All posts by Victoria McLoughlin

How to Assess Your Child’s School Readiness

A child may find it difficult to cope with the pressure of attending school for the first time. Children are not in the habit of staying away from their loved ones for a couple of hours. It becomes our responsibility as parents to make this transition as smooth as possible for our child. To help a child get prepared for school mentally and physically, parents need to follow some essential steps. Among several ways to prepare a child for school, the most important one is to assess their school readiness. School readiness can be defined as a child’s various emotional, behavioral, and learning abilities. Child care Capalaba emphasizes a few factors given below to assess your child’s readiness:

1. Socialising, Learning and Language Abilities:

Your child should be able to gel with other children of his age without your command or direction. To make sure that your child is ready for school, he should be able to play with other groups in the school. If he finds hard to mingle with others in the group initially, he should be able to play independently. Your child should not feel threatened by the presence of other children. He should be at ease when he comes in the touch of new children and socialises with them through language. Therefore, he should be able to convey the basic things essential for socialising at school. A child should be able to identify letters and their sounds.

2. Emotional Independence:

Kindergarten Karana strives to make your child emotionally independent. They help the child accept the new environment with ease and cope with it without facing any hurdles. These steps are essential for the school readiness of your child. He should be able to concentrate on a particular task without getting distracted. Your child should not have any issue while following his teachers’ directions. You may start by familiarizing him with the school’s atmosphere and its system which will help him function successfully.

3. Physical Wellbeing and Coordination:

You must ensure that the child must be healthy and strong enough to participate in important school activities. He should not lack the required coordination significant for these activities. The child should be able to race, climb, jump, and play in the school without any supervision. The child should have fine motor skills necessary for turning pages and holding a pencil on his own. If the child is not able to do these basic things independently, you must take steps to make him school ready. Child care centre Springfield leaves no stone unturned to make children comfortable in the school.

4. Independent:

Children receive all the necessary help and guidance from their teachers in the school. But, instead of relying solely on teachers, make your child independent enough to face new things at school on his own. This is the reason why they require essential basic skills to handle their requirements without any supervision.

Conclusion:

Before sending your child to school, always assess his school readiness. The child should be able to do basic things like holding a pencil, unwrapping lunch, eating lunch, managing his belongings, etc. If the child is facing hurdles doing these basic things, it is important to make him school ready first. Never compete with your friends and neighbours and use your own discretion in deciding when to send your child to school. Early childhood education Springfield focuses on enhancing the basic skills of your children.

Understanding and Applying Positive Discipline at Home

Some parents believe that introducing positive discipline at home may require punishing children. However, they are not aware that these steps may backfire instead of yielding any positive results. It is essential to introduce positive discipline at home to cultivate good manners and important learning skills. Parents may browse the Internet, speak to their friends and relatives, and seek help from books and even professionals. Family day care in Australia gives the following tips to introduce positive discipline at home:

1. Encouragement:

Eskay Kids in Capalaba emphasizes the importance of praising children whenever they perform a task irrespective of its outcome. Whether the task is simple or complicated, it is important to recognize the hard work of a child. It will motivate them and help them to build confidence. This step will go a long way in making the child independent as well. They will also become keen to explore their capabilities.

2. Handle Mistakes:

Introducing positive discipline will also involve teaching children to handle their mistakes. Instead of focusing and pointing at children’s mistakes, preschool in Australia encourages them to rectify them. You can also be a role model for your child on this front. If you make an error, you may feel sorry about it and tell him why you were wrong. It will also make him realize that making a mistake is not a big deal but correcting it, is what’s important. The important tip will also make him take responsibility for his mistakes.

3. Work Together to Deal with a Problem:

You may allow your child to participate in solving problems. It will prove useful in dealing with several issues. You may encourage your child to provide a solution to a difficulty instead of offering one. It will boost his problem-solving capacity when he gets a chance to give his ideas. It will also let him know that his ideas matter which will allow him to think creatively. He will also become more forthcoming in sharing his views. If you browse child care centers near me, you will get many leading child care centers in Australia.

Conclusion:

The above four tips will go a long way in introducing positive discipline at home. These steps will not only make your child confident but also creative. When you recognise his efforts as and when required, he will not hesitate from making new efforts. So rather than punishing your child for his specific behaviour related issues, focus on solutions. Early childhood education Karana believes in the power of positive discipline.

Three Creative Ways to Prepare your Child for their First Day in School

Do you have a child who is going to be starting big school soon? If yes, then that is extremely exciting! However, there can sometimes be an element of anxiety and nerves that come along with starting big school – for both parents and children.

Here are a few creative ways in which you can get your child ready for school:

1. Enhancing Their Motor Skills:

Development of motor skills is the ability to use arms, legs, fingers and toes appropriately. Getting your child/children involved in activities such as drawing, cutting, pasting, hand painting, dancing, running etc will be helpful in their motor skill development. For this, you can also enrol your children in day care centre Springfield so that your child develops these skills and becomes ready to get involved in the activities that take place in his/her school.

2. A Morning Routine:

Children need an ample amount of sleep during their young years. And, if they are all of a sudden made to wake up in the morning to get ready for school, then there can be lots of chaos and fuss in the morning. Morning blues can leave children feeling irritated for the whole day. So to make the first day easy for your children, make sure that you make them develop this habit of waking up early in the morning from a young age. You may also adopt this habit in regular practice by enrolling them in day care centre Karana so that they get acquainted with their schedule beforehand. A healthy morning routine includes an early wake up, a healthy and sustainable breakfast, showering and brushing teeth, and getting their clothes and shoes on. Getting your children into healthy morning habits, is essential.

3. Help Them Socialize:

When children are young and growing up at home, there aren’t always a lot of opportunities for socialisation. But we can very well understand how the first day of school is for children; they find themselves out of their comfort zone, surrounded by children with a total stranger teacher and are secluded from their parents. This can cause them to develop anxiety. To handle such conditions wisely, parents must make sure that they let their children socialise with others. The best way out to inculcate socialisation factor in your child is by taking them to child care Capalaba so that they get to have a brief idea of how a school will look like. Here your children will develop the habit of getting along with their fellow class mates. Further, it helps in making the first day of school easier and fun-oriented.

Conclusion:

So, these were a few ways in which you can help your child prepare for their first day in school. Make use of these creative ways to let your child develop a love for going to school every day.

6 Tips to Prepare Your Child for Big School

Starting big school may be a difficult time for your child. It’s overwhelming to start something new for such a young child, especially something that involves changing their everyday routine. It can be an emotional time for the whole family in fact. Therefore, everyone should make strong efforts to make this transition smooth for the little one. The better they are prepared for big school, the more easily they will accept the new change. Everyone has their own way of coping with various emotions and dealing with new circumstances.

Given below are some tips that will help prepare your child for early childhood education Karana:

1. Practice packing and unpacking their school bag:

When you prepare your child for school, the first big step is getting them accustomed to packing and unpacking their school bag. Practicing packing and unpacking their bag can be a great first step in preparation.

2. Show them their new school uniform and shoes:

By showing them their new attire, they can learn more little bits about their new place of education and childcare.

3. Label everything:

Label all the essential items; jumper, hat, lunch box, etc. Sometimes, children leave their things at school which may be difficult to find in case of no labelling.

4. Focus on adequate sleep at night:

It is important that your child is getting lots of sleep and does not remain sleep deprived. Insufficient sleep will leave them sleepy during school hours which can lead to ill-concentration and exhaustion.

