Category Archives: news

Keeping Your Family Healthy During The Winter Season

Winter means sick children, sick days and time off work. Common colds and the flu does happen, but you can lessen the blow if you take some measures to keep the family healthy.

Vaccinations
Nobody likes needles but they’re an excellent preventative measure. One jab and the family is set to battle winter nasties.

If the kids are little, make sure you make the process as comfortable as possible for them. It’s possible they’ll throw a tantrum mostly because they’re scared. Treat them one way or another after the appointment.

Blow your nose!
You can’t be there all the time to help your child blow their nose. Make sure you teach them to hold that tissue and blow! Put a travel pack of tissues in their bag, along with some disinfecting gel. Both are lifesavers for kids and the carers.

These are a lifesaver 

Drink plenty of fluids
People are surprised to learn they get dehydrated just as easily in winter as they do in summer.

Now, your kids might use that melted ice cream and hot chocolate are liquids. But they’re only good as the occasional treat. The best way to keep hydrated is to take in plenty of water (4 – 6 glasses) and natural squeezed orange juice with pulp.

 

Nutritious food
Bodies are temples, as the saying goes, and you’re never too young or too old to treat it properly. Unprocessed foods are high in nutrients, so make sure you find a way to pack in the veggies where you can! A common method is using zucchini and carrot in bolognese instead of meat, or at least have half meat half veggies.

If you don’t have a slow cooker yet, invest in one for the fam. Busy parents can cook meals overnight or during the day. Drop the ingredients in, set and forget. 8 hours later, you have a beautifully cooked casserole!

Savoury toast
Get those wholefoods in there

Wash your hands
Another preventative measure. You would be teaching your kids to wash their hands after using the bathroom, before eating and after playing outside. Washing your hands kills germs and bacteria that would normally spread rapidly, especially during cold and flu season.

 

Rug up
Queensland’s winters balance between mild and really cold. Children at Eskay spent most of the day outdoors and they need layers to stay warm in the winter chill. Underlayers, like thermals and socks, are a good place to start. You can get good quality products from Uniqlo.

 

Sleep
When you’re overtired, running around and have a busy schedule you’re more vulnerable to catching a cold. Kids are geniuses when it comes to avoiding bedtime, but a story and avoiding screens for at least an hour will help calm them down.

 

We have more advice for you here;

Child care for your kids, self-care for you

5 Little Changes That’ll Make a Big Difference With Your Child Care Routine

6 Compelling Reasons Why You Need Day Care

No doubt you considered day care before your child was born, but now you’re on the fence. It’s hard to leave your most treasured possession in somebody else’s hands but it’s proven that day care does an abundance of good, for both children and parents.

 

  • Back to work

It’s time for you to go back to work/real life. Unfortunately, your office doesn’t have day care facilities. Eskay Kids is better than ‘traditional’ indoor centres because the kids can run out and about in nature. They’ll make castles in the sandpit, make skyscrapers from loose parts in the grassy area, and climb a tree or two.

 

  • You want your child to make friends

Day care is a wonderful place for children to make friends, and they’ll do it quickly. Your son or daughter will most likely have a new best friend before their first week is over.

 

  • They’ll get some structure

Children are actually sticklers for routine: when to sleep, wake up, and eat. The parents enforce the routine at home but don’t underestimate the day care workers. They might follow the children’s lead but some structure is involved. Plus, they observe as the kids grow, noting behavioural traits and other changes.

 

  • Prep for big school

It’s hard for the kids to separate from their parents and that first week, even the first month, will be the worst for both of you. Imagine if they didn’t go to daycare before big school. That sudden, all-day separation would be doubly shocking and upsetting.

Going to daycare also exposes children to authority figures who aren’t their parents. The carers genuinely love their job and watching kids grow, but they’re also there to enforce the rules.

 

  • Exposure to other cultures

Australia is a very diverse country. Even third and fourth generations have strong ties to their heritage. The children are exposed to these cultures, traditions, and even languages through their new friends. They’ll come to understand very quickly that everyone is unique, having values and traits different from theirs.

 

  • Parents make friends, too

Early on in your child’s life, it would have been hard to meet up with your circle of friends and make new ones. But daycare benefits parents from the fact there’s other adults going through the same anxieties and adventures. When your children make friends, you will, too.

 

Want some more advice? Keep reading…

9 activities for active children after day care

6 of the best lunchbox ideas to bring to daycare

Child care for your kids, self-care for you

While we read and do fun activities with your children at our child care centres, it’s important that you remember to take care of yourself. Whether you work full time or have the kids at home a few days a week, self-care should never fall to the side. Here are a few things that won’t take long to do, but the endorphins will linger.

 

  • Early morning workout

Yoga, boxing, weight training, or whatever else floats your boat. It’s possible to set the alarm and hit the 5 am session and blitz that routine and make it home in time for breakfast. Plus, it’s scientifically proven that early morning workouts leave you on an endorphin high for the rest of the day. You’ll feel amazing and be more productive through the day.

 

  • Learn a new skill

Websites like Skillshare let you take short classes from the comfort of your laptop, from computer code to floristry. All around you, there’s an opportunity to learn something new. Cooking schools, art workshops, and fitness groups are all over the place. Check out Facebook, Meet Up, or try the good old Google search.

 

  • Go out…by yourself

This might sound absurd. You’re a parent with children relying on you. But we’re not talking about leaving the kids at home with Dad, the babysitter, or the neighbour. Although that’s also an option if you need some ‘me time’.

When you’re at work, take walks around the block during the day. Change the scenery and get some sun. Leave your phone on your desk and go to lunch at that cafe on the corner. People can wait for 30 minutes while you eat.

 

  • Sit in the sunshine

This boosts your Vitamin D intake as well as your mood. Getting those rays will warm you up inside and out!

