Highland’s largest children, families and childcare charity launched its ‘Year of Play’ this week to mark its 35th year of serving communities across the north.
CALA, the Care and Learning Alliance, will host a special series of events throughout 2023 to celebrate children and play – everything from outdoor play to outreach, training to toddler sessions, puddle-jumping to podcasts.
And every element will highlight the focused, child and parent-centric approach that has made CALA a vital part of the social fabric across the Highlands and Islands since its inauguration on 18 th January 1989.
The ‘Year of Play’ will also look at how play, society and the Highlands have changed over the past four decades with a special exhibition and a conference towards the end of 2023.
Jaci Douglas, the chief executive, said: “CALA has changed hugely over past 35 years, starting life as the Highland Scottish Pre-School Play Association before becoming Care and Learning Alliance in 2006. But while much has changed, the most important thing for children remains the opportunity to play and children’s rights.
“As we enter our 35th year we are reflecting on the impact CALA has had, what we have learned from our long experience and how we continue to support rich, quality play experiences and opportunities in a changing world.
“The Year of Play will include a wide variety of events and opportunities, including 35 pop up play sessions, 35 play leaders/champs trained, 35 podcasts on play based themes, 35 new play resources and many more.
“As always, we are absolutely committed to children’s rights, with children at the heart of all we do so their ideas on how to celebrate and mark this anniversary, as well as plan for the future, will be central to the year’s events .”
Graham Watson, chair of the alliance’s volunteer board added: “CALA has been an essential part of Highland life for over 3decades and it is constantly changing and adapting to meet the evolving needs of communities. However the one constant for all of CALA’s existence has been its focus and emphasis on play. Play is such an essential part of life and we want to encourage people of all ages to play.
Source: Strathspey Herald