Conclusion:

The above 4 tips will go a long way in preparing your child for their new big school. In order to familiarise your child with their new school routine, you can practice some activities at home. When you practice such activities at home in a similar manner, your child will get accustomed to this new pattern. Day care Springfield focuses on making the big transition smooth for the child.

The Power of Play

Playing is extremely important for the overall growth of your child. Back before there was a big advancement in technology, children would spend quality time playing games which is extremely significant for their health and development. When children spend quality time playing outdoor and indoor games, it leads to all sorts of vital developmental growth. There are many popular games that keep young minds on their toes. Some of these games include hide-and-seek, peek-a-boo, hopscotch, etc. Creative games not only enrich children’s mind but also help them stay fit. This article will explain how beneficial different types of play can be for your child/children.

1. Singing and Dancing:

Children between the age group of 4 to 10 should be offered opportunities to dance and sing. It’s a great activity for them; helping them stay healthy and fit. When children dance in a group, it can also improve their confidence.

2. Narrate Stories:

Narrating stories will help in developing children’s imaginative power. A child’s imagination is such a special thing and can really help them to define themselves as an individual and discover what it is they really enjoy doing. Family day care in Capalaba allocates time to narrating interesting stories to children.

3. Role Play:

Role Play is an excellent opportunity for children to get the chance to step out of themselves and pretend to be whoever they wish. Imagination and role play really come hand in hand and assist with creative development.

4. Socialise:

Socialising with other children, family members, family friends or kindergarten friends is crucial for social development.

5. Monitor Screen Time:

Make sure you limit screen time for your children. Age-specific media can have an advantage for older children if you watch and play with them. Opt for real-time play and socializing skills instead of TV and computer games.

Conclusion:

Early childhood education Springfield focuses on games and activities. Games, activities and play will lead to balanced growth among children. When children involve themselves in games and fun activities they are also given the opportunity to socialise with others – helping to bond with their peers.

The Benefits of Kindergarten

Kindergarten is extremely popular in Australia. According to The Bureau of Statistics last year a total of 342,479 children aged 4 or 5 years old enrolled in a kindergarten/preschool program in Australia. Despite these statistics however, there are still children who don’t attend a kindergarten such as the excellent, Eskay Kids in Capalaba. Kindergarten attendance is not compulsory therefore it is ultimately the parents’ decision whether or not to send their children to kindergarten. This article will highlight the benefits of Kindergarten for young children.

 

Here’s why Children Love Kindergarten:

  • They get to meet new people – both adults (teachers) and other children
  • They get to play and have fun
  • They get to learn a range of educational things
  • They get to socialise and form special bonds
  • They get to have fun and be a part of a group

 

Here’s the Benefits of sending Children to Kindergarten:

  • Children grow socially and emotionally
  • They are able to further develop their fine motor skills through play, art, dance, music, movement and interacting with other
  • They learn how to be a part of a group and learn important social skills such as self-awareness and respect for others
  • They learn both verbal and nonverbal communication skills
  • Children learn language, literacy and numeracy skills, such as reading stories and counting objects
  • They also learn how to listen and behave in a classroom environment which paves the way for their higher education.

Sending your child to a trusted Kindergarten Centre such as Eskay Kids in Capalaba, Brisbane is an investment your child will thank you for. Get in Touch with one of our staff members to learn more.

Expression Through Creativity

Written by Nat at Karana

 

We love some mark making at Karana.   We love to express ourselves through being creative and putting what we are thinking out into the dirt or sand.  Using sticks, or even our fingers and hands, we love to make our marks.  I often find the children making marks in the dirt or sand throughout the day.  Excitedly showing us the pictures they have created and telling us the story that goes a long with it.

Such a simple activity can encourage so much development.  I must admit, when I first saw the children doing this (and mind you, I have seen this for many years but not always seen, or really thought of the learning behind it.) I loved seeing the big movements of their arms then the smaller ones.  Going from big to small.  Small to big and everything in between too.  Running across the yard with the long sticks as they make their ‘roads’ or ‘tracks’ behind them.  Going goodness knows where but just going!

The children, through this play are also experimenting with patterns.  Making lines, dots and squiggles over and over.  Making marks that may represent their names or their families names.  I find that when they are doing this, they are repeating the same makings over and over when representing their name for themselves.  It means something to them and those symbols are their name.  This is what they have picked to be their name.  To them, they see their name and while we may write it down for them prior to them doing it for themselves (if they ask us to write their names), this is how they see it and how they recreate it.  It could be completely different but, I think that is what makes it so special.  Their interpretation of things.  The children’s imaginations being encouraged and shared with others around them.  They choose to share it with me too.  That in itself is priceless.

While this playing is happening they are also developing their body strength.  Encouraging their writing skills would you believe?  They are working their shoulder, arm, wrist, hand and finger muscles.  All intricate parts of development.  They all link together, and in the process, it not only increases their strength, but mentally prepares their bodies for writing and other gross or fine motor activities.  Big movements to little movements.  It also encourages their cognitive skills as they process the different pressures needed to draw with.  How they hold their stick (how it feels comfortable to them) or their hand so they can use their fingers effectively.  In other words, they are actually getting a whole body workout.  Mind and body.

I love that simple play brings so much more than what appears on the surface.  Play is learning and learning is play.  Discovery, excitement, self expression.  It all is a part of play and shines through in so many ways.

Children & Road Safety – Tips from around the Web

Road safety is extremely important, especially for children as they aren’t mature enough or educated at young ages to instinctually understand road safety. In this article, we have collected a variety of reputable tips from across the web to inform this blog on Children road safety.

 

  1. Children need Active Supervision around Roads up until the ages 11/12:
    While this may not be everyone’s opinion on the matter, a variety of articles from the likes of Government sites to Raising Children sites suggest supervision for children up to 11 or 12 years of age. Children with special needs may need supervision up until mid-teens.
  2. Model Safe Behaviour & Communicate:
    When crossing the road, waiting for traffic etc make sure to always do the right thing (the safest thing) and be vocal about your decision in doing so. By saying things like “Let’s wait for all the cars and then we can walk across” impresses upon your children the right habits to get into when it comes to road safety.
  3. Driveways are one of the most danger prone areas!
    This one is more for you as parents. Ensure you always check the driveway twice before pulling in and out, especially pulling in. Also, ensure you pull in and out extremely slowly, so if your children are playing in the drive way they have time to move out of the way.
  4. Follow Road Rules:
    Something that might not seem as important but is almost equally as important as the above-mentioned tips is following road rules when you’re driving. Anything road related matters. So, try your best to model safe and considerate driving habits. It might seem crazy, but children really latch onto everything their parents do and say. So, ensuring they perceive road behaviour in a safe and cautious way is pertinent.

 

The tips in this article have been curated from various reputable sources from around the web in order to provide informed and insightful opinions on the matter. Road safety is something that needs to be carefully considered as a parent, and as a member of the community. We all have a part to play and it’s important to be aware of the role we all play.

5 Healthy Lunch Snacks for Kindergarten

Healthy lunch goes a long way in keeping children healthy and active. It is important to pack a healthy lunch box which should include fruit, vegetables, and a mix of protein, carbohydrate, and dairy products. When children eat healthy food, they are able to concentrate and learn better. Help your child understand the importance of healthy eating by making a list of foods that they might enjoy. Kindergarten Capalaba emphasises the importance of healthy eating and health lifestyle choices.

