Category Archives: Day Care

Early years and screen time | Articles around the web

Think back to your early years, when you were about pre-school age. What did you do all day? Safe bet it involved playing in the yard, getting scraped knees and trekking mud through the house. In the past ten years, though, this has changed dramatically. Children have gone from making mud pies to taking selfies. How, as a parent, should you manage screen time? We’ve looked around the web to find some answers.

 

Healthy screen time and quality media choices: 2-5 years by Raising Children

Raising Children points out that screens play an important role in children’s education and it’s impossible to avoid them completely. The American Academy of Pediatrics advises no more than an hour of screen time per day but many children exceed this limit.

This page (and others for the appropriate age group) has advice on what apps and programs you should expose your child to, as well as time management.

 

The Right Dose of Screen Time for Kids by Psychology Today

Vanessa LoBue, PhD writes this short yet informative article that points out the pros and cons of the iPad. Screens have an effect on everyone around the child, not just the child themselves. It can nip an argument between siblings in the bud during the car ride home, but it can’t be a replacement for your son or daughter spending time with friends. Screen time is increasing, yet it can’t be a substitute for fulfilling, real-world interaction.

 

Digital Guidelines: Promoting Healthy Technology Use for Children by the American Psychology Association

The American Psychological Association aims to educate parents about technology and its effects on their children in this piece. It points out what type of screen use is appropriate for each age group (e.g. 1 ½ to 2 years old can watch ‘high-quality programs’ with their parents).

The Association uses the bulk of the page to help parents set out guidelines on using tech and watching screens at home. This is helpful if you’re trying to decide what ‘rules’ to set up around screen use for your own family.

 

20 Android and iOS apps for kids to keep them entertained (and quiet) by Digital Trends

Digital Trends has a range of free and paid apps that are age appropriate and easy to monitor. Genres include games, art, movies, and education. With 20 on the list, you’re bound to find one or five you like for the iPad.

Keeping the kids happy at Christmas when daycare is over

Daycare does not operate through Christmas and New Year, so  it’s a great opportunity to regroup as a family. The children are full of beans on a great day and keeping them entertained is difficult when you’re stumped for ideas. We come to the rescue with days out and at-home activities that are heaps of fun for the whole family!

 

 

  • Go to the library

Brisbane City Council libraries have a heap of child-friendly activities aimed at children who go to daycare/preschool. There’s singalongs, reading time, and events where children and adults can make new friends.

The State Library has a lovely children’s area that regularly hosts storytimes, singalongs, and craft corners on Fridays and Saturdays.

 

  • See the windows

Myer in the city has amazing Christmas windows every years that draw crowds all through December. It’s common to see families, couples, and singles stare into the windows and follow the story that plays out year after year. After having your fill of the scenery, you can take the kids to see Santa (or drop in a letter addressed to the North Pole)

 

  • Go look at lights

What’s Christmas without Christmas lights? Radio station 4KQ’s Christmas light competition draws hundreds of entrants every year and they certainly don’t spare any time or expense! Contestants make interactive displays, light shows, and even ‘plant’ light trees in their yard in a bid to take out the top prize.

The 4KQ Christmas Lights competiton draws hundreds of visitors and entrants every year

 

  • Make ornaments

The kids will have an opportunity to do this at daycare but why not use it to have some family bonding time! Pick up some cardboard/paper/cheap ceramic plain ornaments and some craft materials. Just make sure you have adequate protection for clothes and the floor. Glitter is tough to clean out of a carpet.

 

  • Bake up a storm

Gingerbread men, fruitcake, chocolate cupcakes, biscuits…the list goes on! While we have articles dedicated to healthy snacks, it’s fun to let loose and bake something sweet for the holidays. Taste, Donna Hay, and Women’s Day have amazing recipes fit for Christmas lunch. Sharing is optional!

Get the kids involved in baking for friends

 

  • Have the family over

Christmas is time best spent with the family. The adults have a chance to chat and the kids can play in the yard. As the good old saying goes, ‘your cousin is the best friend you make at Grandma’s house’.

 

  • Make a playdate at the park

Kids will naturally miss the friends they’ve made at daycare. Make a date with other parents to meet at the local park for a barbecue. The children will have a rip-roaring time on the playground equipment, followed by a nap at home when they’ve used up all their energy.

 

  • Market shopping galore

Christmas is in the air all through November and December thanks to multiple Christmas Markets. Brisbane Kids has a list of markets, dates and locations on their website.

 

  • Decorate the tree

You can’t forget the most important! The tree should go up on the first weekend, if not the first day  of December.

