CALA Conference 2018

The Extraordinary Power of Play

We would like to invite you to join us at the 2018 CALA Conference.

The title of this year's conference is 'The extraordinary power of play; when we play the whole world wins'.

Tickets cost £25, and can be purchased online using a credit card or debit card. Press the orange button below to get started, or click the 'next' arrow to find out what we've got planned for the day.

Keynote spaker: Lynn McNair (Cowgate Under 5's)


Topic: 'Play is the highest form of research'

This presentation will explore the characteristics of play, for example that:


  • play feeds on real experience
  • children feel in control as they play
  • play is a process, it has no products
  • play is intrinsically motivated and emerges when the conditions are right
  • children rehearse possible futures and pasts in their play
  • play lifts children from the here and now so that they can recast the past and create alternatives to the way things have been, are and could be
  • personal space is a valuable feature
  • play is an integrating mechanism

Dr Lynn McNair is Head of Cowgate Under Fives Centre in Edinburgh, Scotland, and is a Teaching Fellow at the University of Edinburgh. Lynn has more than 30 years’ experience working in Early Years Education and was awarded an OBE for services to Early Education in 2009.

Lynn is a trained Froebelian, attaining her certificate at the Froebel Institute, Roehampton University, London. She is an award-winning author. Finally, Lynn would say her passion for egalitarianism, emancipation, democracy and a belief that children are rich, active, resourceful beings came from being a mother to Kurt and Mischa; and what she learned as she observed them playing freely as children.

This way of being with children, trusting in them in their rich resourcefulness, their abilities and capabilities

is where she puts her energy into her work with children today.

Opening Address: Scotland is a Play Champion – building playful childhoods and communities


Presented by: Marguerite Blair (Play Scotland)

Marguerite Hunter Blair is Chief Executive of Play Scotland the national play organisation which promotes children’s right to play and provides resources and training on the benefits of play.

She holds a BA (Hons) MSc and post grad certificate in Law, and post grad diploma in Managing and Developing Play Provision.

Marguerite is Chair of Scotland’s Play Council Group supporting the implementation of Scotland’s National Play Strategy, and a member of the newly established Education Leaders’ Forum. Also, Scotland’s representative on UK Play Safety Forum and UK Children’s Play Policy Forum.

Member of SW/65 - BSI committee for children's playgrounds standards (EN 1176 series), and Trustee of Fields in Trust Scotland.

Author of many papers, articles, presentations and blogs promoting the benefits of play and co- author of Raising the Bar - Findings of the Scottish Play Commission and Local Authority Play Provision in Scotland.

Marguerite is a leading figure promoting the child’s right to play in Scotland.

She has been CEO of Play Scotland for 12 years and was previously CEO of PlayBoard Northern Ireland, after a career in community development as Community Services Manager, Belfast City Council. Marguerite is a Director of the Carrick Centre Maybole, and a longstanding Action Medical Research local committee member.

Married with five almost- grown- up young ones, the family spend a lot of time playing outdoors, in all weathers! Favourite hobbies include walking, particularly parts of the Camino de Santiago and in Umbria and Tuscany, although St Cuthberts’s Way (Melrose to Lindisfarne) remains a memorable achievement.

Workshops & Guest Speakers

and a few surprises on the day!

Where and when

Where: Culloden-Balloch Baptist Church, Wellside Road, Inverness, IV2 7GS 

When: Thursday 27th September, 2018

How to book: Click here!

Payment: We accept all major credit cards and debit cards, as well as payment by cheque.

Directions to the event: 

We have prepared some directions to help you find your way to the church. Click here to download them [PDF]

We hope you have found this information useful. If you have any other questions about our 2018 conference, please don't hesitate to call us on 01463 222569 or email [email protected]