You may include the following foods for the lunch box:

1. Fruit:

It’s vital to include at least one fruit option in your child’s lunch box every day, dried fruit can sometimes be a good option. You can also opt for canned fruit but ensure you choose those with no added sugar.

2. Vegetables:

Do not forget to include vegetables as they are another healthy option for kids at day care Capalaba. If you make a ham and cheese sandwich, consider adding lettuce and carrot or cucumber and sprouts as an added source of nutrition.

3. Milk and Yoghurt:

In order to avoid boredom, include fruit yogurts in the lunch box. Try to avoid flavoured milk or dairy desserts as they are quite high in sugar.

4. Variety of bread:

Opt for rye or seeded loafs for bread. If your child begins disliking sandwiches, they might like to try pita bread, flatbread, bread rolls, rice cakes, bagels, or any other alternative. Child care centre Capalaba encourages kids to eat healthy by discouraging unhealthy eating options.

5. Homemade biscuits:

If you are a baker, a fun little treat can be homemade healthy nut cookies or banana bread.

Conclusion:

At child care Capalaba we encourage healthy lifestyle choices, which of course includes eating healthily and getting exercise. We hope the above tips can help you to encourage healthy eating in your children.

5 Tips to Help Your Children Adjust to Kindergarten

There are many leading child care centre Karana that will help in making the transition from daycare to kindergarten smooth. The initial days of kindergarten may be tiring, emotional, and overwhelming for the entire family. So, below you will find some tips that will come in handy for kids and help them accept the new phase and keep tantrums at bay:

1. Don’t Ask Too Many Questions:

Don’t bombard your children with several queries as they may end up getting irritated. You may find it tough initially but soon you will develop patience. You should wait for the time when your baby starts discussing the activities at Kindergarten on their own accord. The leading day care centre Karana will stop at nothing to make this phase memorable for your child. You need not worry that your children will feel sad as expert teachers take steps to help all the kids feel at ease.

2. Introduce Relevant Activities at Home:

It may prove helpful if you talk to your child in an exciting manner about preschool’s activities before they begin. You can gradually introduce the activities that usually begin in a classroom. If your child is used to scribbling with colours and copies at home, they will find it exciting to find out the same colours and copies in the preschool classroom.

3. Visit the Classroom with Your Kids:

Visiting the classroom before your child begins will help in eradicating the fearful feelings of stepping into completely new territory. Your child will become more comfortable with the idea if they have already been there and begin accepting the new building and atmosphere before it actually starts. These visits will also provide the perfect opportunity to ask questions and help them become accustomed to their teacher.

4. Read Preschool Books at Home:

You can buy preschool books that your child will actually see in the classroom. Reading the same books as the kindergarten teachers will allow your child to become more and more comfortable and relaxed with the transition.

5. Be a Few Minutes Early to Pick Your Child Up:

This is something very important. When children come out of their school and can’t see their parents, they can get worried and anxious.

Final Thoughts:

These small steps may look very small to you but they will go a long way in preparing your child for Kindergarten. These milestones will help in making early childhood education Karana memorable and full of fun, excitement, and sheer joy. Moreover, parents will be able to relax and feel happy for their children opposed to feeling worries or sad.

“Over the fence”

by Mina Kular, Early Childhood Teacher – Karana

 

Since I have started with Karana early education centre this year, I have been on two outings “over the fence” (as it has become affectionately known by the children) and have observed how children love these and how learning occurs naturally. From simply observing fauna and flora around them, learning about nature by experiencing it in different seasons, observing the colours of the grass and trees, to more advanced life skills like how to navigate their way through somewhat unfamiliar area at the beginning and exploring their community. They also learn how different clothing is required for different environments, what is safe under one environment may not be adequate in a different setting. This further encourages flexibility in thinking.

These walks are really enjoyable in autumn and winter as children get to soak in the warm sun just by being out in the open.  Though educators are always present, however, children do take the lead in these experiences choosing where they stay longer, what areas interest them and so on, leading to a sense of ownership in their beings and play.  These outings also allow an opportunity for children to assess the risk themselves and educators to stand back and observe.  On our last outing, children chose to walk on the rocks and go under the bush, which was an uneven terrain compare to the regular terrain they walk at the centre. So, they learn to tap the differences within the geography of their environment.

The other thing, which I felt amongst children, was the sense of freedom as soon as they were “over the fence”. Though it is heavily encouraged within the centre as well by allowing them to move freely and choose the room of their liking for most of the day, however this is experienced totally differently outside. Boundaries are negotiated on the spot with children at the centre stage.

Children and educators also become co-creators of their knowledge and learning outside, as sometimes educators’ see/explore the new things for the first time in the environment, as has been my experience in the past outing.

5 Ideas for Encouraging Your Children into Eating Healthy

It’s no secret that some children can be extremely difficult to please in the food department. Dinner time can become a real struggle for the whole family when children are picky eaters. While many people believe you can never let your children pick what they do and don’t eat, some children’s relentless resistance can cause immense turmoil. So, in this article you will find some easy ways to encourage your children into eating healthily.

  • Fruit Smoothies… YUM! 
    Fruit smoothies are a crowd favourite! By using your choice of milk, low fat or Greek yoghurt, banana, honey and berries, this will ensure the smoothie is sweet, aesthetically appealing, high in calcium, antioxidants and potassium. Then we can get a little tricky, by adding spinach, celery and some freshly squeezed orange juice you can pump up the health benefits without anybody knowing. The addition of greens and orange juice means that your children are also getting iron and vitamin A, E and C.
  • Bake them in!
    Get creative with your baking, grate carrot into your brownies, mash up avocado or zucchini into your chocolate cakes and rest assured they will never know! The beauty of this is that the sweetness of these goodies perfectly hides the flavours of the veggies.
  • Mix Healthy Cereals in with the Sweeter ones!
    If your children love Nutri Grain or cocoa pops, that’s okay, they can continue eating them… and some healthier options as well. When you buy your cereals, pop them into a jar and mix in together to create a nice mixture of healthy and unhealthy. For example, you can mix in muesli, cocoa pops and corn flakes for the perfect mix of fibre, antioxidants and sugar.
  • Puree!
    When you’re doing your mashed potato and butter and cheese, mash up some pumpkin, sweet potato and cauliflower for some added vitamin c and potassium. If you’re game, mash up some carrots as well for B6 which supports healthy brain function.
  • Whole Grains are Crucial!
    Try opting for whole-wheat pita instead of bread for sandwiches and don’t forget about wheat pasta! Wheat pasta is one of the best ways to get in a couple of servings of whole grains – you can always start by mixing in just a little with your regular refined white pasta. Popcorn is also a whole grain, without too much butter and salt, it can be a fun little snack.

 

This article has provided you with 5 ways to get your children eating the right source of vitamins and minerals without having to cause chaos in your home. Get creative and mix in veggies wherever and whenever you can to keep your children healthy.

 

Stage Fright – How to Help Your Child Through It

Does your child express anxiety before school concerts or soccer games? While butterflies can be normal for children to experience, if you suspect your child is having anxiety before having to perform, this can be concerning. At such a young age you don’t want your children to experience severe stress, so this article will discuss the signs and symptoms of Performance Anxiety and some ways you can help your children to calm down and approach things differently. If you can get your child to take control of their anxiety at a young age, it can put them on a healthy path for their later years when managing stress becomes crucial.

When does it go from Nerves to Performance Anxiety?

