Category Archives: Uncategorized

“Seeing, not just looking”

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

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

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


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

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

– Natalee Blair









Helping your child get through a sick day

Winter flu, summer cold, spring hayfever, or simply getting sick because of the change of seasons; these affect all of us. Children’s immune systems are still hardening up, so they are usually the first in the household to get sick. It makes you, as a parent, want to do everything in your power to make them feel better. And we’re here to help, listing some of the essentials below.


Chicken soup

It’s not just nana’s secret weapon; chicken soup is chock-full of vitamins, minerals, and protein. Add some noodles for a hit of carbs to keep the little one satisfied for a couple of hours.

Chicken Soup by Taste



Water and electrolytes are essential when the flu gets a hold of you. Plenty of water is key, and sports drinks/electrolyte mixes will provide the extra sugars the body needs when it’s fighting a cold. Vomiting, diarrhea, and intense sweating are all causes of dehydration so keep a glass handy.


Plain food and lots of vitamins

When your children are sick, they’ll turn their noses up at spicy, oily, and other types of cooked food. It worsens the nausea. But the foods below are relatively bland and are gently one the stomach;

  • Toast/plain bread with butter and Vegemite
  • Rice
  • Boiled potatoes
  • Apple sauce
  • Crackers

Fruits and juice are encouraged, particularly citrus and berries because of their high vitamin content. Honey soothes sore throats thanks to its antibacterial properties.

Use a humidifier

Steamy showers and a cool humidifier will help with blockages that plague the little ones. A good dose of Vicks will ease their breathing as well.


Curious to know more? Read these below:

Getting through the first month with Eskay child care Karana

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

Combating the temper tantrum during the preschool years

We all know the signs: the screaming, crying, red faces and tears. The almighty temper tantrum. Preschool years are fraught with them and it knocks parents off guard because they’re unsure of how to respond. That’s why we wrote this for you.


Know this: Preschoolers are emotional

Children are learning how to handle their emotions from an early age and play is the best way of expressing them. But just like every other human, they’re vulnerable to frustration and don’t know how to deal with it, other than scream it out.

Tantrums happen regularly between 1-3 years and will subside after the child turns four when they know how to express themselves better.


What causes tantrums?

As we said above, emotions play a critical factor. Children will let their displeasure be known if they feel:

  • Stressed from hunger, tiredness, or too much stimulation
  • Unable to cope with a situation such as bullying or a toy boing taken away
  • Emotions like anger


None of us likes it when this happens


What can I do?

First thing, don’t get angry or frustrated in turn. This just amps up the tantrum. Stay calm or distance yourself from your child until the tantrum has run its course.

Another thing to do is meet them with empathy. Understand what’s making them upset, whether it’s another child picking on them or something as simple as the music being too loud. In the latter case, take them away from that environment.


Take your child some place quiet if noise is upsetting them


Find out what you can about why the tantrum happened in the first place so you can avoid triggers. Speak with your son or daughter about what made them upset.

Another way to cope with tantrums is to ignore the bad behaviour but reward the good. Children crave attention and will take note of what you respond to. It’s difficult but walking away from them will show that throwing a tantrum isn’t the way to get your time or praise.

Your own brand of childhood education: Christmas season

With Christmas coming around, some families are buying up big for the little ones. But material things don’t always equal happiness. This is the chance for parents and guardians to do some early childhood education sessions of their own to teach their children the meaning of Christmas.


Christmas and the summer holidays is a time for the family to spend together. With both parents working most of the year, this time should be cherished and used as a childhood education tool. Quality time with the ones you love is something to appreciate. Do family activities together, things you don’t get time for during the year. Take the kids to see the Christmas lights around Brisbane for a few nights. Look at the Christmas windows in the Queen Street Myer.



As a unique form of childhood education, pass on the traditions you remember from your own Christmases when you were little. Your parents/guardians were your main role model during your early years, and now the baton is passed on to you. What do you remember doing with your family? Did you help bake treats? Decorate the tree?


In’s article 5 ways to raise a grateful child, one strategy is to encourage donations during the festive season. From age 3, kids can grasp the concept that everyone lives in different circumstances. Volunteering, donating money, food and other items under Kmart’s Christmas tree for example, is a good way to start.



In Eskay’s childhood education centre, the children do a lot of creative activities like drawing, beading and making their own jewellry. You can apply this to your own home and ask them to make their own Christmas card/drawing for someone. This can be another relative or the local charity. Elderly care homes and hospitals with volunteer programs will truly appreciate a child’s Christmas message because they know it’s made with heart.