The benefits of mixed-age play

Eskay kids services provide an environment in which children are able to play and learn alongside children of a variety of ages.  This approach not only nurtures and promotes the sibling relationship, but also the richness that comes from desegregating age groupings.  Some of that richness includes:

 

Children are more settled.  Whether they are arriving with their sibling, or arriving to a cousin or family friend who already attends the service, it is comforting to them to be able to spend the day with someone familiar.  Children in segregated services not only have to say goodbye to their parents, but also to their sibling as they head off to a different room for the day.  

 

Children are able spend time with family while away from the home environment.  There is no doubt that there is something special about the love that family members have for one another.  Throughout the day at our service we see siblings and cousins turn to each other for the kind of comfort that only family can provide.

 

Younger children have mentors and role models in older children.  These pictures are just one example of the many ways that younger children are exposed to the more complex ideas of older children.  They have role models and numerous teachers beyond the staff of the centre demonstrating complex ideas, language and social skills throughout their day.

Older children experience what it is to be a mentor and teacher to younger children.  Our kindergarten children are able to step up, to show leadership and to have their knowledge and experiences valued as expert knowledge when sharing with younger children.  This gives them a sense of pride in the expertise that they have developed.  Furthermore, research shows that we reinforce and consolidate our own knowledge when teaching it to others.

 

Mixed age grouping is inclusive of indigenous beliefs about teaching and learning.  In Aboriginal culture and across a wide range of cultures children traditionally learnt in family groupings.  Aboriginal people view family groupings as a more natural method of teaching and learning, believing that children will flourish if the learning environment could cater to the way that children learn naturally.  Certainly the benefits we of mixed age learning that we see on a daily basis here at Eskay Kids are a testament to the wisdom of this indigenous knowledge.

Written by Summa Brooks

Educator

Eskay Kids – Springfield

9 activities for active children after day care

  • AFL

(Image via Auskick)

No matter the type of ball, getting the kids involved in team sport early will help them learn to cooperate with others and make valuable friends. Plus, if they’re full of beans after you pick them up from daycare, it’s a great way to burn off excess energy.

 

  • Gymnastics

Local YMCAs and some gyms will have a gymnastics team or practice times. There’s floor, trampoline, and a variety of other exercises that’ll build strength, coordination, and self-esteem. Research if there’s a gym near your home or within a reasonable distance and if they’ve got a program for your young ones.

(Image via Brisbane Kids)

This is an essential skill to learn, and who knows? Maybe one day your son or daughter will be a gold medalist. Swim clinics are available before and after school/daycare and on weekends. There’s holiday clinics in some places, too.

 

  • Jiujitsu/karate/taekwondo

Starting martial arts young teaches children the importance of discipline, respect, and self defence. Martial Arts Queensland has a list of locations in Brisbane where you can enrol your child after day care. There’s also options available at the Redlands PCYC.

 

  • Music practice

Mozart wrote symphonies before he was ten! Not all children have this ability, but nurturing a genuine love of music will help your child’s development and confidence (read 10 ways how music enhances your child’s education by Kidspot).

There’s lots of music schools and private lesson options around Brisbane. Your child might not take up music seriously until they start school. Starting early doesn’t hurt, and some classes offer parent/child music and dance lessons.

 

  • Drama/art classes

Let their artistic side out! Children are naturally creative, even if they’re shy. Going to a drama class will build their confidence. If they enjoy art at daycare, set up some water colour paints at home or find an art program, like these ones on Brisbane Kids.

 

  • Help with baking/cooking

Want to make something healthy for dinner but the kids won’t eat it? Use the classic Jamie Oliver trick and get them to help out with cooking. After daycare, your child will be hungry and it’ll be easier to make them eat what’s served if they helped you make it. You can even make it an event by asking them to help you with the shopping and pick things off the shelf.

 

Snack art, tag team drawing, and ‘the cabbage experiment’ are just some of the fun and quirky options available on this list.

 

day care

Even kids need to decompress and Inner Child Fun has a host of ideas. You can do parent/child reading, go for a walk or even make your own trail mix!

 

6 of the best lunchbox ideas to bring to daycare

Earlier in 2017, a Kmart hack turned a humble clip-close container and an ice cube tray into a bento box, sending the internet wild. Inspired by healthy and hipster eating, the internet was soon flooded with different varieties of food sectioned off into these neat little squares.

We don’t have cool Kmart lunchboxes like this, but we do have a list of the best healthy lunch options you can bring to daycare, gathered from around the web.

 

 

daycare lunchbox

This lunchbox combo allows you to prep enough for two days. Classic Mexican meatballs, DIY tortilla chips and a side of guacamole are just some of the things your child can look forward to at lunchtime.