It can be difficult to differentiate between what most people consider “nerves” and the more severe form of stage fright, performance anxiety. For children especially, they themselves find it tricky to articulate their feelings, as they don’t really know what they mean. As a parent, it’s important to recognise the signs and symptoms of performance anxiety:

  • Sweating before going on stage
  • Tummy aches
  • Racing Heart
  • Headaches
  • Crying
  • Fear, Frustration and or Anger

 

Steps to Help your Child Fight Stage Fright

It’s extremely unhealthy to ignore your child’s symptoms, if they are experiencing any. Sometimes the most helpful thing for them is support and often a support system can make all the difference in assisting them to calm down.

Talk about it

If your child displays any of the above-mentioned symptoms, it is important to begin by opening into a calm, honest and empathetic conversation with them about it. Ask your child how they feel about performing (whether it’s soccer, ballet, public speaking etc) and whether they feel any unpleasant feelings when having to perform. Listen to them and be gentle and kind. The most important message to send to your child is that what they are experiencing is normal and that many others feel the exact same way.

 

Encourage them to Face it

While the immediate response may be to stop doing whatever it is that is making them anxious, this is not going to help them at all as there are a multitude of things they might come across in life that give them anxiety – some of which they have to face. It’s crucial from a young age to encourage them to keep at it and assist them in building confidence. However, there are exceptions. If it is an activity that they really don’t enjoy and it’s causing a lot of distress it may be best to stop.

 

Calming Down in the Moment

If your child loves the activity but just has trouble when it comes to the pointy end of things, practice calming your child down, by doing things that lower the heartbeat; speaking softly, going for a walk, meditating, telling them a story (distraction is always good) etc.

For some families, stage fright can be expressed in a normal way but for other families it can cause sleepless nights, crying and agony experienced by the whole family. The latter is not healthy and requires immediate attention, the above-mentioned ways of dealing with it can help to minimise stress levels and assist the whole family towards peace.

 

 

 

 

Loose Parts & Creativity

It was first proposed back in the 1970’s by architect Simon Nicholson, who believed that it is the loose parts in our environment that encourage our creativity. In Childcare, loose parts are materials that can be moved, carried, combined, redesigned, lined up, and taken apart and put back together in multiple ways.

After attending a ECW conference on the Sunshine Coast with work colleagues, Angus who runs an OSCH on the Northside off Brisbane, talked about loose parts within his service and through this vision I felt very inspired and started to envision my own thoughts of supplying large and small loose parts to enable the children to create.

Many children started the day just walking past the materials which were scattered within the yarning circle when one started to move the crates and stacked them one on top of each other. This caught the eye of another child who started to add smaller loose parts. As the structure was beginning to take shape more and more children kept adding other materials. Some of these materials consisted of metal bucket, wooden planks, tree cut-offs, wood off-cuts, crates and pipes.

When I acknowledged the children’s efforts one yelled out “yes this is our really big castle”, I said  great and look at all the the materials used. Another child clapped their hands to encourage other children to join in and states “we are a Team, come and help”, I was sure to let the children know that it was great for them to work together. I was very pleased in the way that the loose parts were used, also the team work and collaboration between children. The children created many different structures.

In this time of excitement and inspiration I’m hoping to encourage others to offer same within their service as I feel the children will not only amaze you with their creativity but also their imagination. It’s wondrous to see the children’s leadership and their ideas come to fruition when they are given the space and materials they need to see their project through to completion. Materials can be found at the tip, charities, tradesman with off cuts and around the neighbourhood kerb collection. I hope this can inspire all educators do encourage children to continue to fill their world with raw material creations.

 

Maria – Springfield

How to Support Your Children When they’re Having Fights with Their Friends

Children remain in the protection of their families until they come of age and have to head to kindergarten. This is the real test of time for children as they have to face the world alone. They have to make friends and find the circles where they belong. During such times, you may encounter your child having trouble making friends or getting into fights at their Day Care Centre Capalaba.

Reasons for Children Getting into Fights

There can be a plethora of reasons why your child may or may not be so good at making friends.

  • Ease of Making Friends: Some children find it very easy and normal to make new friends; almost second nature. This could be because they are extroverts, they have had to make friends in the past or they have gained early childhood education in a kindergarten in Australia.
  • Difficulty Making Friends: Some children find it very strange and difficult to make new friends and create a group of play mates. This could be because they haven’t had to make friends before, they might suffer with social anxiety or they might be too shy. However, it isn’t uncommon for children to struggle when making friends.

How to Support Your Children?

Whatever the reason, it is crucial to support your children but not to condone fighting. Here are the four ways to support your children:

1. Childhood Education:

Early Childhood Education Capalaba is one of many centres that will cater to your child’s social skills. It will eradicate any obstructing dispositions and foster behaviour of communicating effectively.

2. Day Care:

Working mothers usually send their children to a day care centre to help them balance work and their children. Such day care centres can also take care of sociable needs of the kids. Even if you’re not a working mother, if you have concerns that your child might be socially anxious or a little too dependent on you, just one day a week at a day care might help them to make friends and prepare themselves for Kindergarten.

3. Kindergarten:

Before starting school, a lot of parents admit their children into Kindergartens as they realise the importance of kindergarten. The kindergarten Karana is one such amazing Australian Kindergarten which will take care of your child’s every need and will help her become amicable.

4. Counselling:

If after all these initiatives, you still don’t see a difference, then maybe it is time you take your child to a counsellor. The stigma surrounding counsellors and counselling sessions have long gone and parents know the importance of seeking help when necessary. A few sessions will suffice for even the most quarrelsome child.

Wrapping-Up:

You can’t choose how your child will react socially, however these necessary skills well help your child become a part of every strange environment he/she steps into. So, look for all the options that may work for your child. Invest in a few programs such as the Day Care Springfield.

How to Prepare Your Child for Prep

It’s no surprise that statistics show parents to be one of the main factors in their children’s success at school. Kindergarten to School is a big step. Therefore, it is vital that parents’ attitudes towards school is positive and upbeat as this makes more of a difference than you might think. This article will explain why and how parents can have such a huge impact on their children’s transition to prep and how they can help their children prepare.

As parents are fundamentally their children’s role models, children can be hugely influenced by their parents’ opinions or stories. Therefore, this is how parents have such a huge impact in the kindergarten to prep/school jump. In fact, parents generally influence their children in all aspects of life, this is only one area.

Tips to Help Your Children get Used to the Idea of Prep/Leaving Kindergarten:

  • Read books, and in particular books that associate positive feelings about school.
  • Talk positively about school and about your time at school.
  • Talk with siblings/cousins/family friends about school and what to expect.
  • Remind them that nothing lasts forever (in a soft positive way)
  • Remind them that all of their friends will also be leaving kindergarten – it’s not just them!
  • Encourage play dates with kids they will be at prep with.

 

How to Encourage Positive Associations with School:

Parents can effectively manage their children’s relationship with school in many ways. Keeping the lines of communication open between themselves, their children, teachers and various children at school is the first step in creating a comfortable and stress-free environment. In the unfortunate even that your child

By ensuring you as a parent can easily and happily encourage and influence school as a positive experience this sets the foundation for a stress-free transition. Following this, attempting to assist in the creation of healthy and happy relationships with peers and teachers is then the next step in a healthy school experience.