 

  • Chat with other parents from daycare

Arrange a time to meet at your house or theirs. Bring a plate of something, put the kettle on and have a laugh. Some parents say they miss having other adults or genuine friends to talk to because their schedules revolve around work and kids.

 

  • Bake for the heck of it

Baking is fun! The cupcakes at the end of a baking spree aren’t too bad either. If you’re trying to be ‘good’, make zucchini bread, chocolate oat biscuits, or a lemon pound cake made with greek yogurt.

4 Under-the-Radar Things About Day Care Parents Need To Know

There’s more to day care than dropping your child off in the morning and picking them up at the end of the day. There’s fees, vaccinations, and inspections to think about. Here’s 4 points you probably haven’t considered yet, but really should think about.

 

Spots are limited

Not all child care providers will have dozens of vacancies. There’s budgets and carer numbers that factor into the equation. A standard ratio of carer to child is 1:5.

Thankfully there’s the option of going on a waitlist. If somebody pulls out of childcare for the year you’re closer to getting a spot.

Bullying

It’s a shock but yes, children are capable from bullying at a young age. Little things, from excluding others in games, to bigger and more troublesome behaviour like name-calling and physical altercations (e.g. pushing) are all signs of bullying.

The kids mightn’t be aware of their behaviour and how it can hurt others, but it’s best to tackle the problem quickly. Reluctance to go to daycare, withdrawing into themselves, and bruises are signs to watch out for if you suspect your child is a victim of bullying.

 

Children do tell us things

Young kids don’t know the concept of a ‘filter’ and aren’t capable of fibs (that’s a learned behaviour). Childcare workers notice any of their charges behaving differently, like suddenly becoming sullen and quiet when they’re normally bright and bubbly. When asked what’s wrong, the child might say something that hints at problems in the home.

Naturally, any troubling behaviour or confessions are kept confidential until discussed with the parents.

Bullying by Raising Children

 

Playing IS learning

Children are making towers and houses out of wooden blocks. You see them playing. We see them using critical skills.

Children use play to make sense of the world around them and they learn through doing. Critical thinking is used to make a building block tower that doesn’t fall over. Communication is used to negotiate activities within a group. Play is the work of children and daycare, as well as the Early Years Learning Framework, provides a structured environment where they can learn to the best of their ability.

 

Here’s some other news to interest you

6 of the best lunchbox ideas to bring to daycare

5 fun things to do after daycare

5 Little Changes That’ll Make a Big Difference With Your Child Care Routine

Child care is a saving grace for busy parents but routines that are all over the place causes unnecessary stress. Little changes can do a lot, so here’s five key areas where you can make simple adjustments.

 

Food

Kids are hungry because their little bodies are growing. But sometimes you’re faced with a stubborn child who won’t eat breakfast…only to use the ‘I’m hungry’ line in the car. The solution? Pack a go-bag with some healthy snacks like a squeezy yogurt, cheese and fruit.

Also have some fun, after school snacks ready for when you get home. We’ve already written about some healthy options. But some sweet treats like pikelets and jam go down equally as well.

daycare recipes

Transport

These days most families have two working parents, even if one is part-time. Other parents at the child care centre are in the same boat. Adults at the daycare meet each other mostly through their children, and feel comfortable enough after a period to share ‘drive to day care’ duties.

 

Home routine

Yes, it’s important to have this at home otherwise nobody would be getting any sleep. Super Nanny Jo Frost is the queen of setting routines. She says routines revolve around activities and time; eating sleeping and playing.

Have a routine chart set up a home, something colourful your child can follow easily. This will include meal times, bath times, homework and even something as small as making the bed. Once you get into the rhythm of routine, daily life flows a lot more smoothly.

 

Ask the carers

Child care workers see what’s going on; it’s their job to care for your child as best they can. The National Quality Standards outline how carers need to monitor children’s development and make regular reports.

If you’ve noticed your son or daughter’s personality change somewhat, that they’re upset or withdrawn, ask the staff at the child care centre. What they tell you could be enlightening.

 

Ask your children

That being said, though, it’s a good idea to try and approach your children first. They might not tell you the whole truth or be afraid to tell you what’s bothering them. Kids become confident when they know it’s okay to express how they feel, but you need to give them the opportunity.

 

More articles you might be interested in

6 easy, yummy recipes for hungry kids after kindergarten

Save time on your morning school run with these tips

The Anatomy of a Great Child Care Centre

Parents who are scoping a child care centre have checklists of their own. But we did some of the hard work and put together some crucial points.

 

ACECQA Rating

The Australian Children’s Education & Quality Care Authority is the governing body in child care standards. Reviews of centres are completed regularly and those who register as a child care must fill in a Quality Improvement Plan. Part of the assessor’s job is to examine whether the centre is living up to their goals or, preferably, exceeding them. The below quality areas are checked on every visit.

  • Educational program and practice
  • Health and safety
  • The environment
  • Staffing arrangements
  • Relationships with the children
  • Collaboration with community and family
  • Leadership

 

The atmosphere

Ideally, you feel right at home when you walk through the door. It’s a great sign if your son or daughter rushes off to say hello to their friends, though realistically this will take a few weeks.

A great child care centre has a variety of activities to help keep the kids engaged. There’s loose parts play, a sandpit, building blocks, books, and more for a full day of fun. One of the EYLF outcomes is children should become confident, involved learners. Seeing your little one chatting away with friends and carers is a great sign.

 

Staff

People have the qualifications and a few pieces of paper, but that’s half of the whole. Good carers are effective communicators not only with the children but also with the parents.

