Tag Archives: daycare

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.

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


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

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


Read the news from our other carers:

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

Keeping the kids happy at Christmas when daycare is over

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



  • Go to the library

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

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


  • See the windows

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


  • Go look at lights

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

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


  • Make ornaments

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


  • Bake up a storm

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

Get the kids involved in baking for friends


  • Have the family over

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


  • Make a playdate at the park

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


  • Market shopping galore

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


  • Decorate the tree

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

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.

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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