A little Gem called Eskay Kids

My journey began with them when I looked at the centre for my son. As we walked through the doors we were greeted by a delightful and insightful director. We soon began exploring and learning all that Eskay had to offer. It was so nice to be greeted by such happy team members! As an educator myself I was immediately impressed as to how calm and how the children were so engaged in their play. Weather it was creating something, digging up the mud to find worms or splashing in a leftover rain puddle – every child was happy and content. It can be nerve raking to find caring and nurturing people (outside of family & friends) to look after your precious little one. But the warmth I felt every time I dropped him off along with a strong sense of reassurance that my child was cared for and happy put my mind at ease.

It didn’t take my son long to feel his sense of security so he could explore the new play environment. It was great he would come home filthy (which is an indication of a busy day!) and tell me all about his day, asking when it was another kindy day! His educators were lovely and would talk to me about what he had been doing – he was very into anything to do with art and they would be so proud of his work just as much as we were. Coming from a structed based centre to this free-flowing natural play was inspiring!

Now I am a part of this amazing team! It was a real eye opener to see such organic play. The openness means there is no limits as to what a child can discover! The transitions for meal or sleep times is effortless, educators asking what the child wants to do, listening to them and calming explaining the benefits of eating well and resting our bodies, engaging the child to listen to their body – this is building the foundations to life skills! Instead of hiding from the rain children are encouraged to play in it! Sensory play at its most basic – its inviting and fun!

I love that the children are expressing interest in a range of experiences and that there is so much hands on, machinal learning which the educators are present to in order to guide but allow the children to make the discovery on their own. Everything is accessible for children so their quest for knowledge is met and can be extended on.   

The respect the team has to one another as well as children and their families is beyond outstanding! To be greeted with a smile and hug really brings out a strong sense of care and family. To know you can talk and collaborate with one another about anything gives you a sense of confidence and belonging.

The possibilities are endless for all to learn and play here at this natural and inviting home-like cottage. With wonderful people who are understanding and go beyond their duty of care to ensure each child feels safe and secure knowing they can play freely with no limits, but still knowing they are being cared for as they play, laugh and grow.

 

Kyra Barker – Group Leader

How to Communicate More Effectively with Your Children

As a parent there are of course, good and bad days. Children can be tricky, especially when you have more than just one to attend to. Communicating isn’t always easy, and general emotional intelligence differences can cause communication barriers between yourself and your children – especially if they are at a young age. Sometimes life gets busy and we unknowingly put less emphasis on communicating properly with our children. Shutting children down when you can’t understand them is a common response when we aren’t in the mood or are slightly annoyed at them (if they’ve been naughty or disobedient). However, there are simple ways to ensure your communication is always smooth with your children no matter the situation. So, this article will give you some tips on how to communicate more effectively with your children.

 

Effective Communication Tips:

  • Children often need some help learning to listen, as well as some gentle reminders about letting other people talk. So, in order to teach your child how to listen let your child finish talking and then respond. This sets a good example of listening for your child.
  • Encourage children to talk about their feelings — both positive and negative — and discuss the possible causes for those emotions.
  • When children are talking to themselves, let them be. Self-talk helps them focus on what they are doing.
  • Use language and ideas that your child will understand as it can be hard for your child to keep paying attention if they don’t understand what you’re talking about. Additionally, when explaining things, use examples or stories that you think they will be interested in listening to and learning about. This will make it easier for it to sink in.
  • Make any instructions and requests simple and clear to match your child’s age and ability.
  • Avoid criticism and blame. If you’re angry about something your child has done, try to explain why you want them not to do it again. Appeal to their sense of empathy.
  • Be a good role model. Your child learns how to communicate by watching you carefully. When you talk with your child (and others) in a respectful way, this gives a powerful message about positive communication.
  • Don’t raise your voice unless there’s a genuine reason for it, this then emphasises when you are really angry and when they have done something wrong. It will be a shock to them when you do raise your voice and they won’t like it and won’t want to make you raise your voice again.
  • When your child is telling you something important, get down to their level, even sit down with them and really listen to what they’re saying. This shows you that you care about what they have to say, and that it’s important to really focus on people when they’re speaking to you. This sets an important example for them.
  • Don’t put too much pressure on your children in any sense. Don’t be too hard on them or

 

These tips should help you to understand how children work a little better and potentially some things that you as a parent can improve on to help your children learn how to communicate more effectively.

 

5 Special Healthy Sweeties for the Kids

We all know how difficult the maintenance of healthy eating can be, especially for the whole family. Packaged snacks are so easy to give in to, just grab them from the shops and wait for the kids to devour them. However, most snack food options from your local grocer aren’t particularly healthy, nor are they reasonably priced. Nonetheless, the kids love them. Kids love sweet foods, which by definition, are the worst for your health. That’s why every house hold need easy to make snack sweeties for the kids that are healthier than the usual packaged snack foods from the shops. Keep reading to discover some great, simple sweet healthy options you can make easily at home.

 

Jam Pinwheels:
Pastry and jam rolled together and baked with a little butter on top are to die for! Super easy and simple and extra healthy if you source healthy home-made jam!

 

Banana Pikelets:
Get your favourite Pikelet recipe and add 1 & ½ cups of mashed banana and ensure you only use 1/3 cup of sugar and you’ve got yourself the best breakfast/afternoon snack. Top with yoghurt and fruit and your children will be more than satisfied.

 

Special Rice Cakes:
Grab some rice crackers from the shops, pop some peanut butter on top, some banana, couple sultanas, coconut and berries to make a face, cat face or a flower type creation. For this one the kids can get involved and create their own little foodie master pieces. Not to mention, this is extremely healthy and filling at the same time.

 

Acai Bowls:
Grab some frozen acai from your local grocer, blend with your choice of fruits, coconut water and top with fruit, coconut and seeds. This will surprise your sweet tooth, with the natural fruity sweetness but satisfy your craving.

 

Honey Popcorn:
Simple but really low in calories, pop some honey over your crunchy popcorn and you’ve got a winning afternoon/after-dinner sweetie snack the kids will love.

 

The above recipe ideas are healthy and easy sweet snacks aimed at providing you with an alternative to process packaged foods that aren’t good for your children’s tummy’s.

The Importance of Teaching Children about Nature

Children love to learn, especially from young ages. It’s important to take the time with your children to teach them lots of different worldly things which of course includes nature, animals and all things earth. Ensuring they are aware of the beauties of nature from a young age allows them to be more in tune with the environment and healthy living lifestyles as they mature and grow up. At Eskay Kids Capalaba we impress upon our children the importance of being kind to nature and practicing environmentally friendly routines. Not to mention, we are mud play enthusiasts, because getting amongst the earth is the best way to form a healthy relationship with it.

 

Getting Outside:

Getting out into nature is perhaps the easiest way to encourage outside play and the more outside play, the more they learn about the outside world. So, get outside with your kids and show them around. Teach them all you know about trees, flowers, animals, insects and the world as we know it. If you assist you join your children outside and play with them it can really assist them in getting comfortable with the great outdoors and therefore wanting to learn more.

Nature Books:
Another great way to educate your children about nature is by reading books about nature, the environment, animals etc. Children love to read and they especially love educational stories. While fun, happy and funny books are also important, mixing it up with some environmental books is always good too.

Healthy Quizzing:

Sometimes some healthy quizzing can be really helpful for children to retain information. For example, “what kind of bird is that”, “what’s the name of that tree”, “is that a pigeon or a cockatoo?” Simple questions about animals and nature can really assist in their overall level of general knowledge which is extremely important.

 

Getting the foundations of general knowledge can really start with simple nature facts. Learning about animals and the earth we live on is such an important thing for children to be made aware of. Technology and the internet is all very important, but outside play should always come first.

