Tag Archives: education

Transitions

Reflection by Trisha Dean (Director, Karana)

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

Why Outdoor Play is so Important for Your Child

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

How to Encourage Outdoor Play:

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

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

As a Parent:

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

 

Kindergarten Readiness and its Importance for your Child

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

So, what is Kindergarten Readiness:

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

Why is Kindergarten Readiness Important:

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

How you can get your child ready for Kindergarten:

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

Encouraging Children to Drop the Screens

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

Reduce Screen Time: 

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

Encourage them to try Extra-Curricular Activities:

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

Play-Dates:

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

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

Helping the Kids Go Green

When it comes to teaching the kids to go green, the earlier you do it, the better. In a time of drought, excessive waste and air pollution, education is key, so children know there’s consequences to waste. 

 

  • Get them in the garden

Going outdoors is good for our mental health thanks to all that sunshine and fresh air. Getting the kids to help in the garden and acquainting them with the animals, flowers, and the other plants, will teach them to respect the environment. The worms, the birds, the snails, and the ladybugs all deserve to be there as much as they do.

 

  • Save your scraps; salad scraps, egg shells, veggie skins, and more can be saved and turned into your own compost heap.

Children need to know where their food comes from and that it’s possible to do more with it than just eat. Pulp from juicing, food scraps and clean water can be reused in the garden. It will definitely help them in the future when they do science at school and study the environment.

 

  • Turn off the taps

You are meant to brush your teeth for about three minutes. The tap doesn’t need to run the entire time.

Teach the children that when the water is running without purpose, it’s getting wasted; always ensure all taps are turned off properly. Put a bucket in the shower to catch the cold water before it turns hot, and use it to water the plants – you can even catch the pasta water when you strain it as the starch gives the nutrients in the soil an extra boost.

 

  • Take them to Bunnings

At Eskay we go on excursions to Bunnings with the kids and they love it every time. Besides the amazing sausage sizzles, you can turn it into an ‘educational’ shopping trip without them even knowing.

Tying into our first point, take them to the gardening section to get them invested in the work. Ask them to pick their favourite plant or seedlings. Getting them a pair of their own gloves definitely helps getting them more involved as well.

 

  • The many uses of paper

Paper doesn’t need to be thrown in the bin. Kids are crafty, so encourage their creative side. Old newspapers, magazines and even drawings can be recycled. If they like a picture in a magazine, cut it out and start a scrapbook. Do some origami. When Easter comes around, shred some newspaper to make padding for an Easter basket. Even cardboard boxes have the chance of a second life as a spaceship or a cubby house.

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 Parenting.com’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

How early childhood education in Capalaba helps kids grow

Early childhood education in Capalaba, Karana Downs, and other places around Australia helps children grow into confident young people. Formal education itself is a right for all. But at Eskay Kids, we are the ones who feel privileged when children not only learn, but take lessons home with them.

 

Eskay Kids early childhood education centres don’t have separate ‘play’ and ‘learning’ times. We don’t force children to do anything they don’t want to. Rather, we follow children’s lead and observe valuable learning in almost every situation.  Whether you’re looking at early childhood education in Capalaba, Karana Downs, or Springfield, all our centres follow the same ethos. The children play with each other regardless of age, and the staff provide a safe environment where children can explore the world around them.

 

At our early childhood education centre, the children develop relationships, find their voice, and learn how to listen to the opinions of others. This valuable learning stays with children throughout their lives. Our educators observe children throughout the year, and record the beautiful journey of learning for each child.  It’s an ongoing cycle of observation that happens throughout every day, during play, interactions, meal times, quiet times and many other opportunities that present themselves each day.  

 

As children grow, they become more adept at observing, analysing, explaining, and verifying information. These and other mathematical/scientific skills develop in the early years and are especially important to nurture, so children can grow to the best of their ability. Our Eskay Kids educators facilitate these skills further by carefully planning environments where children invited to explore, play, learn, create, enquire, question and problem solve.  

 

If you’re looking for early childhood education in Capalaba, give Eskay Kids Capalaba your consideration. We give your children the opportunity to grow through play. Children build their mathematical and scientific skills, make friends, and get back to nature in our centre, where joyful, authentic childhoods are at the top of our priority list . Early childhood education doesn’t stop when children leave us, many skills, dispositions and attitudes children learn in the early years will stay with them forever.

Understanding the Early Years Learning Framework

The Australian Government has developed this Framework to help childcare educators develop a foundation for children’s future success in learning. It’s not a bible or syllabus, but a guide for early childhood teachers to help their children become their best.

 

Identity

Children may play in a group but they still have a strong sense of self. They don’t turn into “another face in the crowd”. They develop a sense of identity first in a family setting, where they spend most of their time, and this is built up further in kindy.

The EYLF encourages a “safe” environment where children will discover themselves and understand what it means to belong in a group. Discovering identity also means knowing their background/cultural heritage and taking pride in it.

 

Connect, contribute

We build bonds constantly, but it starts in childhood. After discovering their sense of self and feeling like they belong, children start to form bonds with others. This happens at home and in childcare. It’s important to make connections and become a part of a group. A group dynamic helps children learn about the diversity of the world around them and to respect it.

Contributing is encouraged in group discussion and play. The teachers create settings where children are able to voice their opinions and feel comfortable doing so. This part of the Early Years Learning Framework encourages children to have a voice, respect those of others and have an awareness of their surroundings.

 

A sense of wellbeing

Nobody should ever feel isolated, excluded or feel mentally drained to the point of it affecting their physical health. This is especially true during the critical development years in childhood.

The third outcomes of EYLF aim to have children not only feel happy and healthy but also take responsibility for it. Children can’t develop strong bonds and a sense of belonging if their wellbeing is low mentally or physically. Signs of a sense of wellbeing in children include “owning” their feelings, taking risks and facing challenges, recognising what their body needs and having an awareness for the health of others.

 

Confident, involved learners

When children feel like they belong in a community, they feel more confident in their abilities. They’ll learn effectively, make mistakes and have more involvement in a group learning situation. They hypothesise, experiment, research and investigate like scientists with a curiosity only they can manage. Their teachers are the “guides”, encouraging open-ended discussion and helping them work towards a solution when problems arise.

 

Effective communicators

Communication is key in relationships, work and general everyday life. The Early Years Learning Framework guides educators on how to help children develop these skills. Their job is to help teach the children how to communicate politely with others and how to interpret nonverbal cues. This starts from infancy and doesn’t stop when the children leave go to prep; learning is lifelong, after all.

Communicating effectively applies to play situations. The childcare teachers create scenarios or supply materials to help the children verbalise what they learn. Popular outlets for self-expression are drama and music.