Publication - Advice and guidance

Early learning and childcare: induction resource

Published: 6 Oct 2020

This induction resource provides new ELC employees with all the relevant information they need on what to expect in their first few months in post, including the most up-to-date resources and best practice.

37 page PDF

595.2 kB

37 page PDF

595.2 kB

Early learning and childcare: induction resource
Section Two

37 page PDF

595.2 kB

Section Two

Reflective Questions To Consider With Your Mentor : Introduction

The aim of this section of the National Induction Resource is to encourage you to reflect on the important role you play in a child's life. It is designed to reinforce your individual responsibility and accountability to help you be the best childcare worker possible, to help you to understand how reflecting on your practice can help improve outcomes for children and how your workplace can support you.

In response to COVID-19 the Care Inspectorate has developed 'Key Question 5; Operating an Early Learning and Childcare setting (including out of school care and childminders) during COVID-19'. This self-evaluation resource and tool should be given particular consideration during your first month in post and may be useful in understanding your service's Covid-19 procedures. It can support you in learning how you will gather information and continually evaluate progress in supporting children and families, and ensuring positive outcomes for them through your implementation of the national guidance for COVID-19.

Throughout your career you will be encouraged to reflect on your practice. This means learning from your everyday experiences and using this to develop your work with children. The reflective questions in this resource should be viewed as a first step in your self-evaluation and personal development process which will continue throughout your career. They are designed to encourage you to reflect on the extent to which you are demonstrating the skills, knowledge and understanding to work with children, young people and families in Scotland.

You should work through these questions with your workplace mentor who can give you advice and support which will help develop your skills and knowledge. They are written to promote discussion about your role in providing quality care and learning for children. Your mentor will work with you and support you in the work place by providing learning opportunities, guidance and role modelling.

Note to mentors

It may take some time to build up a trusting relationship where the new recruit is able to share thoughts, feelings and progression. Take time at the start of this process to plan how this induction process will work for them. Remember each is an individual and will progress at different rates. You should develop your own timetable for this process, particularly for part time workers, or for those with limited previous experience.

The first month should encourage the new recruit to observe practice within the setting, develop confidence in practical skills and get to know procedures within the setting. Encourage them to provide examples from their practice and share your observations of them in practice. This induction should be used in conjunction with the on job guidance and support you will be giving. For each question, encourage the new recruit to reflect on how it affects outcomes for children. We have included some suggestions of what may be discussed in order to help you prepare. It is helpful for the new recruit to have a copy or link to the following documents to refer to for more information or for reference: Building the Ambition; Realising the Ambition; the Health and Social Care Standards; The Common Core; the Continuous Learning Framework; and the SSSC Codes of Practice.

To support mentors, useful resources include Step Into Leadership - which provides a range of mentoring tools to the wider social services sector- and the SSSC guide to mentoring in ELC.

Reflective Questions

Suggested Timescale Reflective Questions Find Out More: Conversations with your mentor may include:
Within the first month (To be considered in alignment with 'Key Question 5'.)

How do you make children feel welcomed into our setting?

What have you observed about how staff welcome children and support them to settle into our setting? How do the children respond to this?

  • Awareness of the environment of interactions, experiences and spaces

What do you notice about how the staff create a warm, loving environment through the interactions, experiences and spaces provided for children?

Can you describe how you think you can add to this?

  • Awareness of the environment of interactions, experiences and spaces

Who do you work directly with and what are their roles?

How do you think you can support your colleagues in their work? How does this team work help support children ?

  • Team structure, team working, responsibilities

When you are responsible for young children it has been said you have to have "eyes in the back of your head".

What do you notice about how staff position themselves in the learning spaces both outdoors and inside to ensure they are aware of what is going on?

What do you think are the benefits to working in this way and what challenges do you notice?

  • Awareness of the environment of interactions, experiences and spaces

When working with young children you have to learn when to become involved in their play and when to stand back. You could arrange with your mentor to identify an area of the setting to observe how children play when not directly involving an adult.

What do you notice about children's play experiences when the staff become involved?