“Seeing, not just looking”

Nature Play.  It’s what we are all about here at Karana but in all honesty, I have struggled to get really engaged in this.  I suppose it has always been that way for me, even from a child I was always more of an ‘indoors’ kind of girl.  I love seeing the children outside and enjoy seeing the freedom in their play as they explore and engage with the beautiful world around us.  Yes, I do find the world very beautiful but I suppose i am more of a observer than a ‘hands on’ nature person, you could say.

I have been challenging myself to get engaged more in nature play and take a leaf out of the kids’ books.  Getting involved, getting dirty and seeing the world as a child does.  The wonder and awe of it all.  Not just looking but seeing.  We are very, very lucky to have the amazing world around us and if we really get to understand it then, wow!  How amazing things could be.

A team member, who isn’t with us at the moment would do amazing things with the children and the environment (It is a passion of hers).  Simply looking at leaves, plants, bugs, feather and other bits and bobs and bring it to life, not only for the kids around her but for me.  I would think to myself “Wow!  What a simply idea, I wish I had of thought of something like that!” and then share the experience with her and the children who came to be involved.

 

Ok, so its my turn to step up to the plate and give it a go.  Try to change my perspective and actually see rather than just look.  Over the past couple of years, I have gained a love for simple white feathers.  Feathers have been a big feature in our room over past months and the children love to recognise the different ones around our area.  I often, am told that the birds flying around are ‘Blue faced Honey Eaters’, “Rainbow Lorikeets’, Kookaburras’ etc. just from the feathers they find.  While we don’t often find simple white feathers, we do find some lovely brown and black ones.  Sometimes with little bits of green or orange on them too.   I love the excitement that comes from these simple observations and how their interest and love for it has grown.  Even months after the initial learning that was happening from this area, the kids still are so excited by their discoveries in our back yard.

Incorporating nature items into everyday play and experiences is another way for children to discover what is around them.  Going on a treasure hunt to find leaves, feathers, rocks or gum nuts can help to encourage imagination and self expression.  We really have been enjoying collecting these sort of items and expressing ourselves in different ways.  Using the items for transient art play, gluing, threading, making hangings and sharing them with our friends.  I think encouraging the children to share their love for nature with their friends is a great way to share their passions and interest for it.  We collected a bucket of feathers over the past few days and while we have not decided on what we are going to do with them just yet, the thought process is in place and I am sure it will be simply beautiful.   Through discussions and sharing time with the kids while creating these pieces for our friends, I think that, in its simplicity, we are sharing the beauty of the world around us and spreading the joy with others.  It’s a journey that I am happy to share with the children and am enjoying being corrected in my way of viewing nature and the world around us.  Seeing and not just looking…it has made me think and I hope I don’t ever forget it.

– Natalee Blair

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How to Have an EGGcelent Easter With the Kids

Easter is an extremely EGGciting time for children. There’s something about a mystical bunny rabbit and boat loads of chocolate that really sets the tone for a thrilling holiday. But of course, when children grow up, they lose that relentless excitement for Easter and the bunny and, well maybe, not the chocolate. Nevertheless, it is important to ensure you make Easter as fun and memorable as possible when your children are young, because they can be memories they will cherish forever. In this article we will give you tips on how to make Easter Sunday the best Easter Sunday possible!

 

  1. Egg Hunt!!!!! (of course)
    What kind of Easter would it be without an Easter Hunt, right? A very bleak Easter indeed. Whether it’s an indoor hunt or outdoor, the Easter Egg Hunt is always a winner!
  2. Bake Easter Goodies
    Baking can be a great way to incorporate educational aspects into the day – teaching the kids how to bake. Either bake treats on Easter Sunday or bake them for Easter Sunday, whatever you choose make sure to get creative with decorations, chocolate eggs and icing!
  3. Egg Race
    There’s nothing like involving a bit of healthy competition. By decorating the hard boiled eggs with paint, glitter and decorations you can incorporate fun, competition and creativity!
  4. Visit a Pet Farm
    Now while this one is most certainly not mandatory, it can be a fun treat to take the kids to see real life rabbits and animals just for some added animal fun. If you don’t have a pet farm nearby, perhaps you have friends or know some neighbours with farm animals that wouldn’t mind a visit.
  5. Host a Picnic
    Picnics can be a really fun little activity for children, especially with the addition of yummy treats and toys! Not to mention inviting their fellow friends can be an even more exciting experience for them.
  6. Get Outdoors
    Get outdoors and fly a kite or go for a swim! Anything out of the ordinary is always exciting and different. Not to mention, if a particular place or activity is a real hit, turn it into an Easter ritual! There’s nothing like a family ritual!

 

 

Easter is a time for family, fun, surprises, yummy treats, and most of all, making it special for your children. So start planning on the little things you intend on doing or surprising your children with!

Tips & Tricks for Getting Your Kids to Sleep at Night

Night time can pose some issues for some families. Many children fear the dark and fear sleeping on their own with their parents in a different room. It’s far more common than you may think for children to sleep in their parents’ bed/room. But after a while if repeated, it can turn into an unhealthy habit.

Why is it an Unhealthy Habit?

By allowing your child/children to sleep in your bed or in your room, you are letting them believe there is something to be afraid of in their room or simply at night time. This process of allowing them into your room can easily turn into a habit and become almost uncontrollable over time.

Why is it Important to Avoid the Formation of Bad Sleeping Habits?

It’s vital to avoid any formation of these habits for some fairly basic reasons. It’s important to teach your children to be independent and confident, not fearful and paranoid. Similarly, it’s equally as important to teach children to that their home and bedroom is a safe space where they never have to feel afraid. During our early years, our brain develops at a drastic pace and habits we form when we’re young can stick with us indefinitely.

How can we Avoid Bad Sleeping Habits?

If you can help your child get to sleep quicker, there is less chance of them asking to sleep in your bedroom.

  • Get the Right Amount of Sleep
    Ensure your child is getting the right amount of sleep for their age. Now while everyone differs, you will become aware of how many hours leaves them refreshed and energised.
  • Create a Good Sleeping Environment
    Ensure your child’s bedroom is a safe place that they feel comfortable in and enjoy playing in. Ask them how they would like to decorate it and make sure at night it’s nice and dark and cool. If fairy lights, or a night light would make things easier for them, oblige.
  • Routine
    Routine can be one of the best ways to avoid bad habits forming. So ensure your children go to sleep at the exact same time every night and that way they will most likely wake up at the same time each morning. A healthy routine might include, a relaxing bath, dinner, brushing teeth, one or two stories and sleeping at the same time each night.
  • Avoid Meals, Sugar and Caffeine Before Bedtime
    This is a fairly obvious one, but it’s easy to forget – especially when dessert comes into play! But ensuring you avoid any of these things at least a few hours before bedtime is crucial. However, caffeine for young children is never a great idea.
  • Ensure They Exercise Regularly
    Now when we say exercise, we don’t mean intense physical endurance, just simply running around outdoors or swimming at the beach or pool. Anything that gets them outside, even a walk is fine.

 

Ensuring your child develops healthy sleeping habits at a young pave the way for healthy habitual development throughout their life. Not to mention, it makes things easier on the rest of the family – interrupted sleeping can cause all sorts of unwanted situations and your own unhealthy sleeping habits.

 

Expressions of Philosophy

Kate Shapcott

Early Childhood Teacher

Blue Gum Room

Springfield Child Care and Early Education Centre

 

Do you remember playing in the rain as a child? Did you delight in jumping in muddy puddles? Do you remember the relief of a cooling shower on sweaty summer skin?