A great child care centre abides by the carer to child ratio (1:4, 1:5, and 1:11 for older kids). The staff aren’t afraid to answer parents questions either, no matter how hard. Nobody can work in childcare without a minimum Certificate III in Children’s Services. Eskay centres, for example, have a mix of carers with tertiary and university-level qualifications.

It’s also commonplace for child care centres to have students come in for a certain period of time to do their practical assessment. The more experienced staff take on the role of ‘supervisor’ during this time.

 

Stimulating environment

Children learn effectively through play. Critical thinking, vocabulary, math, and scientific skills are sharpened in activities adults would see as ‘plain old fun’. Other centres have a curriculum-style way of learning so there’s something for every parent to consider.

A good child care centre doesn’t stay  within the bounds of their building. Excursions to local sights like the farm, a museum, or even Bunnings is both exciting and works the children’s brains. They learn about the world around them thanks to a trip to the local hardware store.

 

Glowing reviews

Parents who love their day care will have no trouble telling their friends about it. In a world where the number of two working parents is increasing, they want to know their child is in safe hands. Word-of-mouth is one of the most trusted review systems out there among parents with young kids.

Check the child care centre’s site as well. Besides the reviews, you’ll also find the ACECQA rating and other qualifications (Blue Card, CPR etc).

 

Need something else to read?

Getting through the first month with Eskay child care Karana

9 activities for active children after day care

Communicating with your children, post-daycare

Children in daycare are still learning how to communicate properly. Their grammar is developing (missing articles like ‘the’, ‘a’ and ‘to’ are common) but they can communicate their wants and needs effectively. Here are some tips to help them along after you pick them up from daycare. Children are always learning, after all.

 

Kids want to chat

Curiosity keeps the kids going! It drives them during their daily activities. They’ll read books, arrange loose parts to see how they fit together and pick flowers out of the yards.

When you pick them up after your day, there are two things that will happen. Your son or daughter will be really chatty, or really tired. If it’s the former, they’ll be bursting to tell you about their exciting day. And that brings us to the next point.

 

Ask them real questions

Open-ended questions are the best approach. Also, do your best to avoid generic questions like ‘how was your day?’. Here are some examples you can try next time you’re driving home;

  • What was your favourite part of playtime today?
  • What was your favorite thing at lunch?
  • What books did you read?
  • Did you make anything with your friends today?
  • Did you do anything fun with your teacher?

Bonus tip; point number two can help you pack something different if they didn’t like what’s in their lunchbox. You don’t want them to spend their time in daycare with something they don’t want to eat.

 

Give them real answers

Children ask questions. ‘Why’ is going to be heard a lot in your household! This will happen when you give a ‘no’ answer to a request, like if they can go outside and play.

If you don’t know the answer to what your child is asking, say ‘Let’s Google it together’ and read the answer aloud to them. You’re bonding and learning something new all in one go.

Watch their body language

Children use body language more than words because the latter is still developing. As their example, it’s important for you to use gestures, facial expressions, and other body languages in your interactions with them. If your child can’t verbalize what they want, but you can guess, ask them a question.

Most of what people say and mean is communicated through body language rather than words. But the latter is just as important. Watch your son or daughter closely, ignoring outside distractions even in the car. If they don’t want to talk, they’ll be tired or restless as opposed to enthusiastic.

More tips for raising confident kids

Not long ago we posted an article on how to raise confident kids at any age, whether they be in kindergarten or big school. Confident kids blossom into young people who get through challenges and learn valuable life lessons.

 

Let them make mistakes

Young children who are preschool age are more resilient than you think. How many scraped knees have you patched up, only for your son or daughter to go running back outside with a big grin on their face?

Don’t swoop in to rescue your child when they make a small mistake. They’ll learn. You won’t be there to hold their hand all the time and fix things. Mistakes always happen no matter their age. In preschool, they walk through the house with muddy feet. When they’re a teenager they’ll forget to fill up the car with petrol. Let your son or daughter make mistakes. Remind them not to do it again (gently). And they’ll remember.

 

Moderate social media

We live in a digital age where children are exposed to more screens than ever. It’s commonplace to see a four-year-old with an iPad instead of a book. Granted, sometimes it’s the only way to distract an unsettled child when you need to concentrate. But lock the Facebook feature so they can only play educational/fun games instead.

Capping their exposure to social media use is a responsible measure. Body image and life satisfaction issues are on the rise among young people, some of them as young as primary-school-age.

 

Ask them to contribute

You do a lot of jobs around the house when the kids are at school or watching television. Sometimes they might even want to help you, but more often they get in your way.

Don’t brush them off, though. Raising a confident child involves giving them (age appropriate) responsibilities. Phrase it like:

‘You would help me very much if you picked up your toys when you’re done.’

Positive reinforcement works

When you selectively praise certain behaviour, your child knows they’ve done a good job and will keep doing it well. Thank them for being on their best behavior in public. Same for putting their toys away or making the bed.

 

Keep up the cuddles

Everyone needs human contact, especially children. Even when you’re busy, give your child a cuddle. It’ll make you both feel good at the end of a long day.

Save time on your morning school run with these tips

Most parents have horror stories about getting kids ready for school. Arguments, tired children and that missing shoe makes getting to kindergarten or primary school a lot harder in the morning. We looked around the web and gathered some of the best tips to help your morning school run go smoother.

 

Get the kids involved

Your goal as a parent is to raise independent children. Part of that is involving them in the decision making process. One Sydney mother followed her friend’s advice and sat down with her daughter to make a to-do list of what had to get done in the mornings. It included the following:

  • Make the bed
  • Brush teeth
  • Eat breakfast
  • Pack school bag

The parent gave the child responsibility as opposed to telling them what to do. The end result was an excited child ticking off the items on the list every morning and feeling that rush of achievement. Read more in the article below.

