Tag Archives: #caf

Gender equality in Early Learning and Childcare settings

Water experiment

Our colleagues at Health Scotland have approached us to ask for our assistance with a piece of research that is currently underway to look at gender stereotypes in ELCC settings. Health Improvement Senior, Barbara Adzajlic, said,

“Gender stereotypes are all around us and impact heavily on our children from the moment they are born. From the colours they wear to the toys they play with, the books they read, and the behaviours that are expected of them, girls and boys are influenced by family members, the media and society at large. The impacts of this include performance at school, career choices, expectations within relationships, emotional literacy and mental health.”

Making rockets!
Making rockets!

A group of organisations is exploring approaches to tackling gender stereotyping and gender equality in early learning and childcare settings. The group includes NHS Health Improvement, respect Me, LGBT Youth Scotland, Men in Childcare, Fathers Network Scotland, Zero Tolerance and Baltic Street Adventure Play.

The first step is to run a short survey of projects and organisations in Scotland and the UK which may be doing work to tackle gender stereotyping and gender equality in ELCC. This will allow reseachers to gather information on those resources or programmes already in existence, to learn lessons from existing approaches.

The researchers are looking for input from ELCC practitioners, so get involved if you can. They are also keen to hear from parents and carers about their experiences and views on the issue, so please do encourage parents to get invovled too.

Please follow the link below and complete the survey moneky questionnaire:

Please note that the survey closes on Friday, 30th October 2015.

Should you have any questions about the research, please call Barbara Adzajlic or Susie Heywood on 0141 232 0174/0171.

GfL Photo 2

Connected Colleagues in Clackmannanshire and Stirling


Carolyn Love, Early Years Training and Improvement Officer, in Clackmannanshire and Stirling Education Service shares the approach she and her team have taken to promoting the use of Glow Early Learn.

“I was really inspired by the conversation event that was run by Children and Families in February this year. There was a clear steer that Glow was going to have increasing importance in supporting and developing professional learning networks.

The conversation on that day certainly gave us food for thought. As we embrace the expansion in ELCC, we are managing carefully limited face-to-face dialogue. Therefore, we know that the use of digital platforms, such as Glow and social media, is crucial for the effective facilitation of career-long professional learning. We wanted to explore how we could develop the use of both Glow and social media locally in Clackmannanshire and Stirling.

We set-up our own Glow community to allow us to share bigger documents, engage in video conferencing and share photographs of children’s learning in a way we know is entirely safe and secure.

We are starting small with a group of 10 Glow Champions who are setting up our own Glow webpage and are tasked with getting the conversation about Glow going across the authority.

Our Glow Champions are members of the national community, Glow Early Learn. We spent time helping our Champions navigate around Glow Early Learn, exploring the resource page, the blogs and the discussions on the page.

I was so impressed by the enthusiasm of the group. They really understood the possibilities that being active in Glow on a regular basis can bring.

Our Champions have already requested that we roll-out an all Authority training session at one of our in-service days during this academic year. They have gone back already to their setting and have rolled-out training on a smaller scale with their teams.

Such is their commitment, the team at Cornton Nursery got together at 8am and signed-up to Glow Early Learn during their weekly development meeting!

More locally, Stirling and Clackmannanshire has a vast geographical spread so the prospect of people using video conferencing to communicate with each other and share ideas is incredibly exciting.”

Social media developments

Stirling Facebook

“We have set-up Facebook page called ‘Early Years in Stirling and Clackmannanshire’. Our Facebook page is going from strength to strength and now has over 200 members. We decided to make this page a closed group as it was designed to be a comfortable space for practitioners to be able to share professional dialogue with others from across our education service. Although the initial posts have come from ourselves, we are encouraging practitioners to contribute by sharing their developments, experience and knowledge with each other.

The most common feedback we receive from practitioners is they would like more opportunities to visit other settings. Using Facebook as a medium to share photographs of early years environments has led to settings being inspired by each other, making links and arranging reciprocal visits. There is a growing sense of ‘connectedness’ between our early years establishments.”

