The Supporting Early Learning and Childcare through Wellbeing conference was held at Victoria Quay, Edinburgh on 23 February 2015. Over 80 early learning practitioners from across Scotland signed up to what was a very positive and productive day of information, sharing and networking.
The conference was opened by Lesley Brown, Strategic Director for Families, Inclusion and Local Authorities within Education Scotland, who welcomed everyone and set the tone for the day by emphasising the importance of positive relationships for developing the children’s wellbeing.
Key drivers in current Scottish education policy were discussed, with an update on GIRFEC legislation from Pauline Davidson of Scottish Government – particularly looking at the role of the named person – with opportunity for delegates to ask questions and clarify points.
The importance of recognising and realising children’s rights, as outlined in the Children and Young People’s Act (Scotland) 2014, was highlighted by Paul McWatt, Education Scotland, who gave an overview of the articles of the United Nations Convention of the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) and how they can be applied in an educational setting.
Tricia Madden, Early Years Development Officer, provided participants with an update on National Guidance around Building the Ambition. There was productive discussion exploring the Image of the Child and what this means practically in the early years setting.
A variety of workshops were offered, ranging from research-based finding on social, emotional and behavioural needs in the transition from nursery-primary from the Growing Up in Scotland survey, to building dens with Cowgate Under 5’s Centre to emphasise the positive impacts of child led play. The wellbeing indicators were further explored practically by Parkhead Nursery, Glasgow, and there was also opportunity to explore relational approaches such as nurture and restorative.
Scotland’s Commissioner for Children and Young People closed the day with a summary of the findings of A Right Wee Blether – which again, highlighted the importance of children’s voice and positive relationships.
Participants – and presenters – spoke very highly of the quality of presentations and workshops, and of how useful and enjoyable they had found the day.