The lifesaving list that saved my mornings

 

Check the calendar

Preschools and big schools have designated days for special events. This gives parents a headache when they don’t know about them until the night before. The handy solution is to get a copy of the term schedule and have it hanging somewhere it’ll be seen. This way, even if you have children in different grades at school or in daycare, you know what to pack and prepare ahead of time.

 

The go bag

Sometimes your children won’t be in the mood for breakfast at home, only to complain of hunger as soon as they get in the car. This is where the go bag comes in handy. The night before, pack healthy snacks like muesli bars, some fruit, and a squeezie yogurt/Milo with you when you leave the house.

 

Spend some money

Yes, it’s a necessary evil, but spend some money now to save time for the rest of the school year? It’s a fair trade. The mother in the below article scoured Pinterest boards and life hack articles so she could get her kids organized and to school before the morning bell. The DIY project resulted in a beautiful ‘school area’ in the house, complete with lockers and a schedule for both of her children to complete tasks after school.

 

Back to school organization hacks

Some of the best parenting tips from Super Nanny

Jo Frost, aka Supernanny, has provided parents around the globe with advice on how to handle temper tantrums, routines, and discipline. You might have found yourself saying ‘that’s not acceptable’ to your children on occasion! We collected some of her best gems and put them here for you to use at home.

Mindful parenting
Be present with your child. So much time is taken up by everyday jobs like work, caring for the house and even shopping for the groceries.

Jo says when you reach the end of your tether during a temper tantrum, take a breath and pay attention to its rhythm. It’s a way of being mindful and coming back to yourself before you act. She even recommends dog-earring moments the require you to stay present. Activities like reading a book or bathtime are particular activities that require you to be mindful of what’s going on.

 

 

Bath and bed routines
Supernanny is the routine queen, and parents are grateful for her bath/bedtime tips. Combing the two at the end of the night is easier.

  • Remind the kids bath-time is ‘5/10/15 minutes away’
  • Give them some amount of control. Let them use as much shampoo or soap as they like
  • Talk them through the process e.g. ‘it’s time to use the shampoo!’
  • Make sure the lights are dimmed
  • Read a story
  • Kiss them goodnight

 

General routine
Jo says the ideal routine revolves around time; when people eat, play and sleep. Think about your ideal day and include your child in the planning.

 

Getting kids out the door on time is a struggle

 

Getting out the door for daycare and school is especially stressful for some parents. Setting a routine the night before will ease that anxiety. This includes making lunches, packing bags and making sure the shoes are by the door.

If you like, Jo also recommends a rewards system. This will encourage good behaviour and teach your child some valuable life skills. Telling your children that brushing teeth, making their beds and cleaning their room in exchange for a gold star is a popular idea.

Read more on the Super Nanny website

We write some useful stuff too.

Early childhood education strategies backed by science

6 of the best lunchbox ideas to bring to daycare

Tips you need to know for raising confident kids

Encouragement makes everyone smile, kids and adults alike. As a parent you want your son or daughter to grow into a confident young person who can take on any challenge that comes their way. Eskay child care centres do their part by following the Early Years Learning Framework ‘Building Confident Learners’. At home and outside of child care, there’s some things you can do to build up your child for the better.

 

Compliment with care

Of course parents want to say ‘good job’ and shower their son or daughter with praise. Repeating the same thing over and over, however, does more harm than good because it loses meaning.

Be specific in the compliments you hand out to your child. If they give you a drawing, comment on how nice the colours are. When they’re at the playground and climb something to the top, tell them you’re impressed with their effort.

There’s a difference between compliments and gratitude. The latter is for when your child has done something you asked them and done it well (or without complaint). A simple ‘thank you’ after setting the table or making their bed is enough to make them feel good about completing a task.

 

Nurture their interests

Everyone has hobbies no matter their age. Your child might like sports, drama, or arts. One way of nurturing this interest is enrolling them in extra-curriculars. There’s plenty of clubs you can find on the internet, whether it be for jiu jitsu or violin lessons. When your child works towards a goal and achieves it at the end of the term (if the club has one) their confidence will skyrocket!

 

Be their example

Children look to their parents for guidance; you’re their number one role model. As a parent, you want to be strong all the time but it doesn’t always work out that way. It actually does your child good to show emotion. Sometimes you get frustrated and cry but don’t shy away from it. Emotions are a natural part of being human.

 

Involve them in decisions

This shows your son or daughter that you trust their opinion. Thumbs up from Mum or Dad equals confidence and head held high! Let them pick out what they want to wear to school. Ask them what cereal is better when you’re roaming the supermarket. Let them pick up the box and put it in the trolley. When that’s done you can ask them what they want in their lunchbox, so long as it’s healthy.

 

Perfection is overrated

Practice makes perfect and you should let your son or daughter know that when they feel as if they failed at something. Even if it’s just a cake that didn’t turn out ‘perfectly’ round, point out the good qualities. It might not be a circle, but it’s still delicious!

 

We have more advice here:

9 activities for active children after daycare

Kindergarten and beyond: teaching values and discipline

Duplicating Eskay daycare activities at home

When kids are at daycare they’re used to doing certain activities they can’t always do at home. By now you’ve asked your child what one of their favourite things  to do at Eskay is and wondering how to replicate it at home. Well, wonder no more!

 

Loose parts play

The existing theory is that loose parts inspire kids to use their creativity. Loose parts is someone else’s rubbish but a daycare’s treasure!

The parts themselves are what people might find in a skip bin: pipes, fabrics, rocks, balls, buckets, leaves…and the list goes on. You might not have an extensive collection like the daycare centre. But having a few spare pipes, a bucket, and some other bits and bobs in the backyard will keep your child entertained for hours. Their ability to create forts or even a drum kit from the ‘rubbish’ in your backyard will amaze you.

loose parts

Tea parties

The children at our Karana Downs centre request tea parties on a regular basis, with the fire pit being a popular location during the cooler months. A good amount of time is spent just being in one another’s company, chatting about family and what games the children want to play later.

