler Toddles, as a way to increase health and wellbeing; enjoy the outdoors and support child development. These walks are now permitted under government regulations and plans are being made to establish these early next term.

If you would like to explore membership for your community group click here or contact the Inverness Office 01463 222569.

As restrictions begin to ease and we can begin to get out and about more, our Family Services Practitioners would like to take this opportunity to wish everyone a Happy Easter holiday and look forward to seeing you next term – Happy Easter!

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