 

The recent bout of showery weather prompted me to reflect on how we express our philosophy through everyday experiences with the children. A professional colleague asked me how our children were reacting to being inside due to the weather, the assumption being that children need to be protected from a little summer rain. Of course, with our indoor-outdoor program, our children have the freedom and flexibility to move inside and outside for much of the day even when it’s muddy and damp outside. No one is forcing them to shelter from the rain or to be in it. It’s their choice and we respect that choice and that’s how they learn to make good choices; through experience and encouragement.

 

 

We always work closely with parents and if a parent requests that their child stay out of the wet then we naturally respect that. They are the experts on their child. Parents who choose our centre tend to value the emphasis on experiencing the natural world in all it’s diversity. That’s why our Mayfield farm visits are so popular! It’s wonderful when families visit the farm with us or come on excursions to the park or Mobile Library.

 

As a child did you play with cousins, neighbours or the children of your parent’s friends? Did you learn how to relate to older children and to younger ones?

 

Last week I was enjoying spending time with children on the big swing and I reflected on how natural it is for children of many ages to play together and learn from each other. The environment we create is relaxed and friendly because for much of the day the children can choose to play wherever they like. Siblings are free to spend time together, older children learn how to look out for and look after the younger ones, younger children learn from watching and playing with the older children. This creates a sense of community and inclusion. It reflects ancient ways of being and becoming, the power of learning within a community.

 

Do you remember singing and dancing as a child? Or the joy of learning something new? Of listening to a story and having the world of imagination opened to you?

 

Honouring the power of play is integral to our approach. Within the Kindergarten Program we have some structured group experiences and activities, always playful, always fun. They create a sense of belonging and an opportunity for explicit teaching that prepares the children for the next stage of their educational lives while remaining entirely appropriate to this stage of development. I delight in the enthusiasm the children show for these special times and respect that it’s the process not the product that is paramount in Early Childhood Teaching. I still fondly remember my time at Kindergarten, all those many years ago. Do you?

6 Tips to get Your Children Ready for Kindergarten

If you read our previous blog on “The Importance of Kindergarten Readiness” you will already be aware of why it is so important to prepare your children for Kindergarten. We touched on some ways to get your children ready however this article will go into far more depth and provide you with a range of tips on how to easily prepare your child for their soon to be, new learning environment. While some tips might be simple, or obvious to you keep in mind they might not be obvious to some. If you did miss our previous blog, preparing your child for Kindergarten is crucial for their early brain development. Not to mention the simple fact that preparedness directly correlates with ones’ success.

 

Tips:

  1. Read to your Child Regularly:
    Reading is extremely important, especially from a really young age. While it’s obviously extremely educational and stimulates early brain development, it can also assist in the generation of their imagination and creativity. Not to mention, reading is extremely soothing and can have many sleeping benefits.
  2. Get Musical:
    Even if you don’t play an instrumental or consider yourself a talented singer, introducing music into their lives can be an effective way to encourage their creativity and introduce them to new sounds and experiences.
  3. Encourage Responsibility:
    Encouraging responsibility is such a great way to inspire growth and taking responsibility for their actions. Not to mention, early development of leadership skills can be a great way to inspire independence, individuality and personality development.
  4. Get Involved:
    Get involved with your children and their activities and games that they enjoy. More than you know, they will appreciate your support and involvement. Not to mention, it’s a chance to bond while doing something they love. Getting involved is such an important step in the process as social skills is a huge part of Kindergarten preparation; sharing, talking, watching and playing with other children is a huge part of early brain development.
  5. Encourage Educational Activities:
    Encouraging educational activities is potentially the most powerful way to prepare your child educationally for Kindergarten. While, educational preparation isn’t the most important, it can be useful in early brain development.
  6. Give them Freedom:
    A lot of these tips involved impressing a particular activity or “way of being” onto them, which is obviously important as a parent. However, it’s just as equally important to let them go and enjoy their lives as they wish. Personal development is extremely important – self-discovery leads the way for future success.

 

Hopefully this article has been useful to you in learning how exactly you can easily prepare your children for Kindergarten without being too intense or hard on them. It can be easy to forget sometimes that even though they’re children, they need their space and their own time just as much as we do.

Nutritious Lunch Box Ideas Your Kids will LOVE

As a parent, you may have had previous struggles with ‘eating time’. Or perhaps you currently struggle with it. Whatever the case, young children and healthy eating can be a challenge – if it’s not for you, you’re one lucky parent! Nevertheless, it’s always handy to pick up new lunch box ideas – nutritious ones!

Lunch Box Ideas:

  1. Scrolls:
    Scrolls can be extremely fun, they can be sweet or savoury and are quite a filling therefore could be the perfect alternative for the boring old sandwich. Savoury scrolls can be yummy with tomato paste, veggies and cheese. Sweet scrolls often have Nutella or such, but you can use sultanas and honey or carob choc chips and dried blueberries.
  2. Sushi:
    Sushi might be a bit of a tricky option for some children, but for many it’s a fun little roll of goodness! Sushi with avocado, carrot and cucumber can be really delicious and you can add chicken or tuna if applicable to your child.
  3. Dried Veggie Chips:
    Dried veggies can be a delicious nutritional treat. Simply slice veggie’s preferably with a julienne to get a very thin consistency and pop some olive oil, garlic and herb salt and bake in the oven until dry and crispy.
  4. Homemade Granola:
    Homemade granola is a super easy treat which contains a whole bunch of healthy grains and vitamins. Gather all your ingredients; muesli, coconut, dried fruits, seeds, spices and berries like goji berries or dried blueberries and pop it all in the oven to get nice and crunchy. Serve this for your children with yoghurt and fresh fruit or alternatively make it into a yummy bar topped with honey.
  5. Roasted Chickpeas:
    Roasted chickpeas can be an easy little lunch box snack, by simply roasting chickpeas in the oven with a little olive oil and salt until golden and crispy; makes for a nutritious lunch time snack full of nutrients.
  6. Fruit Salad:
    While this might seem like an old school treat, it’s not always easy to get children to enjoy fruit. You can jazz up your fruit salads with carob choc chips, coconut, granola and organic vanilla flavouring or agave syrup.

 

Meal prep may not be your favourite task, and I’m sure lunch box prep falls under the same category. So hopefully these fun lunch box ideas have been of some assistance in your daily food preparation grind!

Transitions

Reflection by Trisha Dean (Director, Karana)

 

January is such an unknown entity in the world of an Early Childhood Service.  There is always so much going on – new children starting, children returning from holidays, children transitioning rooms, children coping without an older sibling who is heading off for the world of schooling for the first time.  It’s often like a lottery – you never know what is going to happen from one day to the next.

 

 

I’ve stopped to pause and reflect on this dynamic so far this year.  There have been a few tears from some of our younger cohort, as they readjust after extended period of absence over the Christmas break.  Mostly short lived, and mostly just on separation from parents they have had extra time with over the break.  It’s really hard to let go of mum or dad again when you’ve had them at hand.  Because, let’s face it – while we have beautiful and trusting relationships with children – there is never a replacement for a parent.  Once the parent leaves, and they’ve had some extra special attachment time, things pretty quickly spring back to a carefree existence.