Twitter - blue
Follow @SandCEY
Follow @CaFTeam

Future plans

“We are about to roll out a series of 10 ‘roadshows’, which will officially be our local launch of Building the Ambition. We are expecting the majority of staff to attend these so this will be another forum in which we will promote the use of Glow, Facebook and Twitter for career-long professional learning.

We feel that early years continues to move at a very fast pace and that these technologies allow us to keep up to date with current practice, procedures and initiatives. We are looking forward to getting the whole of Stirling and Clackmannanshire early years ‘glowing’!

Join the national ELCC professional learning community Glow Early Learn

Get Involved with Education Scotland Developments #calltoaction

Hugh Smiley Staff

Are you an ELCC practitioner? Are you passionate about the work you are doing with young children? Are you making a difference? If so, we’d really love to hear from you.

The Children and Families Team at Education Scotland have introduced through the ELCC professional community – Glow Early Learn, a new initiative called #calltoaction.

The new initiative is designed to highlight to the ELCC workforce all current and future developments to support improvements in ELCC across Scotland. The exciting development is that this initiative offers YOU the opportunity to get involved and to make a contribution to these national developments.

Our first #calltoaction focuses on involving children in making important decisions about their early learning and childcare. The Children and Families team and the Rights, Support and Wellbeing team are working jointly to devise support materials to support educators in all sectors of education make improvements in this area. We are really keen to ensure that the ELCC sector features prominently in this work…but we need your help.


If you have something to share, let us know by writing a short desciption in the newsfeed using the appropriate hashtag. For our work on Promoting Participation use #promoparty. We will then link with you via Glow, providing suport and development to capture your journey.

Future #calltoaction topics will include: planning learning for young children; assessing children’s progress in learning; Self-Evaluation – How Good Is Our Early Learning and Childcare (HGIOELCC).

Watch out on Twitter for notifications of these #calltoaction opportunities.

Follow us @CaFTeam

Scottish Government’s Website for Parents about ELCC

Reading stories

Have you seen the new website for parents and carers about the entitlement to ELCC?

Scottish Government is keen that parents and carers are reminded to take up a place for their child.

A public information campaign with advice for parents and carers on the eligibility criteria for funded early learning and childcare is currently running.

Check out the new website.


“You’ve just got to do it”

glowStephanie's Headshot

Stephanie Porteous, Depute Manager at Cherry Blossom Nursery in Dundee, talked to Lisa McCabe from the Children and Families Team about the impact on her since joining Glow Early Learn in January.

Lisa: How long have you been a member of Glow Early Learn and how did you find out about the community?

Stephanie: I have only recently become a member of Glow Early Learn. In fact it was at the beginning of the year, following a CPD event run by Dundee City Council, my local authority, and the Children and Families Team of Education Scotland.

I found the whole evening to be extremely informative. You were there, Lisa and so was Con Morris. It was really great having you explain and demonstrate how the Early Learn Glow Community can be used as a positive resource for educators across Scotland.

I particularly liked when the community was described as a place for people to share their practice and not be judged on their lack of knowledge on a certain aspect but to be encouraged to ask questions and connected with other professionals. I think that is a really important message to get ‘out there’.

Lisa: What is the best thing about being a member of the community?

Stephanie: For me I often find that just having another colleague agree with what you are providing and what you are doing. I find that encouraging. I think we all need that from time to time. It sort of reinforces what you know.

Being able to connect with other professionals and sharing ideas is a huge positive for me and the way that the Early Learn Community looks makes it feel like a social platform as well as professional one. It’s easy to navigate your way around and nice and simple to upload your resources. The resources section is being used really well by colleagues, which is a great.

I also think that it’s great to see the different approaches to ELCC from across Scotland. Since joining, I have felt extremely supported by everyone. The colleagues I have been networking with so far have been honest and open about their flaws as well as their strengths. I find this really refreshing. They have been very happy to share practice, ideas, resources and photos; and, that has encouraged me to do so too. As an educator, it has encouraged me to look closely at my own practice and in some cases has highlighted areas where I’ve thought ‘How do we do that?, How can we do that better?’.

Lisa: Since you joined, what connections have you made?