Having a tea party at home, or even as a playdate, is easily done. Most Australian homes have a teapot, cups, and saucers. The teapot is necessary because it lends to the overall excitement.

tea parties

Reading

Don’t underestimate the power of a good book. Mem Fox, one of Australia’s treasured authors, is a fierce advocate of childhood literacy and encourages parents to read one-on-one with their kids. This boosts a child’s enjoyment when reading and strengthens the bond between you. Helping your son or daughter read, and giving encouragement when they get the big words right, will boost their confidence through the roof.

Daycare to big school: are you ready for it?

Graduating from daycare is a momentous day for parents and children alike, and the next step is just as big. Big school. The change in routine and a new environment will be startling for your son or daughter. Luckily, there’s useful tips out there by experts to help them ease into their new learning environment.

 

The big changes

  • Learning environment

Primary school introduces children to a formal learning environment for the first time with set hours, a curriculum, and a whole new place to explore. The environment itself is strange initially, the furniture is bigger and the learning aids (books, posters) are more advanced.

 

  • Rules

We’re not just talking about rules of behaviour. Children learn good manners at home, way before daycare or big school. We’re talking about rules surrounding school routine. Unlike daycare, schools have periods where kids are taught certain subjects. There’s time for morning tea and lunch whereas before, at daycare, kids would eat when they were hungry.

Your child will learn classroom etiquette, too. This includes raising hands, lining up neatly, and listening for long periods of time.

 

  • New relationships

A new school means building new relationships. Children who go to the same daycare together mightn’t go to the same school after they graduate. Your child will have to face not only making new friends but also getting used to the new teachers. Daycare is a smaller, more intimate environment with a few educators for one group of children. School has different teachers for different grades and subjects that your child will meet within days.

 

Supporting them

Your son or daughter is going to feel overwhelmed with the changes they face and there’s ways you can help them manage.

 

  • Do homework together

Doing this with your child has several benefits, including bonding time and promoting essential skills like literacy and numeracy. Also practice hand-eye coordination like cutting up items with scissors and stacking building blocks to make a small house.

 

  • Give them space

Little brains get exhausted quickly. Though you’re eager to hear about their first day, let your son or daughter just sit and breathe for a moment or two. Follow their lead. If they’re bursting to tell you about their day, then great! But if they look like they’re asleep on their feet, give them a snack and put them in comfy clothes when you get home.

 

  • Meet other parents

Making friends at a new school isn’t just for the children. Parents also make fast friends before the term begins, usually during open days and information nights. Bonding over shared anxieties about the first day of school will soon turn into sharing the pickup/drop off and arranging play times at each other’s houses.

The beginning of the new school year is a time for parents to make new friends

Our Garden Space

This year in our Willy Wagtails room the children have shown a keen interest in all things gardening and cooking. In particular they have wanted to explore how we grow food and how we then cook with what we have grown. These ideas, interests and questions have all been documented in our floor book and show a lovely development of ideas and the teaching and learning experiences that the children have all been part of in this journey of food and cooking.

One of the most valuable learning experiences that has come from this interest in food and cooking has been our garden space. This space was created and designed by the children, it was a suggestion by one of children who said “ Can we use the space up the side of kindy for a garden?” and of course the answer was yes. This started a lovely 4 month (so far) journey, from the initial idea to creation of the space. Our garden space is our teaching and learning bought to life, the ideas of the children documented in the floor book implemented into a space that displays there ideas, thoughts and passion.

The children have shown an incredible amount of ownership over this space, they access it daily to water, feed and weed their plants. All the plants were picked by the children based on their ideas in the floor book and research they did to see what would grow in shady spots. This garden space also involved our parent community, inviting them to make donations to the space and to be involved in a way that suited them. Parents donated money, time and equipment to the space and it was very heart warming to see the support the parents provided. This space continues to change and develop as the interest and ideas of the children change. Watch this space, we are excited to see where this journey takes us.

 

Katherine

Eskay Kids Capalaba

Transitioning to school from Karana Early Education Centre

Transitioning to school is such a big event for young children and their parents alike. With this milestone often comes insecurities about whether a child is ready or not and how are they going to cope. Well, I have an admission…being primary school trained and starting work here at KEEC 3 1/2 years ago, I wondered how what we offered children would prepare them for the ever demanding world of prep.

Our philosophy of letting children be children and directing their own learning sounded wonderful in theory, but I wondered how children would cope with the realities of the structured school environment. Well it’s taken a long journey, one of challenging my thinking and furthering my own education but I can now confidently explain the benefits of our amazing centre and its philosophy, the great start in life that we give our beautiful children and how they are more than well equipped to start prep.

 

We have such an incredibly rich learning environment here at Karana Early Education Centre. Research all points to children learning best through play, but how many early childhood programs truly embrace this? I’m so proud to say we do. Our children are not made to sit and do things they have absolutely no interest in, they are given a space that invites and encourages them to play, to explore, to learn.  

Play is only beneficial if it holds meaning to the child and we make sure our children have a voice. When absorbed in this style of play, we as educators then have the privilege of being able to stand along side these children and unobtrusively question.. prompt.. encourage deeper thinking.. extend their understandings. And it is this scaffolding and self-directed play that incites their learning and knowledge as it is self-chosen and of personal interest.