 

aussie daycare lunchbox

This one is  great idea for the older daycare/kindy kids. This lunchbox is a tasty combination of colours, textures, and flavours that’ll never get boring. Vegetable sticks and beetroot dip for an entree, meatloaf sandwich for a main meal, polished off with yogurt for dessert.

 

daycare meals reheat

Parents who worry about ready access to a microwave, this one’s for you. These 15 ideas include classics like boiled eggs and sandwiches to more creative options like taco salad and pesto pasta. There’s also ‘sandwich bread sushi’, combining jam and cream on wholewheat bread.

 

 

 kidspot kitchen daycare

Why pay extra and get snacks full of refined sugar from the supermarket when you can make a healthier option for your child? Okay, and yourself. Kidspot Kitchen is chock-a-block full of recipes that will have the kids fighting over the last piece. The options include muesli bars, Vegemite scrolls, sweet and savoury muffins, and more. Make sure you save a bit for yourself!

 

daycare lunch packing

Raising Children Australia has a wealth of information for parents, including on how best to pack lunch for your kids. You need to give them something delicious and nutritious that’ll keep them fuelled through the day. If you’re stuck on ideas, Raising Children has sandwich combos and a rundown on proper hygiene before you start preparing.

 

 

daycare recipes

These kid-friendly recipes won’t take ages to prepare, and you’ll have leftovers to put in the lunchbox the next day. You can choose from the likes of falafels, frittatas, tacos, and vegetable sweet-chilli stir-fry! There’s also different sweetbreads and desserts to keep things interesting.

Life after childcare; the first day of school

After the childcare days are over, school begins. The lead-up to the first day of school is a mixed bag for both parents and kids alike. The actual day won’t be that bad if you’re prepared. We’ve helped dozens of parents and kids get ready for the big event and decided to spread our knowledge with these handy tips.

 

 

  • Get the uniform ready

In childcare, the kids don’t have to worry about uniforms. But prep is a different story. You can make it an exciting event, saying ‘let’s go and get your big school clothes!’.

If your child has trouble with shoelaces, it’s fine to get slip-ons or buckled shoes. You don’t want them to trip. Teach them laces a few times and have them wear the ‘big kid shoes’ when they’re ready.

 

  • Go school shopping

And make it a fun day out! Let your child choose a new backpack, pencil-case, and lunchbox. They’re something the kids will look after because they’re proud of them, especially if it has their favourite TV character or movie hero on it.

You must stock up on other essentials like pencils, books, glue, and other materials found on the school supply list. There’s lots to buy, and that leads us to our next point.

 

 

  • Label everything

This way your son/daughter’s stuff doesn’t get ‘misplaced, and can easily be returned if left behind’. Get them involved, too. Something as simple as placing a label on a book is exciting to a child getting ready for ‘big school’. You might’ve even done this during their childcare days.

 

  • Teach them new skills

Teachers are there to help, but they can’t help every child all the time. Even during their time in childcare, teach your son or daughter how to do simple things. Little actions like how to wipe their face, wash their hands, or even taking off a jumper makes them anxious if they don’t know how to do it.

 

  • Get a routine going

Little ones need lots of rest. They’ll trot out the old line ‘but I’m not tired!’, then crash ten minutes later, guaranteed. Have a set dinner and bedtime and help your son or daughter with brushing their teeth. If you read in bed to get them to sleep, keep it up for as long as you can. It’ll improve their literacy immensely.

 

  • Go to orientation day

Going to orientation will ease the nervous jitters, plus it’s an opportunity to make friends. It’s something both you and your children can benefit from. You’ll meet the teachers and have a private word if you need to voice any concerns. Plus, your child can see their future classmates and make fast friends. Some parents may have difficulty with drop-off duties, and this can be your chance to make friends of your own.

 

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Fun things to do after daycare

5 fun things to do after daycare

Daycare is done, but the kids are still full of energy and you need something to entertain them. What do you do when you’re stuck for ideas? How about some of these?

 

  1. Baking

Women’s Weekly has a whole range of cookbooks, including baking, aimed at little ones and big kids alike. Plus, your kids will have lots of fun getting involved in baking up their favourite treats.

You don’t need to bake something sweet for it to be ‘fun’. Make healthy lunchbox snacks like zucchini slice, savoury muffins, and homemade muesli bars. You can make it an afternoon event by doing the shopping first and having the kids get the ingredients off the shelves.

 

  1. Library time

In an age where screens are dominating our lives, it’s good to shut them off every once in awhile. If your kids want to play on the computer, have a time limit.