Stephanie: I have made a wonderful connection with Allie Rankin through the community. Ailie works in Inverclyde. We have found that we approach things in a similar way. Recently there has been a thread around ‘Sciences’ and I could see during the conversation that Allie and I shared the same challenges within this curriculum area. By the end of this thread both of us came out with a vastly improved knowledge and a fantastic resource that we are currently using, to help improve our practice.

Lisa: For those who don’t know, can you give us a flavour of what have you been discussing inside Glow Early Learn?

Stephanie: For me the main subject that inspired a lot of chat, comments and resources, was the use of ‘I Can’ statements. This really, for me, was the point where Glow Early Learn started having an impact on my setting. Everyone who joined the thread had an opinion on the proper and improper use of I can statements, and it was very obvious that these were being used in a huge variety of ways across different settings. Colleagues were happy to share resources, and the resources shared were nothing less than amazing. It really made clear to me the potential of Glow Early Learn and how it could support anyone from support workers to teachers in providing the highest quality ELCC across Scotland. It also shows that we all have the same challenges in common and that we all need a little support and encouragement from time to time.

Lisa: So, what have you learned by being a member of the community that you may not otherwise have learned?

Stephanie: I have realised that we are not all perfect and that everyday we face broadly similar challenges. I have also learned that there is a huge amount of fantastic resources out there to support the people who work in ELCC, and that people have a genuine love for their job and go, and want to go, the extra mile, daily.

Lisa: And what has been the most significant learning to date?

Stephanie: The support, advice and resources I received through the community with the development of the use of ‘I CAN’ statements across the setting has had an extremely positive impact on my setting. The entire team have felt the effects of the community as I have been able to provide staff training, staff development, etc. through my links with Early Learn community.

Lisa: You have gotten a great deal out of being a member of the community, Stephanie. What have you put in?

Stephanie: I do remember you saying at the evening we had in Dundee that we would ‘get out what we put in’. That is so true. You have to be active as a member. You have to be prepared to give of your opinion and to justify the reasons for your views. I try to be a supportive colleague by responding to questions. I shared our approach to planning and welcomed the feedback from others.

Lisa: Sometimes people worry about time, Stephanie. How do you manage your time on Glow Early Learn?

Stephanie: I would agree about ‘time’ for everything we need to do, not just glow. But by using glow and seeking advice, etc. from other professionals it has saved me time in the long run, I suppose.

So I suppose it’s all about managing your time and using your time for what benefits you and your setting the most. Glow is definitely a HUGE benefit/resource for me as an educator, very positive impact so far.

Lisa: What do you think is better about making connections with colleagues in this way?

Stephanie: I feel supported and more confident in myself as an educator and it’s interesting to see, as I have mentioned before that we all face the same challenges and we ALL need to feel supported

It’s also good to have a support system/community where we are not judged, we are supported and you can ask for advice, help and suggestions.

Also, feedback is quite immediate. You don’t have to wait very long at all for someone to offer up a ‘pearl of wisdom’.

Lisa: How has your practice improved / changed as a result of the being a member of the community, Stephanie?

Stephanie: I would say that I feel more confident in myself and more confident in asking for help/advice and sharing my challenges. It is so reassuring to know that we don’t have to keep reinventing the wheel. It is also good to be able to explain why you do things in the way you do. I think I have become even more of a reflective educator as a result.

Lisa: What would you say to encourage others to join the community?

Stephanie: The community has encouraged me to share, ask questions, answer questions, communicate, research, and further development myself professionally. Since using the community I feel more confident in myself and my abilities. I recruited my mum to the community as she too is an ELCC practitioner. You’ve just got to do it!

Lisa: Stephanie, thank you so much for taking the time to talk to us about your experience as a Glow Early Learn member and ambassador.

Stephanie: It’s a pleasure. Thanks, Lisa.

Bookbug Week’s Bedtime Bonanza Begins!

Bookbug Week: 18 – 24 May 2015


As Bookbug Week 2015 begins, a recent YouGov poll has found that 72% of Scottish parents surveyed had introduced their child to books within the first 12 months of their lives.

The online poll, conducted in April 2015, asked 659 parents from a cross-section of Scotland when they had first introduced books to their child. 29% of parents said they started reading to their children between birth and 3 months old, 23% said they had started reading to their child between 4-6 months, 11% said 7-9 months and 9% said 10-12 months.