Childhood education doesn’t stop during the holidays. Kids are learning all the time, except for when they sleep. Use these holidays to make them more appreciative of what they already have; love, home and family. Go to Christmas displays together. Donate to the less fortunate. One day your children will pass these ‘traditions’ on, to

Handling preschool bullying | Articles from around the web

Children are naturally happy at home and at preschool; so when they suddenly change, you know something’s wrong. Though the idea of children acting as bullies is absurd to some, it’s actually nothing new and must be tackled early. We have some articles detailing what parents can do, whether their child is either victim or instigator.

Parent guide to helping children manage conflict, aggression and bullying

Australian Psychological Society

As a parent you want to do everything you can to protect your child from harm. But what if they’re the ones victimizing other kids at preschool? The Australian Psychological Society looks at both sides of the coin and has advice for children showing aggressive behaviour, how to handle bullying and the best way to proceed with conflict resolution.


Bullying at preschool: helping your child

Raising Children Network

Raising Children is one of the most trusted authorities in parenting, so it’s natural they’d have information about this topic. They have advice on how to involve the staff at the preschool as well as what to do when the bullying doesn’t stop. They point out the results from taking these steps won’t happen overnight, but they’re a good start to stopping a problem before it continues.


How to handle preschool bullies

A three-year-old? A three-year-old bully? Yes, they do exist, and this article by Parenting sets the record straight: you’re not too young to be a bully. Even at preschool. From listing the signs to preventative measures, Deborah Carpenter goes in-depth to help readers understand what’s happening so they can stop the bullying before any real harm occurs.


Bullying happens everywhere, no matter how old the person is or what type of environment they’re in. Educators do their best to make sure children always use their manners and include others in activities. Daycare/preschool is where children learn crucial behaviours and understand that even though someone’s appearances and opinions are different, that’s no reason to act like a bully.


Need more reading material? Look at these…

  1. Getting through the first month with Eskay child care Karana
  2. Capturing Wonder
  3. School Ready

STREAM with Integrity

STREAM is an integrated approach to learning which requires an intentional connection between standards, assessments and lesson design/ implementation.  True Stream experiences involve two or more standards from Science, Technology, Reading and Researching, Engineering, Maths and Arts to be taught AND assessed in and through each other.


Inquiry, collaboration, and an emphasis on process-based learning are at the heart of the STREAM approach.  Utilising and leveraging the integrity of the arts themselves is essential to an authentic STREAM initiative.


Art education allows students to learn things in a more open-ended way and make them applicable to real life.  Arts and creativity are crucial to science, technology and computer science. They are the tools that allow technology to be usable in real life!  Arts are used in website and user interface design, advertising, product design and usability, branding and start up creation among countless others, all things are crucial to STREAM learning.


So STREAM education is crucial to educate and prepare the next generation.

The word “stream” has been chosen because it represents (in real life) a very similar meaning to what we want to convey when we use it.
 Start thinking about the analogy to a water stream. You receive a continuous flow of data, just like water continuously flows in a river.  You don’t necessarily know where the data is coming from, and most often you don’t need to; be it from a file, a socket, or any other source, it doesn’t (and shouldn’t) really matter.  This is very similar to receiving a stream of water, whereby you don’t need to know where it is coming from; be it from a lake, a fountain, or any other source, it doesn’t (and shouldn’t) really matter.

Written By Mala Kumar

Eskay Kids Capalaba

The importance of mathematics and numeracy in early childhood education

Mathematics and numeracy are often seen as interchangeable, however, they each have many different characteristics that define them. Siemon (2015, p. 183) states ‘the essence of numeracy is being prepared to use mathematics to understand a particular situation or issue better’. Whereas, mathematics can be described as ‘the science of space, number, quantity, and arrangement, whose methods involve logical reasoning and usually the use of symbolic notation and which includes geometry, arithmetic, algebra and analysis; mathematical operations or calculations’ (Siemon, 2015, p. 185).

Numeracy is hard to assess, as it is more about the selection and use of maths in the real world as opposed to using it in an artificial environment (Grimmley, 2016). Numeracy or being numerate, is about having the confidence, capacity and disposition to use maths in everyday life. Mathematics is more about abstract ideas, a body of knowledge we learn.

