Expansion of early learning and childcare in Scotland: Quality Action Plan

A Quality Action Plan to underpin the expansion of early learning and childcare (ELC) in Scotland to 1140 hours per year by 2020.

Warm And Supportive Interactions With Children

The quality of the interactions that children have with adults who are caring for them fundamentally affects not only their enjoyment of ELC but also the contribution that this makes to their development. Children need practitioners who: understand and act on the importance of relationships; listen and respond to their needs, desires and curiosity; respect them as active, discriminating and competent learners; and can support them as they develop self-control and self-regulation in relationships with peers and adults. There has to be a shared consensus on appropriate practice and values so that practitioners are empowered to support children in this way.

A key focus of Building the Ambition is on interactions that are characterised by a child- centred approach that is responsive to children’s varying interests and needs, and offers nurture and care. Building the Ambition is complementary to the National Guidance on Pre-birth to Three (Learning and Teaching Scotland, 2010). This also promotes the importance of warm and supportive interactions through its focus on the rights of the child, relationships, responsive care and respect, and aims to improve and enhance evidence- based practice, preventative approaches and early intervention. It is particularly valued for its accompanying multi-media resource that includes interviews with relevant experts, and video clips to highlight good practice.

We will strengthen the content of Building the Ambition by including more guidance on: supporting eligible two year olds (particularly as they make the transition from home to ELC and to do so without risk of stigmatisation); maximising the play environment (both indoors and outdoors); and facilitating the transition to primary school. We will also refresh Pre-birth to Three to reflect changes to the policy and practice context and new research evidence.

Updating both sets of resources will also be an opportunity to ‘re-launch’ them with an expanding workforce and to those new to working with two year olds. We will re-launch these resources in early 2019, with refreshed multi-media resources to follow.

Action 9: We will refresh and re-launch National Guidance on Pre-birth to Three and Building the Ambition to bring this up-to-date with new evidence that will support their practice in early learning and childcare.

The importance of warm and supportive relationships is reflected in the new Health and Social Care Standards (Scottish Government 2017), which set out what people should expect when using health, social care or social work services in Scotland. The Standards will be taken into account in Care Inspectorate inspections and quality assurance functions from April 2018. Both the Care Inspectorate and Education Scotland already recognise that the quality of adult to child interaction and the strength of a child’s relationship with their key worker is a key factor in determining the quality of ELC provision. Inspections and self- assessments are increasingly measuring and reporting on the quality of relationships in a service and the extent to which children are nurtured.


Back to top