 

So getting back to transitioning into school. Let me get one thing clear, children do not need to be able to read or write to start Prep, being emotionally and socially ready is far more important. By the time our children have finished their Kindy year they have become happy, confident individuals that are able direct their own play and learning. This in turn has more than prepared them for the classroom. Our children have the initiative to work things out, the courage to try and the confidence to tackle the unknown. They are confident within themselves as learners, with decision making and with extending their own thinking.  

It is these qualities that see our children often succeeding at a higher rate than their counterparts. And it is these foundations that we have embedded in our children that have set them up for success in life, not just school.

 

Our program is unique and not for everyone but the children that come here have truly been given a gift and I’m proud to say that I am part of that.

 

Kisie Sharp

Early Childhood Teacher

 

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Messy play as the little people would do it!

“When life gives you rainy days, wear cute boots and jump in the puddles” – Anonymous

 

What drew me to this quote was the fact that this is something our babies do each day, something that comes from within and something they do not need to learn. As children they know how to take every moment as it comes and seize the day and make it their own.

 

For a while now, I have been observing my babies and how they react to and engage in messy play. Two things stand out from their play:

 

They make do with what they can find- as educators, we constantly have conversations about invitations to play, using toys in an innovative manner and the emphasis on creating play spaces that children find exciting and interesting. A close observation of the invitation to play, courtesy mother nature which can be a mud pit filled with water, a big pile of slushy mud, wet sand, a little pool in the bark has shown that children don’t really need a lot to keep them happy. Children are just happy as long as they can play.

 

They seem to enter a world of their own and enjoy the space for what it is- children’s play can often be complicated by adults and how we view the intricacies of play. With children, there is a sense of wild abandon in their play, one that comes with truly enjoying what they are doing even if it means doing it repeatedly, there was a sense of peace and calm about their play, which was very fascinating for me to watch. It almost felt like they were enveloped in a bubble and what happened outside of that bubble did not seem to affect them too much.

Here is an account of what happened on the really rainy day and a very wet, water logged mud pit:

The mud pit was filled with water and overflowing on the sides, creating a little pool of water and soft mud all around its edges. The older children were shouting, jumping in glee and were very vocal about their excitement with the mud pit. The little people on the other hand, stood at a distance, watching and taking it all in, their eyes curious, wide and somewhat awe struck. Once the excitement had died down a notch, slowly the little people made their way to the mud pit, tentatively placing one foot in and then the other, letting the water run up their legs, and slowly soak up their pants. The sensations led to two reactions: a little shiver followed by a smile as the cold water hit the skin or a little shriek and laughter that meant something exciting was to follow.

As time went by, the number of children in the mud pit kept varying with the little people wanting a little break from the wetness but what did not change was their approach to play. Each time, they would wander in casually, carefully step in, look around to check what toys they wished to use, sometimes use no toys and resort to using their hands and fingers to explore and try and catch water, plonk themselves in the mud pit and do their own thing.

There was something very calming and therapeutic about this sight, something that stopped me from joining in, I did not say a word, did not ask any questions, did not provide any directions to aid play, all I did was sit, watch and take it all in. It felt like time had come to a stand still and everything around me had dimmed down, I couldn’t hear the noise anymore or feel the mounting pressure of routines or feel bad about sitting and watching and doing pretty much nothing. I felt a twinge of envy and the urge to want to be able to do that and feel that zen like moment in my adult life.

Sometimes moments like these can be your best teacher, that moment taught me to learn from my little people and learn by merely watching them. The essence of being a child came to the fore and hit me in the face with a force that was quite amazing. As an educator, I feel like my biggest moments of satisfaction involve watching the children play as they show you what they truly are and what they are made of. We always talk about how learning is a two way street, that day I truly learnt, learnt to play, learnt to watch, learnt to be a part of my children’s day without influencing their choices and play, learnt to keep my eyes and mind wide open, learnt to let go, let them be and let them do what brings them inner joy. That day I learnt to set the child in me free, because we can never truly teach and never truly learn till we have the mind and heart of a child!

Aparna Krishnan

Lead Educator, Springfield

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

Loose Parts Play

As a passionate early childhood teacher, walking into Reverse Garbage at Woolloongabba was exhilarating, as I know the endless amount of play opportunities the loose part items were going to provide our kindergarten children. Within our indoor and outdoor environments at Eskay Kids Capalaba we have a substantial amount of loose part items, both big and small, that allow our children to design, create and explore with.

Loose parts are open-ended materials with no specific purpose, and can be used in many different ways. They are natural or synthetic items, that children can easily carry, move, tinker with and redesign. They provide children with infinite opportunities to creatively express themselves and enhance their play opportunities.   

 

loose parts

 

Within our Kindergarten environment, these are some of the loose part items our children have access to each day:

  • Cardboard tubes
  • Small recycled pieces of plastic
  • Wood cut-offs
  • Different coloured small and large tiles
  • PVC pipes
  • Milk crates
  • Rocks
  • Seed pods
  • Tiny stones
  • Natural items such as leaves, sticks, pine cones etc.
  • Wire racks
  • Bamboo
  • Mixture of small plastic lids
  • Carpet squares
  • Material cut offs
  • Tyres
  • Stumps

And the list goes on…..

 

By providing children with loose part items, I believe it provides them with endless opportunities to be creative, engage and collaborate with other children, develop their problem solving skills, as well as early literacy and mathematical understandings. I believe children have richer play experiences when they have access to a wide variety of materials that have open-ended possibilities. Play is such a vital aspect of early education, and providing children with loose part items enhances their play opportunities.

 

Loose Parts in Action!

 

 

As you can see, our Kindergarten children thoroughly enjoy creating with loose parts, and each day they are able to utilise these resources in different ways. Whilst observing the process of Ethan, Hamish and Parker’s play, it was evident there was a great deal of learning and enjoyment occurring. They spent an extended period of time carefully and purposely placing each item in the position they wanted it, whilst discussing and negotiating with each other about their project design. They were able to work cooperatively and collaboratively to create what they had envisaged, whilst using their imaginations and creativity.