  • Awareness of the environment of interactions, experiences and spaces
  • Putting child-centred pedagogy into practice – observations and following the interests of the child

How confident are you at following the procedures and routines of the day?

Think about what you have learnt so far. Discuss with your mentor any routines you may be struggling with or you require more guidance with.

  • Various policies and procedures relating to the setting
You will now have been introduced to the Getting It Right For Every Child (known as GIRFEC) approach. Where do you see this being applied within our setting? Can you list the well-being indicators? Can you see how these indicators link to your practice? Are there any that you find more difficult to recognise? If so, discuss this with your mentor.
  • Putting child-centred pedagogy into practice – planning, observations and documentation
  • child protection
Keeping children safe is the responsibility of everyone, regardless of their role. In our setting there is a child protection procedure. Do you know which staff have specific child protection responsibilities?
  • Child protection/ safeguarding policy
End of month reflection
How are you feeling about your role? Is there any other knowledge, support or advice which you would find useful just now? Share the experiences and learning you have had this month.
Within the second month

How do you feel you are interacting with the children?

What are you noticing about how children are responding to you now? Is this different than when you first started? What do you think as made this difference?

  • Adult role
  • 'listening with your eyes and ears' – being responsive and intentional

Are you aware of the range of resources available and how they may be used by children?

How does the range available to the children affect their play?

  • The learning environment in terms of experiences and outdoor/indoor spaces
  • Loose parts
  • Open-ended possibilities

How do you think your own moods and feelings could affect the care you provide?

Have you picked up any tips or techniques to ensure children are not affected by the different emotions of staff.

  • Self-awareness, reflective practice, peer support/feedback, self-care

What do you understand about children's rights?

What information can you find to help support you in your work? What information and resources are appropriate for the age group of children you work with. How might you use this learning to support respectful relationships with children?

  • United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, Children's voice - engagement and involvement, planning procedures

How do you contribute to our team?

How do your contributions help support children?

  • Team work, team structure

Making links between their home and our setting is very important for young children. Working with parents as partners is key.

What do you think parents would like to know about their child's day? How do you find out what they are actually looking for?

What opportunities are there for sharing this information with parents and carers within our setting?

  • Parental engagement and involvement policy, reporting procedures, sharing information

Knowing how and when to share information is an essential part of delivering better services for children and young people.

What are you learning about how colleagues use information to support children's well-being?

What would you do if you were worried about a child?

  • Child Protection
  • Confidentiality and information sharing

Last month we asked you to identify any aspects of GIRFEC or SHANARRI that you were finding more difficult to recognise in the setting.

How confident are you now with this approach?

How have you used this approach to support the children you work with?

  • GIRFEC, planning, child well being
End of month reflection
How are you feeling about your role? Is there any other knowledge, support or advice which you would find useful just now? Share the experiences and learning you have had this month.
Within the third month

When looking after young children and babies it is important that you understand how to safely and sensitively deliver personal care.

What have you learned about the approach in our setting?

How might children be affected if you don't follow best practice when supporting personal care routines?

  • Infection Control, nappy changing/disposal, toileting, hand washing etc.

Snack and meal times are so important when caring for babies and young children.

Are you confident you know the routine within our setting for supporting children's mealtime experiences?

This may also include working with babies who receive formula or are breast fed. Observe children at meal or snack time. What do you notice about how staff interact when they are supporting children?

  • Snack/meal time procedures, health and well-being, nutritional guidance
  • Interactions, experiences, spaces

Children's sleep routines within our setting vary across the different age groups.

How confident are you at settling children to sleep or rest safely?

What do you notice about children when they are becoming over tired?

  • Sleep routines, health and safety,

Can you give any examples of any child centred practice you have seen or experienced?

Why do you think it is important for children to be actively involved in the planning process?

  • Planning, observations, documentation self-awareness, communication

Sometimes we notice things that are "not quite right"

Who would you go to for support if you were worried about a child?