 

One of the things I’ve always noted over my time in working with children, is the adjustment to a new room.  And this is what my reflection this year mostly revolves around.  Our 3.5 plus year olds moving into our Kindergarten program without exception, have re-entered the arena with buzz and excitement about now being a “Possum Kid”.  They wear this new found status around the centre with chests puffed.  All of a sudden – they are filled with a sense of pride of being the big fish.  Not to mention, the call of Mayfield excursions is bubbling to the surface.  So there is pretty much no issue with this lot moving from the Platypus room.  They understand, they’ve had the conversations, they’ve been spending lots of their time preparing for this moment, they already have relationships with the adults, and they are super ready!

 

 

Then there are the children transitioning from the Kookaburra room to the Platypus room.  The children ranging from 2.5 – 3 years.  While conversations happen, it is hard to prepare children of this age for change.  They really don’t grasp the concept until it is actually happening.  And what I note this year, is our ability to ease this through without a hiccup.  I believe that our ultimate multi-age environment is the biggest factor here.  The fact that there is no corner of our entire centre that is not known and familiar to the children.  While they have their “home room”, ultimately they are free to be wherever the wind takes them.  So really, a room change is just a new place to put your stuff.

 

 

The one big change, is the primary relationships with adults.  And the most wonderful thing about being at Karana, is that a child is never separated from an adult that they form a primary relationship with.  They are always free to be with the adult they most strongly relate to.  Even if that person is not one of their room staff.  There are no off limits.  So changing rooms does not look like being separated from someone you really need when your cards are down.

 

It all sounds so simple……. And it actually is.  So why does this transition period look so different in many other settings?  Why does it have to mean losing the person you trust most?  My reflection makes me sit and softly smile, as I consider the empowerment of the child in our space.  Because at the end of the day, their wellbeing is all that really matters.  And I think we are at that point, where it would be hard to do this thing any better!

Why Outdoor Play is so Important for Your Child

Playing outdoors, unlocks a whole new territory for children. The fresh air, green grass, dancing grasshoppers, and blue skies create the perfect environment for growth, self-confidence, adventures and physical exercise. Playing outdoor allows children to test their physical boundaries which leads to self-discovery and growth. Unlike indoors, where running, jumping and crazy movement isn’t particularly welcomed with vases and furniture in such close proximity – outdoors is the perfect environment for children to move their bodies and challenge themselves physically. Not to mention, being outdoors introduces children to animals, plants and nature.

How to Encourage Outdoor Play:

Now that you understand why outdoor play is so important the benefits it can have on your Childs mental and physical health, here’s how you can encourage outdoor play if your child isn’t particularly warming up to the idea.

  1. Walks: Taking your children for walks, perhaps on the beach or around the neighbourhood is a great start to introducing them to nature. If you have a dog, you could make it a regular daily event.
  2. Sport: Sport is a great way to encourage outdoor play. Choose an easy game you think your child might enjoy and be able to participate such as easy soccer or even just throwing and catching. Invite them out, teach them the rules and see how they respond to it.
  3. Visit Parks: Visiting your local park on a regular basis will introduce your child to a new and challenging outdoor environment. Meeting up for a play date is an even more effective use of outdoor play time – incorporating socialising and outdoor play is important as well.
  4. Building: Building cubby houses, tree houses and hidey holes is a great way to incorporate motor skills, creativity and outdoor play.
  5. Climbing Trees: Climbing trees, while scary for you as a parent, can be a great way to face fears, learn new tricks and experience something different and challenging.

As a Parent:

As a parent it is completely normal for outdoor play to overwhelm or scare you. However, it is important to remember that children need to explore and learn and a couple of bumps and scratches just so happens to be included. A great way to prepare yourself for these learning curves, is to supervise outdoor play time until you feel comfortable with them playing without your presence.

 

Kindergarten Readiness and its Importance for your Child

You may not remember your very first day of Kindergarten, but you might remember the build-up to your first day. Nonetheless, Kindergarten is an emotional roller coaster for children and for many, Kindergarten is their very first experience of real social situations and a learning environment. While every individual has their own personal opinions regarding Kindergarten and its benefits, research has shown that the very first few years of education and preparedness are the most vital in developing a solid foundation of social skills and the ability to adapt to learning environments. During these initial years, the human brain develops the skills that form the foundations for reading, counting and social interaction.

So, what is Kindergarten Readiness:

Kindergarten Readiness is the extent to which you as a parent, have prepared your child for what’s in store regarding Kindergarten. Kindergarten Readiness allows your child to prepare themselves mentally and educationally for how Kindergarten will change their life and in what ways. Being prepared for anything is important in life, especially if it entails a new daily routine and being in new social situations and new environments. Specifically, encouraging educational activities, writing, arts and counting is the most effective way to prepare your child for Kindergarten.

Why is Kindergarten Readiness Important:

Ensuring your child is ready for Kindergarten allows them to process and prepare in their own way. The importance of Kindergarten Readiness is extensive – there are many reasons why it does hold such significance. Generally speaking though, preparing your child means that they understand where and why they are going and how this will change their current routine. Fostering this idea however, means that you as a parent show them care and nurture their emotions. Additionally, preparing them in a way which supports their education is the best way to encourage and prepare them.

How you can get your child ready for Kindergarten:

In order to ensure your child is properly prepared for the introduction of Kindergarten, you can research learning activities online or encourage friends and family to gift your children educational activities instead of toys or clothes for their birthdays and Christmas. Preparation doesn’t have to be intense, extensive or daily. But introducing your children to counting, drawing and such things they will be doing at Kindergarten is a great way to encourage their education and impress a sense of importance on learning.

Encouraging Children to Drop the Screens

Living in such a technologically advanced time, it can be hard to encourage our children to drop the screens and use their imagination instead or go outside and embrace nature. But why would our children listen to us? We are terrible role models in this regard. We always have our phones on us – we use them all the time, mostly because we have to. Often times, our jobs involve staring at a computer screen or making calls all day. And while we actually engage in a lot of important, boring, paper-work type tasks on our computers at home, children don’t see it that way. We live in a digital age – there’s no avoiding it. However, it is vital, that from a young age, we try to impress on our children the importance of playing outdoors or being creative and arty or playing sports. While this may not be easy, because well, who can deny that tv is extremely entertaining? It is still crucial that we teach our children to appreciate the simple things in life and to use their brains to their absolute capacity.

Reduce Screen Time: 

This may seem obvious but decreasing the allowed amount of screen time for your children is the first step in encouraging them to explore other activities. If your children have a certain show in particular that they love to watch perhaps allow them to watch that once a day and nothing else. Or Give them a certain amount of screen time per day, say 2 hours where they can go nuts and watch whatever they please. This may not be easy to begin with, but soon enough they will get into the routine and accept that this is just the way it is.

Encourage them to try Extra-Curricular Activities:

Some children may not have much of an idea of what they’re interested in or would like to get involved with at a young age. However, encouraging them to try new things and get involved with sports or dance can really help to increase their confidence levels, meet new friends and find new hobbies that will encourage them to turn off the screens.

Play-Dates:

Play dates can be a really great way to encourage your children to form friendships and relationships and build up the courage to play with other children independently. This can not only be important educationally and socially, but if you organise with the children’s mothers to ensure they don’t engage in screen time, it can be another element that encourages them not to turn to the screen.

Screen time is a touchy subject, and every parent is different in regard to how much or how little they allow their children to have. While everyone has different opinions, too much screen time is not constructive and can impede children’s brain development, especially at younger ages. Attempting to decrease screen time is a great start to ensuring your children are experiencing life to the fullest and encouraging a healthy lifestyle.