 

Try to steer the kids towards the junior section and have them pick out a book, or choose one for them. Get some reading practice in or play a game. Libraries have many child-friendly activities available. There’s arts and crafts, book hunts, and even chess.

 

  1. Little athletics

Finding a sport to enjoy will take some trial and error, but it’s going to help your children develop their fine motor skills and coordination. It’s also a chance for both of you to make friends. Popular sports include:

  • Swimming

  • Martial arts (taekwondo, karate, jiu jitsu)

  • Tennis

  • Football

  • Soccer

 

Daycare certainly keeps kids active, but after-school sports like these will give them another experience that can turn into a hobby. They might even keep up athletics all the way through school.

 

  1. Dress-ups

Lots of children want to be like their heroes, whether it’s a television personality or a Disney character. Playing dress-up after daycare is another way to unleash your child’s  creativity.

 

  1. Music

Some parents take their kids to music practice after daycare, and this can be a hit-or-miss. If your child shows interest, certainly encourage it but don’t force it on them. Music helps improve coordination, literacy, boosts self esteem and discipline.

 

The fun doesn’t stop after daycare if you do any of these five activities after pick-up time. Take out the recipe book, dust off the costumes, and look at some local sports clubs to see what you can do for your child.

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Our secrets to having fun at the Capalaba day care centre

At our Capalaba day care centre, two days are rarely the same We do, though, have some activities that the children enjoy time and time again. Parents usually hear stories about the fun day their kids had at daycare, and the children themselves say ‘I can’t wait for tomorrow’.

 

Special guests

The Capalaba day care and other Eskay Kids centres respect the First Peoples and their role as traditional landowners. The Capalaba/Redlands area is rich in Aboriginal history. It’s not unusual for Aboriginal descendants to visit, bringing with them stories of their culture and history, and items to show.

The children and carers listen intently when the visitors tell stories and dance along to musical shows. Other special guests include the likes of magicians and the occasional critters found in the grounds that also call nature home.

 

Outdoor activities

There’s no better feeling than the sun on your face, and the children get their daily dose at the Capalaba day care. All the Eskay child care centres have large outdoor areas with sand pits, play equipment and more for the children to use.

Outdoor activities get the kids active and satisfies their urge to explore. Our centres have fire pits that get used often during the cooler months. The older kids guide the younger ones about how to be safe around the flames. When winter and autumn are in full swing, time for roasting marshmallows and tea parties is commonly requested.

 

Loose parts and STREAM

One person’s rubbish is our play equipment! PVC pipes, old kitchen tools, and the ever-faithful building blocks get used every day. We encourage STREAM principles at the Capalaba day care (in part) through loose parts play. Play-based learning keeps developing minds active and the children use critical thinking to complete tasks. They’ll organise, build, and use the parts in role play. There’s endless possibilities.

Two days are rarely the same at any Eskay child care centre, but the children always have fun. They get to play in the great outdoors, listen to stories from special guests, and play with their favourite objects.

Classic books you’ll find on child care centre shelves – or at home

Every child care centre, including ours in Karana, Springfield, and Capalaba, has a small reading area stocked with books. Children wanting to have some quiet time will pick up their favourite and read, no matter how many times they have done so before. Some of these books have been around for years and won’t go out of publication any time soon.

 

Books written by Enid Blyton

The Magic Faraway Tree and The Magic Wishing Chair count among classic tales that parents can read to their children. Though it’s ‘advanced’ reading for kids themselves, anyone listening will be transported into a land of magic. Enid’s stories certainly give children the opportunity to imagine the impossible. The lands atop the Faraway Tree include the Land of Goodies. It’s a sweet tooth’s dream with its edible houses and plants! There’s also the Land of Tea Parties, complete with rabbits as waiters.

When parents read either of these books to their children, the playground at any of our child care centres become the kids’ own Enchanted Wood!

 

Books written by Mem Fox

Boo to a Goose, Possum Magic, and Wombat Divine count among some of the timeless stories this author has written. Mem herself is a literature professor in South Australia. In July 2017, News Corp began its Great Australian Storybook Collection campaign, with five of Mem’s books counting among the fifteen giveaways.

It’s magical, what reading does for a child’s imagination…(they) think about amazing characters and places … This collection is a lovely mix of beauty and history as well as a bit of silly and fun with titles every child and parent will enjoy.” (Campaign Brief 2017)

Mem strongly encourages reading as a parent-child bonding activity and continues to write books today. Possum Magic has been a staple book shelf choice since it was published in 1983.