  • Child protection, reporting concerns
Are you aware of the regulatory bodies and what their roles are?
  • Care Inspectorate
  • SSSC
  • Education Scotland
  • Settings Policies and procedures

How are you developing your relationships with parents and carers?

Are you finding any of these relationships difficult or challenging? Why do you think this is?

  • Parental involvement and engagement, dealing with conflict
End of month reflection
How are you feeling about your role? Is there any other knowledge, support or advice which you would find useful just now? Share the experiences and learning you have had this month.
Within the fourth month  

Effective team working is crucial in our work with children, but sometimes we can experience difficulties with this.

Have you had any difficulties interacting or communicating with any of the team?

If not, what would you do if you felt the team was not working effectively?

  • Team working, roles and responsibilities, communication methods, self-awareness, confidentiality

Early relationships between children and parents/carers are extremely important for the developing child.

What do you understand by the term "attachment"?

How does this understanding help inform your practice?

  • Key worker system, communication with parents, child development
What is your understanding of the role of the key worker in our setting?
  • Key worker system, communication with parents, child development

Part of your role within our setting will be to support children's development.

What have you observed about how we assess and record children's development?

Arrange with your mentor opportunities to observe and meaningfully document children's learning and development and discuss what you have learnt.

  • Observation and assessment procedures, documentation consent from parents/carers, confidentiality, child development

You will now have met the parents and carers of the children you regularly work with.

What strengths do you think you have when communicating with parents?

What can you do to build your skills in communicating with parents and carers?

  • communication with parents,

Have you experienced any difficulties with parents or carers?

Can you describe what happened, how you felt and if you could have done anything differently?

  • communication with parents,

Sometimes children may need additional help or support.

What is your understanding of the other professionals who work with our setting and their roles?

  • Additional Support Needs, other professionals, confidentiality

What do you think are the benefits of outdoor play and learning, for children and for staff? ?

How do you feel about being outdoors with the children?

  • Outdoor play, health and wellbeing teamwork
End of month reflection
How are you feeling about your role? Is there any other knowledge, support or advice which you would find useful just now? Share the experiences and learning you have had this month.
Within the fifth month

Reflecting on your time with us so far, what skills and qualities do you bring to our team?

Would you say you have any skills which are currently not being used?

  • Team working, roles and responsibilities, self-awareness,

What transitions do the children you work with go through?

How can you help support children through these transitions?

  • Key worker system, communication with parents, child development
  • Vertical and horizontal transitions

Children need to and want to take risks when they play.

How do you feel about enabling and encouraging children to take risks?

  • Risk and Challenge
  • Risk assessment
  • Risk/benefit analysis
  • Parents views
Are you confident you know what information you need to share about a child (and who with) and what must be kept confidential?
  • Confidentiality, data protection, child protection

How do you think the needs of children will be influenced by their environment, background and circumstances?

How might you need to adapt your behaviour and actions as a result of this?

  • Child development, confidentiality, self-awareness, social awareness
  • Conscious and unconscious bias
  • Adversity and trauma
  • Impact of poverty

You should now have had an opportunity to undertake some observations of children's development.

How confident are you undertaking observations of children and documenting this in a meaningful way?

What other information do you think you need?

  • Child development, recording of assessments, documentation information sharing
End of month reflection
How are you feeling about your role? Is there any other knowledge, support or advice which you would find useful just now? Share the experiences and learning you have had this month.
Within the sixth month

Do you notice any differences in the way you treat individual children?

Why do you think this is? How do you ensure you are treating them fairly whilst responding to their individual needs?

  • Individual needs of children
  • Additional Support Needs
  • Equality legislation
  • Personal Plans

Can you identify any children or families with whom you don't yet feel confident interacting with?

Why do you think this is, and what do you think you need to change or adapt to enable a more positive relationship?

  • Working with parents/carers
  • Equality
  • Reflective practice

In your first month we talked about how you create a warm, loving environment through the interactions, experiences and spaces we provide for children.

What do you do that shows children that you love and care for them?