Siemon ( 2015, p. 185) states, ‘mathematics does not need to consider the real world as it can focus purely on abstract constructs and ideas regardless of their potential application’, numeracy, on the other hand, ‘is the application of mathematics in authentic contexts’.

Numeracy in the real world consists of understanding and being able to apply mathematical skills, such as reading a recipe and being able to apply the maths of halving or doubling ingredients. Making connections with the mathematical concepts of fractions and addition and then being able to apply those skills in a real life situation is being numerate.

Mathematics is about gaining knowledge of concepts such as addition, subtraction, fractions, measurement and time. Mathematics has more of a focus on the formal learning of calculations rather than its application in the real world. One may argue mathematics is knowing how to count, add, subtract and multiple, all of which are mathematical concepts that have a factual right or wrong answer, 4 + 4 = 8, this statement is true, whereas numeracy on the other hand is being able to identify the need to use such mathematical concepts. For example, having a dinner party and knowing how many knives and forks are needed for 8 people, is the ability to use mathematical skills in a real life situation.

Mathematics and Numeracy is fundamental in the development and enhancement of a child’s learning journey. Providing children with an array of quality mathematical and numeric experiences will assist in their journey of becoming confident, capable and lifelong learns.


Written by Suzette Lageman
Capalaba Child Care and Early Education Centre

Learning Through Sand Play

Eskay Blog 2 sand tray

Playing in sand, whether at the beach or a sandpit in the park, is one of those old fashioned childhood joys that not every parent has access to. Instead, a tray of sand at home offers all the sensory stimulation and engagement of a child’s imagination as the park or beach. It’s a cheap and simple activity that also has the essential elements of the best learning-through-play rewards – the development of physical motor skills and appropriate social responses through role play.

Basic Ingredients of Sand Play

There is only one essential ingredients of sand tray play and that is enough sand to fill a box, plastic container or similar shallow vessel that offers access to enough sand real estate for your child to create and experience their own sandy adventure. If you have the space, you can fill a child’s plastic moulded wading pool with sand but size is not that important. We’ve seen sand trays in draws, the cheap pet litter trays available at your local supermarket and even a salad bowl. A smaller sand tray just means smaller items can be added, which doesn’t limit the engagement of your child’s imagination. In fact, what may seem like a limitation to an adult is exactly the kind of situation in which a child can grow and develop their resourcefulness.

Exploration Phase

If your child has never played in sand before you’ll find the first phase of their encounter will be exploration. They may stroke, grab, throw, or shape the sand in an effort to experience this new material. This is a natural response and is a way for them to check this new environment is safe. The sensory part of this phase will be the most important so let them enjoy the feel of the sand and allow them to choose to interact with props or other items when they are ready. To encourage the best scenario of play-based learning in a sand tray, ask open-ended question like “what else could you do?”, “how did you do that?’

Dramatic Play with Props

Any small item that is in their toy collection suddenly takes on a new life when it enters your child’s sand tray. Lego characters, plastic figurines or characters, ornaments, plastic farm animals or craft items like paddlepop sticks and pipe cleaners can be arranged on the sand to play out a scene. Your old collection of buttons can be of use here too. A community of characters and props allows your child to express ‘dramatic play’. This form of play is important for the child to develop its sense of identity, community and culture through bringing to life the sand tray characters in imagined scenarios. Dramatic play will directly improve your child’s cognitive and communication skills. The small toys or props become the method for your child to play out their experience of the actual world in the symbolic sand world. In this scenario a parent or teacher can gradually add or change things to provoke different responses.

Playing with Nature

Anytime you can combine the garden or nature in your child’s play is of benefit to their healthy development. If you can’t place your sand tray outside, take the child outside to the park or your own garden to collect sticks, stones, leaves, seed pods and flowers to bring back and arrange in the sand tray. If you have shells they will also make great tools for digging or props for role play or general creativity. Draw patterns with sticks or fingers and create a picture or story that the child can be in charge of.

Sand tray Tools

The traditional beach toys like shovels and buckets are just as valuable in a sand tray but also consider a sieve and cups. Use mathematical terms like ‘more’, ‘full’, ‘empty’, ‘heavy’ to describe what is happening. Ask the child to place things together and then describe the sequence using size or shape.
Such is the value of sand tray play, child behavioural therapists use the sand tray play to diagnose and treat emotional problems. In the hands of a parent it is also a wonderful tool to assist in the development of your child’s emotional, physical and social skills.