 

Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter

This book was published in 1892 but remains a popular children’s story today. The Tale of Peter Rabbit follows a young bunny, Peter, and the mischief he gets up to in Mr MacGregor’s garden. All after his mother explicitly tells him not to go in there!

After children listen to this story, you might see them hunting around outside for rabbits. Books are supposed to stoke the imagination, after all.

 

Classic Disney stories

Although they come from different authors around the world, Disney re-publishes picture book versions of their stories regularly. Children and adults alike love stories under the company’s umbrella. Timeless tales include Peter Pan, The Little Mermaid, and Tarzan, though the next generation is exposed to new stories like Moana and Brave.

At the child care centre and at home, there’s plenty of classics that children will read again and again. And one day they’ll read them to children of their own.

Questions we get at our day care in Capalaba

At Eskay Kids’ day care in Capalaba, we get lots of questions from parents and children alike. It’s natural during the initial stages of visiting day cares, for parents to be thorough in their questions so they know the centre is right for their child. We’ve compiled some of the most common questions here for you to get some easy answers.

 

What are your qualifications?

A timeless and always relevant question. Carers at our day care in Capalaba, as well as our Springfield and Karana Downs locations, have a minimum Certificate III in Early Childhood, Diploma in Children’s Services or a Bachelor’s degrees in Early Childhood.  Qualifications are good on paper, but the people themselves are warm, nurturing, and have the children’s best interests’ at heart.

Our Eskay Kids centres are licensed by the Queensland State Government and all staff carry Blue Cards. We’ve also been rated as Exceeding the National Quality Standards, and were awarded the Excellent rating by ACECQA back in 2015.

 

What do the fees include?

The fees at our day care in Capalaba include lunch, afternoon tea, nappies,  sunscreen and access to the educational program.

 

What’s your philosophy?

Eskay Kids believes in providing an ‘authentic childhood experience’.  We have a strong connection to the natural world, and want children to experience joyful childhoods.

The Eskay day care in Capalaba caters to children between 6 weeks and five years. Our multi-age community is a beautiful one, that enriches each child’s life.  Older children become surrogate siblings for younger children, and there is a real sense of community togetherness, support and learning.  

 

Why play-based learning? Isn’t there structure?

Learning is innate, and play is the education of children. The Eskay Kids staff guide them along the way with some pre-organised environments, but there’s no rigid scheduling. We follow the children’s individual rhythms and flows.

Play-based learning allows children to play in groups, understand the opinions and beliefs of others, and use analytical skills in role-play situations. When they ask questions, we help them wonder how they might find the answer to their questions.  A child’s brain is amazingly elastic and they are naturally curious, creative and inventive in their thinking.

 

Will I get updates about how my child is doing?

Absolutely. Eskay Kids day care centres are also places of learning, and our trained staff observe children’s progress throughout the year. This is compiled in children’s individual portfolios and our collaborative floorbook which is created with the children.  Parents can call any time to check on their child or schedule a meeting to catch up.

Why go to our kindergarten in Capalaba?

Kindergarten is a German word, which translates to ‘children’s garden’ in English. If you look around for a kindergarten in Capalaba, you’ll find Eskay Kids. We also have centres in Springfield and Karana Downs, and all of our kindergartens have the same mission: To give the children in our care the best possible childhood.

 

Kindergarten, or ‘kindy’, helps ease the transition from home to school for parents and children alike. Kindy originated in 19th century Bavaria as a place for working parents to leave their children. It was a safe environment where the children could learn, interact with different people (other children, teachers), and play.

 

Eskay Kids’ kindergarten in Capalaba is equipped with both indoor and outdoor classrooms.  It’s a common sight to see our children running barefoot through the playground, making figures in the sandpit, or making cubbies. The children are afforded agency which empowers them to make decisions about their day.  Children’s voices are respected and their choices are real.  Children become good problem solvers, by learning to solve problems.  Children become good decision makers, by learning to make decisions.  We partner with children, and work with them to support their interests, curiosities, enquiries and questions.  Programs across our service are documented using the Floorbook approach (by Claire Warden), and consultation with children is the cornerstone of our practice.   

 

Of course, there’s also excursions. Eskay Kids has begun exploring beyond the fence.  We’ve organised our first trips to Bunnings Warehouse, and are in the planning stages of taking our children to “the beyond”. Excursions gives children the opportunity to actively engage with the world and their community around them.

 

Our kindergartens in Capalaba, Springfield, and  Karana Downs don’t have stencils, ‘classroom time’ or anything else that is highly structured and developmentally inappropriate.  Eskay appreciates that children are curious and our centres provide a safe place for them to learn, grow, become confident,make friends, and have beautiful, authentic childhoods  before that inevitable first day of school.