Marc Lambert, Director of Scottish Book Trust, said:
“Sharing a book with your child on a regular basis, from as early an age as possible, is one of the simplest and most effective things you can do to make a real difference to their future. You might feel silly reading to a tiny newborn, or even to your bump, but your baby will listen closely to the rhythm of your voice and the speech patterns, laying strong foundations for later language development. It’s never too late to get started though – at any age your child will soon realise that books equal cuddles, helping to inspire a love of reading which will last a lifetime.

“Bookbug Week is the perfect time to celebrate the joy that books can bring with your little ones – with hundreds of free events across the country we hope as many parents and children as possible will join us for some songs, rhymes and stories.”

Acting Minister for Children and Young People Fiona McLeod added:

“As a former librarian, I know the importance of introducing children to books at the earliest possible age. It helps develop a love of books and improve their literacy skills. I’m delighted that more than 70 per cent of Scottish parents are already reading to their children in the first year and it would be fantastic to see this increase even further. Bookbug Week and other initiatives like our PlayTalkRead campaign are great opportunities to have fun reading and I’d encourage families to get involved in the activities across the country. I’m excited to be attending a world record attempt in Fife this week where hundreds of parents will read to their children at the same time.”

The theme for this year’s Bookbug Week is Bookbug’s Big Bedtime Story. Thousands of young children will take part in over 400 free, bedtime-themed events across Scotland that will feature appearances from some of the UK’s best loved children’s authors and illustrators. Families can find details of events happening in their area by visiting Bookbug Week or asking for more information at their local library.

This year’s Bookbug Week flagship event will take place at Rozelle House and Maclaurin Art Gallery in South Ayrshire on Tuesday 19 May. Hundreds of families with young children will celebrate the Bookbug programme, getting creative with arts and crafts and bedtime stories. Special activities on the day will include a Magic Garden sensory area, a Book Trail and a Snuggle Village.

Elsewhere, author Chae Strathie will deliver a fun-filled Authors Live event that will be streamed to schools, nurseries and homes across the country on Thursday 21 May and a host of fantastic Bookbug prizes will be up for grabs via Bookbug’s Facebook page throughout the week.

The Bookbug programme provides every child in Scotland with four free bags of books, gifting 720,000 books every year. Over 240,000 children in Scotland benefitted last year, with even more set to receive free books in 2015. Bookbug also runs regular free story, song and rhyme events in libraries, shopping centres and other community venues which attracted audiences of over half a million parents and children last year.

Bookbug Week is the perfect chance to find out more about the Bookbug programme, get involved, meet other families and get ideas on how to make sharing books, songs and rhymes with children a fun part of each day. Introducing children to books at an early age has many wonderful benefits, including building up their confidence and social skills, and giving their speech and language development a real boost.

Scottish Book Trust Announces 2015/16 Bookbug Bag Books

Booktrust 1

Scottish Book Trust is pleased to announce that the books chosen for the 2015/16 Bookbug bags, to be distributed free to every baby, toddler, 3 year old and P1 child in Scotland between Spring 2015 and Spring 2016, are as follows:

Bookbug Baby Bag
• Baby’s Very First Black and White Book: Babies by Stella Baggott (Usborne)
• Peekaboo Jungle by Emily Bolam (Campbell Books)
• Mouse is Small by Mary Murphy (Walker Books Ltd)

Bookbug Toddler Bag
• Dear Zoo by Rod Campbell (Puffin)
• Splosh by David Melling (Hodder Children’s Books)
• Feeling Great Just Like Me! by Jess Stockham (Child’s Play)

Bookbug Pirate Bag
• Ten Little Pirates by Mike Brownlow and Simon Rickerty Orchard (Hachette Children’s Books)
• Lost and Found by Oliver Jeffers (HarperCollins Children’s Books)
• Never Bite a Tiger on the Nose by Lynne Rickards and Eilidh Muldoon (Scottish Book Trust)

Catriona Wallace, Head of Early Years at Scottish Book Trust said:
“We are very excited to announce the new titles for this year’s Bookbug bags. Our expert panel has carefully selected books by fantastic authors and illustrators and we hope that mums, dads and carers will enjoy sharing these stories with their children. Bookbug bags are a fun way to introduce your babies and toddlers to stories, songs and rhymes, and boost their language and listening skills.”