During this process, where they were so deeply engaged and excited about their project, they didn’t need support or guidance from their educators, they just needed uninterrupted time and space. Once they were ready, they excitedly announced to their educators and peers that they had created a baby elephant house! They had even created an elephant costume with some material cut offs and sticky tape!

You tell me where you could buy resources that would allow your children to make a baby elephant house and costume?

 

Loose Parts + Long Uninterrupted Periods of Play = Learning

 

Written by Courtney Sandilands

Early Childhood Teacher

Eskay Kids Capalaba

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 easy, yummy recipes for hungry kids after kindergarten

When kindergarten is over and home gets closer, the kids are suddenly hungry and will want food NOW. Luckily for you, we have a collection of healthy recipes that’ll result in something delicious and nutritious.

 

Something savoury

If your child doesn’t have a sweet-tooth and doesn’t eat the birthday cupcakes at kindergarten, try some of these. You won’t have to swing by the bakery on the way home if you have a savoury muffin or a scroll in the tupperware container.

 

 

savoury muffins kindergarten

Cheese, mushrooms, capsicum, and ham come together to make these tasty muffins that’ll last for a few days Pack them in the lunchbox for morning tea/lunch and freeze some for a handy snack when you run out of other stuff.

 

 

pizza scrolls

Who doesn’t have a soft spot for pizza! This is a portion-controlled, savoury indulgence the kids will love. Just some puff pastry, tomato paste, and cheese make the basic version, but you can add extras as you like. Try some classic ham or even zucchini.

 

 

Savoury toast

When in doubt, get the toaster out! Australians love all-day breakfast, so of course it’s okay to have it for afternoon tea as well! Besides eggs and avo, there’s options like pureed pinto beans, and cheese and nacho toast. You can’t go wrong with cheese and Vegemite, either.

Sweet Stuff

Of course, you can’t forget the sweet stuff. Lots of products on the supermarket shelf are full of refined sugar. You can cut this out, as well as the extra cost, when you make your own versions at home.

 

 

sweet toast

They’re sweet but healthy, and have a little extra crispy crunch. From the fruit face to the peanut butter bear (a Pinterest fave, apparently), there’s close to a dozen options to choose from after the kids get home from kindergarten.

 

donna hay muffins

If Donna Hay says it’s great for her kids, who are we to argue? Banana and blueberry muffins serve that sweet tooth nicely without overdoing it on the sugar. You can have one yourself with a cup of tea while the kids are at daycare.

 

 

ants on a log

A bit sweet, a bit savoury, all interesting. These celery and cream cheese sticks are too easy to put together. Your children will get lots of different flavours and textures all in one snack!

 

4 amazing story collections for kindergarten and home

Any of the below books are appropriate for kindergarten shelves, quiet reading time and even bed time stories. There’s so many amazing books to choose from, but you’ll agree that the below four will reappear in your child’s hands over and over again.

kindergatren books

Enid’s books transport both adults and children alike to a land of magic, where amazing lands come and go at the top of a Magic Faraway Tree. Joe, Bessie, and Fanny’s adventures have taken them to the Land of Treats, the Land of Dreams, and even the Land of Tempers!

The Magic Faraway Tree trilogy was first published in 1943 and continues to captivate readers today, both in kindergarten and at home.

 

kindergarten books

After publishing Possum Magic in 1983, Mem Fox hasn’t stopped writing despite her busy career as a literary professor. She’s an advocate for children’s literacy and encourages parent/child bonding through reading, even through something as simple as a bedtime story.

 

Her most recent book I’m Australian Too tackles the perception of what it means to be Australian, no matter your cultural background. Her other books, like Wombat Magic and Whoever You Are, also highlight that it’s fine to be different, but important to be included.  Messages like this are vital during the kindergarten/preschool years.

 

kindergarten books

Wonka Bars, Oompa Loompas, fantastic foxes, and a girl who can move things with her mind; Roald Dahl’s stories are good for children moving onto big school. They’re also great as  stories for parents to read after the kids get home from kindergarten.

 

kindergarten books

The tale of the Rainbow Serpent has endured from the Dreamtime, passed down over thousands of years. The Serpent was believed to have risen from under the ground and created some of the modern landscapes seen in the outback today. The legend endures today and the picture book by D Roughsey is a staple on kindergarten/preschool shelves.

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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Teaching values and discipline

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.

Essentials your child needs for Eskay’s Karana Child Care Centre

Our Karana child care centre is a home away from home for all Eskay Kids, whether they come once or five days a week. We certainly do our best to give children a safe environment to play, learn, and grow, though we need some help from the parents.

Packed lunchbox

Our Karana Downs child care centre is open from 6.45am to 6.15pm. This allows busy parents to leave their children with us for the day, and having a packed lunchbox is essential. Healthy snacks like fruits, or vegetables and some dip will keep little ones satisfied and full of energy. Lunch options for busy parents can be  as simple as a Vegemite sandwich and some fruit.

For drinks, a water bottle is a must. Your child will need this through the day to stay hydrated. Drinks that are high in calcium, like milk (flavoured or not), are a popular treat.

Change of clothes

Eskay Kids’ day care centres emphasise getting back to nature, and this does involve having fun in the mud sometimes. Therefore, we recommend packing a change of clothes in your child’s backpack.

Long pants and a jumper are recommended, too. Queensland temperatures drop rapidly in the evenings, and it can get cold outside. Other essentials include nappies and a hat for all outdoor activities.

Sunscreen

We supply sunscreen at the Karana child care centre, though sometimes parents give us a helping hand by packing their own. This is common because parents know what suits their child best, or the family has a brand they trust.