  • Reflective practice
  • Professional conduct

In the early years, children begin to learn about gender roles and expectations, and will pick up messages about what is perceived as 'normal' for boys and girls. They are influenced by their environment and the adults around them. Avoiding gender stereotypes will help to ensure that children do not feel limited and restricted in what they can do as they grow into adults. (Stereotypes are based on an assumption that all boys will be the same and like the same things, and all girls will be the same and like the same things.)

What are you own values and belief systems in relation to gender? How might these influence the way you interact with boys and girls? How can you promote and strengthen gender equality in your practice?

  • Resources, staff attitudes,
What do you think are the aspects which make up high quality early learning and care?  
What conduct and behaviour can children and their families expect of you?  
End of month reflection
How are you feeling about your role? Is there any other knowledge, support or advice which you would find useful just now? Share the experiences and learning you have had this month.

Induction Planning And Tracking Checklist

Induction Planning And Tracking / Date Completed

Introduction to the setting

  • I have been shown around the premises and know my way around the building.       
  • I have asked my manager if there is a local induction pack.                                           
  • I am aware of the Fire Safety and Evacuation policy and location of fire exits.           
  • I know where the staff room is located and where to place my belongings.                 
  • I know where the staff toilet facilities are located.                                                             
  • I know not to answer the door or entry system, until I am familiar with all parents/carers.          
  • I know the procedure for answering the door to a visitor.                                                
  • I know about my break entitlements.                                                                                   
  • I understand to whom I will be answerable, and who will be duty manager on each shift.          
  • I know who my mentor is and that I can ask them about anything I need support with.  
  • I know the procedure for answering the phone and taking a message.                        
  • I know when my wages will be paid .                                                                                   
  • The staff roster has been explained to me.                                                                        
  • I know where staff information is displayed.                                                                       
  • I understand what I should wear to work.                                                                           
  • I am aware of and understand the local policies that I must adhere to.                        
  • If I have a probationary period I know when my probation review is due to be completed.         
  • I understand that a staff record file will be kept by the manager and I am able to see my own file at any time.          
  • I know I will be given an appraisal at least annually.                                                        
  • I know the absence procedure for contacting the manger if I am unwell or unable to work.       
  • I have received a copy of my contract of employment.                                                    
  • I have received a job description and I understand fully what is expected of me.       
  • I understand that I can speak to a member of the management team, if I am unsure of anything or have any questions.   
  • I am aware of my holiday entitlement and procedure to request time off.                     
  • I am aware that I will be regularly monitored and supervised.                                        
  • I am aware that I am responsible for recording my own continuous professional learning (CPL).         
  • I know I must register with the SSSC within 6 months of starting my role.                   

My Responsibilities

  • I have read, digested and understood Covid-19 guidelines, policies, and procedures as appropriate. 
  • I have read the Health and Social Care Standards, my support, my life and will use these to guide my practice.      
  • I have read the SSSC Codes of Practice and will use these to guide my practice.     
  • I am aware of the complaints procedure and whistle blowing policy and where to find them.    
  • I know to share any information given by a parent and how to record it.                      
  • I know what to do if I have a child protection concern.                                                     
  • I am aware of and understand Getting It Right for Every Child (GIRFEC), and SHANARRI wellbeing indicators.      
  • I know how to record and document observations.                                                           
  • I understand the key worker system.                                                                                   
  • I know how to keep children’s records.                                                                               
  • I know what cleaning duties are expected of me and where to record their completion. 
  • I have reviewed the settings risk assessments and I can complete risk assessments if required.         
  • I know to contact the duty manager immediately if I suspect a child is unwell.            
  • I know the correct procedure for recording an accident or incident.                               
  • I know to refer a medicine request to a duty manager or supervisor.                            
  • I know to mark the register when a child arrives and leaves with a parent/guardian.
  • I know I must wear protective apron and gloves when dealing with bodily fluids.       
  • I know where stock is kept and the procedure for requesting stock.                              
  • I know play spaces both indoors and outdoors need to be continually cleaned, tidied and maintained by staff at appropriate and agreed times and understand I have a role to play in this.                                                            
  • I know to greet children and parents with a warm welcome and a big smile.               
  • I will always consider my body language and how the children will perceive me.       
  • I understand the confidentiality policy and know that a breach of this may result in a disciplinary procedure.
  • I know I must never smoke in clothes which come in contact with the children.          
  • I know where to find allergy notices.                                                                                    
  • I know where to find menus.                                                                                                 
  • I am aware of the social networking policy.                                                                        
  • I am aware of the setting’s policy for mobile phone use associated with working in the setting.
  • I know that peer observations are carried out throughout the nursery.                         
  • I understand the recycling procedures in place.                                                                
  • I know what to do to prevent a child from choking and how to deal with it should it happen.      
  • I know who the first aiders are and the first aid box locations.                                        
  • I know who the health and safety officer is and how to report maintenance issues.   