The Bookbug Primary 1 Family Bag for 2015/16 will include free copies of the three shortlisted books from the Bookbug category of the Scottish Children’s Book Awards 2016, which will be announced on 2 September 2015. These bags will be distributed to Primary 1 children during Book Week Scotland (23 November – 29 November 2015).

Bookbug is Scotland’s national book gifting programme, encouraging parents and children to share books together from birth. We gift books to every baby, toddler, 3 and 5-year-old in Scotland in four free Bookbug bags:

– Baby bag (gifted by a health visitor to every baby
– Toddler bag (gifted by a health visitor to every toddler
– Pirate bag (gifted at nursery to every 3-year-old)
– Primary 1 Family bag (gifted at school to every P1 pupil)
– Dolly Parton Imagination Library (free books delivered monthly to every Looked After Child aged 0-5 in Scotland)

Fife Parents Publish a Picture Book: Launch of Never Bite a Tiger on the Nose

Book Worm

A new picture book highlighting the importance of healthy eating for children was launched today (5 May) at Methil Community Education Centre, marking the completion of a two year writer in residency project run by Scottish Book Trust and Home-Start Levenmouth Family Group.

Never Bite a Tiger on the Nose was written by author Lynne Rickards and was developed in workshops with 11 parents from the Levenmouth Family Group to raise awareness about the importance of healthy eating for children in their early years. 60,000 copies of the finished book have been published by Scottish Book Trust to include in the 2015 Bookbug Pirate pack which will be given to every 3-year-old in Scotland this year.

Lynne facilitated weekly creative writing classes with the group that explored foods and healthy eating, with support from NHS Health Scotland. The resulting book, featuring the fantastic illustrations of Eilidh Muldoon, is a fun-filled tale written in rollicking rhyme that encourages children to try eating tasty, healthy foods including carrots and bananas.

Paula Martin, a parent who participated in the classes said:
“The experience of working with Lynne was great and we all gained new skills and felt that we were a part of a great opportunity. I know we will all treasure our experience of the project “

To celebrate the launch of Never Bite a Tiger on the Nose Lynne will be reading from the book at Methil Community Education Centre this afternoon. An exhibition of Eilidh Muldoon’s illustrations will also be unveiled at the Centre, which will tour libraries in Fife throughout the rest of the year in partnership with Fife Cultural Trust.

Commenting on the project Lynne Rickards said:
“I was thrilled to be chosen as an Early Years Writer-in-Residence for Scottish Book Trust and had a brilliant time working with a great group of mums to produce our healthy eating story. Scottish Book Trust’s Early Years Team and the lovely people at Home-Start Levenmouth provided excellent support throughout the project, and I’m very proud of the finished book which is beautifully illustrated by Eilidh Muldoon.”

Kay Mcleary, Senior Coordinator at Home-Start Leven mouth added:
“The parents involved in the project were delighted to have an opportunity to work with Lynne and contribute their ideas about what kind of book they would enjoy reading to their children to emphasise the importance of healthy eating in a fun and engaging way”.An exhibition of Eilidh

Muldoon’s illustrations from Never Bite a Tiger on the Nose, annotated with selected text from the book, will be on display at the following libraries:

• Methil Library, 5 – 15 May
• Leven Library, 18 – 29 May
• Kennoway Library, 1 – 12 June
• St Andrews Library, 15 – 26 June
• Burntisland Library, 29 June – 24 July
• Cowdenbeath Library, 27 July – 14 August
• Tayport Library, 17 August – 28

• Cupar Library, 31 August – 11 September
• Rothes Halls, 14 September – 25 September
• Kirkcaldy Galleries, 28 September – 9 October
• Benarty Library, 12 October – 23 October
• Jennie Lee Library, 26 October – 6 November
• Dalgety Bay Library, 9 November – 20 November
• Duloch Library, 23 November – 4 December
• Kincardine, 7 December – 18 December