Favourite toy

Child separation anxiety is difficult during the initial first few months. When coming to the Karana child care centre for the first time, bring something from home that will give your son or daughter comfort. Children make attachments with toys and books, turning them into a source of comfort. It can help with the transition from home to daycare.

Trust

Parents trust us to take care of their precious bundles, and we certainly work hard to live up to that standard. Our Karana child care centres, like the ones in Springfield and Capalaba, are licensed and have achieved an ‘Excellent’ standard from ACECQA. Another great factor is that Karana won Centre of the Year in the Australian Family Early Childhood Awards.

Awards and licensing are only part of the reason parents trust us. Our carers (all Blue Card certified) do their best to make families welcome and follow the children’s lead when it comes to choosing activities. This way the kids always do something they’ll enjoy.  

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.

Early childhood education strategies backed by science

Early childhood education is vital for children to grow into well-functioning adults. You might think ‘it’s a bit too soon to think about that, isn’t it?’ But  there’s never too early a time to help children get the best start in life. Scientists, scholars, and researchers have looked over and debated for years about the best type of early childhood education.

 

STREAM

Science, technology, research, engineering, arts and mathematics. STREAM and its variations are core principles in school curriculums around Australia. In a recent blog article, Ebony from the Capalaba centre wrote about how the staff and children incorporate these principles in everyday activities.

The human brain is a supercomputer, one of the most complicated on Earth. STREAM moulds little minds through imparting vital knowledge. Thanks to these programs, children learn literacy and numeracy, and refine their motor skills.

 

Play-based learning

But how do the kids learn? They do so actively, not passively. Play-based learning is key in early childhood education and facilitates STREAM principles.

Look at the group of pictures below. Diane Kashin Ed.D, read a book called Sticks and Stones to the members in her workshops and then directed them to a table. It was piled with natural materials like pinecones, rocks and sticks. The participants were asked to build or organise them with STREAM in mind, leading to the formations you see in the pictures.

early childhood education

Children at the Eskay Kids day care centres do similar activities. We paint pieces of bark, organise flower petals, and children often do their own role-play scenarios. They use critical thinking to stack building blocks so they won’t fall (engineering). They use books to develop their literacy and create imaginary characters (technology and arts, respectively).

In early childhood education, play isn’t just done for enjoyment. It’s used by the carers to check the children’s development. Progress is closely tracked and reported regularly so the kids can meet, and exceed, the outcomes of the Early Years Learning Framework.

 

Current research

Research into trends, improvement, and current performance is never finished. In fact, the constant presence of technology has opened a new niche. It includes cyber safety and how technology impacts play, sustainability, and a child’s awareness of their well being. Lists of current projects are available on the Learning Sciences Institute Australia website.

School Ready



We are powering towards the end of the year.  The parents of children who are eligible for school start next year are starting to get anxious.

Some concerns of parents are:

  • Which school?  Am I getting it right?
  • Is my child prepared for school?
  • Can they do all the things they need to be able to do?
  • Will they be with friends and/or make new friends?
  • What should I do?

 

This is such a big transition in a child’s life.  One of the biggest in fact.  And yes – all those concerns are so valid.  Because really – we have one chance to get it right.  What happens from here, can be the catalyst and shaper of the next 13 years of a child’s schooling career.

 

There is a lot of information floating around the inter-webs these days, pointing to the many flaws of our education system.  And different words of advice.  Many of them citing research from around the world about what is the best solution for education.

 

What I want to do – is to acknowledge all that research – which points towards children being advantaged in many ways, by delaying the beginning of formalised learning until a child is seven years old.  Yes, you heard right – SEVEN.


I’m currently watching our group of Kindergarten children, some of whom are turning five…….  some of whom are not long past four!  In six months, the majority of this group of children will be in a primary school setting.  Facing a life of desks, and passive learning.  They will be between four and a half, and five and a half years old.  Their little bodies with still so much developing to do.  Their brains with room to grow.  So many of them not even physically developed enough to successfully execute what school expects.  Their bodies still needing to move.  Neural pathways still being developed.  Emotional regulation still being established.  But they will be expected to have it all together – all their ducks in a row, so to speak.

 

So what am I getting at here?  What do I advocate?  Well, aside of all those very good developmental reasons – there is one more that we rarely hear about.  What about joy?  The joy of an extra year of childhood.  An extra year to get it all together.  Imagine that!  The gift of a whole year.  365 days more to play and discover the world around you with no academic agenda.  All that time for little bodies and brains to further develop.  At four or five years old – a year is a lifetime.

 

I’ve watched closely, children whose parents have opted to give them this gift.  And I’ve been delighted to observe little humans just that little bit more ready for what school has in store for them.  Actually – a LOT more ready.  Their executive function is firing on all cylinders.  They are far more ready and resilient.  The are bigger and stronger in every way.  AND, they’ve had a whole extra year of childhood to make wonderful memories.

 

What if our whole world opted to delay that school entry?  What if every child received the gift of another year of childhood?  I can’t begin to describe the difference this would make.  Instead of being bombarded with figures of record numbers of children being expelled from school, and concerning NAPLAN test results, we might see figures of children excelling in ways we haven’t seen before.

 

Of course, I will continue to advocate for changes to our schooling system.  Because I believe this too has much to be held accountable for.  I’ve heard that it takes 40 years for changes to a system like this to take place.  Far too long for our children right here, right now.  And many to come.


So, while we are taking the next 40 years to make the changes that will serve our race – let’s think about the small steps we can take.  And one of those, is to stop pushdown of formal academic learning on our little people.  To give them another year.  To let them be children………. for just a little bit longer.


Trisha Dean

Karana Early Education Centre

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.