Glossary Of Terms


ELC: Early Learning and Childcare

SSSC: Scottish Social Services Council

KHub: Knowledge Hub

PVG : Protecting Vulnerable Groups

MySSSC : Online registration for SSSC

SCQF : Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework

NOS : National Occupational Standards

PTFG : Part time funding grant

SAAS : Student Awards Agency Scotland

ITA : Individual Training Account

CPL : Continuous professional Learning

PRTL : Post Registration Training and Learning

EYS : Early Years Scotland

NDNA : National Day Nurseries Association

CALA : Care and Learning Alliance

AHDS : Association of Heads and Deputes in Scotland

Additional Support Needs (ASN)

All children and young people need support to help them learn. Through good quality learning and teaching, staff in early learning and child care settings and schools are able to meet a diverse range of needs without additional support. Some children and young people will require support that is additional to, or different from, that received by children or young people of the same age to ensure they benefit from education, whether early learning, school or preparation for life after school. There are many reasons why children and young people may need support to help them learn. Additional support needs can be both long- and short-term, or can simply refer to the help a child or young person needs in getting through a difficult period.

Care Standards for Scotland Health and Social Care Standards

Scottish Ministers developed the 'Health and Social Care Standards My support, my life' to ensure everyone in Scotland receives the same high quality of care no matter where they live. The Standards explain what you can expect from any care service you use, written from the point of view of the person using the service. They also help you raise concerns or complaints. There are six main principles behind the Standards: Dignity, Privacy, Choice, Safety, Realising Potential and Equality and Diversity

Child's Voice Involving children in making sensible choices about their own learning by helping them to plan and evaluate their own experiences. Encourage children to think and solve problems for themselves and support/scaffold where necessary. Give every child time to come to a satisfying conclusion from their experiences and take time to discuss this together.

Getting it right for every child (GIRFEC)

GIRFEC is the national approach in Scotland to improving outcomes and supporting the wellbeing of our children and young people by offering the right help at the right time from the right people. It supports them and their parent(s) to work in partnership with the services that can help them.


A mentorship is a relationship in which a more experienced or more knowledgeable person helps to guide a less experienced or less knowledgeable person.

Modern Apprenticeship

A modern apprenticeship (MA) is a job which lets an individual earn a wage and gain an industry experience


When children build on previous learning and improve their knowledge and understanding through all areas of the curriculum.

Scottish Credit and Qualification Framework (SCQF)

The SCQF (Scottish Credit and Qualification Framework) helps education and training providers of all kinds to identify the level that has been studied in a particular subject

SHANARRI Wellbeing Indicators

Wellbeing sits at the heart of the GIRFEC approach and reflects the need to tailor the support and help that children, young people and their parents are. The wellbeing indicators are; Safe, Healthy, Achieving, Nurtured, Active, Respected, Responsible & Included and are sometimes referred to as the SHANARRI well-being indicators The aim of GIRFEC is to improve outcomes for all children by placing the Child at the Center of thinking, planning and interactions.

Scottish Vocational Qualification (SVQ)

Scottish Vocational Qualifications (SVQs) are based upon national standards and provide evidence that learners can do their jobs well. Studied in the workplace, in college or with training providers, SVQs are available in many subject areas.