A summary of Early Learning and Childcare (ELC) resources
Realising the Ambition (2020) is the national practice guidance for early years in Scotland. It builds upon the original principles and philosophy of pre-birth to three and Building the Ambition. It covers children’s learning and development from birth into the early years of primary school.
How to use this page to improve practice?
When using this page, please consider the following reflective questions:
- What is my understanding of the current ELC policy and guidance landscape?
- How do I use self-evaluation, research and evidence to inform and improve my practice?
How good is our early learning and childcare? (2016) supplies quality indicators for early years education and childcare. These support staff to evaluate what is working well for babies, toddlers, and young children. The framework supports self-evaluation for self-improvement by practitioners at all levels.
The Early Years Framework (2008) sets out a vision for early years services in Scotland to ensure that children get ‘the best start in life’.
Curriculum for Excellence (CfE) builds on the solid foundations developed in the critical years pre-birth to three. Within CfE, children are entitled to a Broad General Education from age three until the end of S3.
The early level of CfE for most children spans the period of time from age three until the end of Primary 1. It supports a smooth transition in learning between ELC and primary school.
Practical support and resources
Resources on the are tagged by subject. Searching live on the NIH ensures you are checking the most up-to-date list of ELC resources. The following resources on the NIH may be of interest to ELC practitioners and leaders.
Inclusion and equality
Gaelic Medium Education
Health and wellbeing
Language and literacy development
Observation, planning and assessment
Parental engagement and family learning
Pedagogy and play
Scottish attainment challenge
Education Scotland cannot be held responsible for the contents of any other website accessed through a link on our site. Education Scotland provides these links as a convenience and inclusion of a link does not imply endorsement by Education Scotland of an external site.
Health and Social Care Standards: My Support, My Life (2017) has shared expectations for service users of health, social care or social work services in Scotland. The standards are taken into account by the Care Inspectorate, Healthcare Improvement Scotland and other scrutiny bodies in relation to inspections, and registration, of health and care services.
Getting It Right For Every Child (GIRFEC) is the Scottish Government’s national approach to improving outcomes and supporting the wellbeing of children and young people.
The Early Learning and Childcare (ELC) National Induction Resource (Updated January 2023) has been developed to support individuals new to delivering ELC. Whether that is funded ELC or ELC that families purchase themselves. It sets out how individuals can expect employers to support them in their new role.
Scottish Government Online CPL Modules
These continuous professional learning (CLP) online modules are aimed at everyone working with children in ELC - childminders, support workers, practitioners, lead practitioners and teachers.
They have been commissioned by the Scottish Government and produced in partnership with the University of the West of Scotland and the Open University. To access a module you will need to create a free account with the relevant university.
Supporting families to further engage in their child’s development (login required) is designed to inspire confidence, develop new ideas and to instil a fresh outlook on supporting parents to further engage in their child's learning and development.
National STEM CPL Module (login required) supports the development of skills, knowledge and confidence in delivering learning in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) in the early years.
Understanding the social factors which may impact on children's outcomes in the early years (login required) offers learning on ways social factors can impact on children's health, wellbeing, development and behaviour.
Supporting the development and progression of children's early language and literacy (login required) inspires confidence to develop new ideas and to instil a fresh outlook on early language and literacy development.
Identifying and supporting additional support needs in early learning and childcare will help you to reflect and develop your understanding of what you can do to get it right for every child in Scotland.
Play Strategy for Scotland : Action Plan (2013) is the Scottish Government Action Plan for all working for or with children or whose work impacts on children's ability to exercise their right to play.
Our Creative Journey (2017) provides examples from practice of children engaging in the expressive arts within a variety of early learning and childcare settings.
Inclusion and Equality
Gender Equal Play in Early Learning and Childcare (2018) explains the importance of challenging gender stereotyping in the early years and provides ideas and examples of existing practice from across Scotland.
Bringing Generations Together (2019) offers examples highlighting the benefits of Intergenerational Learning.
'Polishing the Diamonds': Addressing Adverse Childhood Experiences in Scotland (2016) is a report reviewing and providing insight into Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs), while recommending actions and intervention areas for public health bodies
My World Outdoors (2016) is guidance and practice examples of learning outdoors in a variety of Scottish early learning and childcare settings.
Health and wellbeing
Food Matters: nurturing happy, healthy children (2018)provides examples of good practice in supporting children to eat well and enjoy healthy food in early learning and childcare settings.
Setting the Table (Revised 2018)is nutritional guidance and food standards for early learning and childcare providers in Scotland.
Infection Prevention and Control in Childcare Settings (Day Care and Childminding Settings) (Revised 2018) is national guidance on infection control from Health Protection Scotland and NHS Health Services.
Ziggy’s Road Safety Mission
Road Safety Scotland’s Early Level multi-media approach to road safety education for ELC settings and home.
Let’s Talk Pants: the Underwear Rule (2014) is the NSPCC resource to keep children safe from sexual abuse.
Language and Literacy Development
Bookbug is the Scottish Book Trust’s national approach to gifting books to every child in Scotland and running free rhyme and story sessions across the country.