Blog : Nursery

Importance of physical activity for pre-schoolers

Importance of physical activity for pre-schoolers

Kids who play sports have better diets

University of Minnesota researchers say adolescents who play sports have better eating habits and nutrient intake than those who do not.

According to the Journal of the American Dietetic Association, more than 4,700 junior high and high school students were studied. Meal and snack frequen­cy, energy and nutrient intake were looked at. Researchers say they found that “sport-involved youth generally ate breakfast more frequently and had higher mean protein, calcium, iron and zinc intakes than their non-sport involved peers.”

soccer

Researchers say this supports the positive association between youth sport participation and health.

So, what does that mean for parents of younger children? It means that we should not just focus on healthy food for preschoolers but we need to equally get them involved in sports. At Parkside Early Learning Centre we program to cover both: We have been providing all meals including snacks for a while and know that our children get the best nutritious meals in town! Cooking and baking is also part of our curriculum so children learn from an early age about the importance of healthy choices. Our educators also plan a variety of physical activities into each day. Most children chose physical play naturally when they are young. At our childcare centre they love the early morning free play time to run, balance, jump and dig. Inside our educators will offer music and movement sessions which support fine and gross motor skills. At Parkside Early learning Centre we also offer weekly yoga sessions with our professional yoga instructor and a sports program which currently does soccer once a week.ballgame

Building a love for sports participation, whether in a team or own their own, is important in the early years of childhood. It creates a habit that will carry children through their youth and most likely will continue into adulthood. The fact that it will also influence their nutritional habits is an added bonus!

 

Gympie has lots to offer for young children to be active: there are soccer and rugby programs, swim schools, martial arts schools, Mainly Music groups or visit some of the facilities like Gympie Ten Pin Bowling or the Gympie Skate Zone for some fun. On the weekends there is horse riding or trail walking on offer for the whole family!

 

 

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New Flexible Child Care Sessions

New Flexible Child Care Sessions

Parkside Early Learning Centre now offers different session times so families can make the most out of the Child Care Subsidy changes. The new sessions are 12, 9 and 6 hours.

If you are confused about the new Child Care Subsidy changes and what it means for you then its time to relax and let us explain help explain it for you.

Contact Parkside Early Learning Centre and we can talk you through what the changes mean for you and your family and how our flexible child care sessions could benefit you.

Phone on 07 54827738 or via our Contact Us form.


Hayley Jack Small


Summary of the Child Care Subsidy Changes

From July 2, 2018 the main changes will be:

  • replace the Child Care Benefit (CCB) and Child Care Rebate (CCR) with a single, means-tested subsidy
  • be paid directly to providers to be passed on to families
  • be simpler than the current multi-payment system
  • be better targeted and provide more assistance to low and middle income families.

infographic explaining that the current child care system consists of the Child Care Benefit and the Child Care Rebate – under the new system these will be replaced by the Child Care Subsidy in July 2018

This means that about 76% of families should benefit from the changes in a normal child care environment. This also means some families will be worse off with the changes.

The number of hours of subsidised child care that families will have access to per fortnight will be determined by a three-step activity test.

In two parent families both parents, unless exempt, must meet the activity test. In the case where both parents meet different steps of the activity test, the parent with the lowest entitlement will determine the hours of subsidised care for the child.

CCS Amounts

Recognised activities

A broad range of activities will meet the activity test requirements, including:

  • paid work, including leave
  • being self employed
  • doing unpaid work in the family business
  • training courses for the purpose of improving the individual’s work skills or employment prospects
  • an approved course of education or study
  • volunteering
  • actively looking for work.
  • paid parental leave, including maternity leave

Exemptions

Low income families on $66,958 or less a year who do not meet the activity test will be able to access 24 hours of subsided care per child per fortnight without having to meet the activity test, as part of the Child Care Safety Net.


Contact us today to find out if our flexible care options will suit you and your family better.

Phone on 07 54827738 or via our Contact Us form to find out more.

Healthy snacks from childcare to school

Healthy snacks from childcare to school

Ideas For Busy Parents For Creative And Healthy School Lunches

There is a wealth of information available about the importance of good nutrition and brain functioning. Parkside Early Learning Centre introduced the provision of all meals a few years back. Our team have really seen the benefits of healthy meals being offered that cover all parts of the food pyramid. Growing kids in particular, need to have a balance of complex carbohydrates, proteins, healthy fats and of course, all the vitamins and minerals. Parkside Early Learning Centre has all that covered and saves parents the hassle to come up with healthy lunch box snacks every day!

Fussy Eater Graphic

However, once children finish in child care and start school lunch boxes can be a challenge: schools ask for healthy choices and want to see less plastic wrapper, children refuse those very option and parents often get frustrated when full lunch boxes return home untouched!

The good news is that kids that bring their lunches and snacks to school don’t have to end up with the same old thing every day. There are a lot of simple, quick, and easy ways to make really interesting, tasty and healthy foods your kids will love.

Go Insulated

One of the best things to invest in is an insulated lunch bag. These will be very helpful in keeping cold foods cool, especially when paired with an ice-pack. Many classrooms don’t have a fridge available for all children. By placing the ice-pack in a zip-lock bag, you can prevent any problems with leaks and still keep fresh fruits, vegetables, dips, cheeses and meats at the right temperature.

Healthy Lunches and Snacks

For some healthy yet simple to make lunch options besides traditional sandwiches consider the following:

  • Turkey or chicken or cheese wraps using lettuce, thin strips of red or yellow peppers, and a bit of salsa or sour cream rather than mayonnaise.
  • Pasta salad with mixed vegetables, cheese, diced hard boiled eggs or even diced ham. Use an Italian dressing for something different or a ranch dressing for a more traditional taste.
  • Whole grain crackers with cheese, meat and your kid’s favourite pickles. Each can be packaged separately, and the child can make his or her own “stackers” for some fun finger food.
  • Fresh cut vegetables with a dip made of hummus or plain yogurt with fresh or dried herbs. Try some unique vegetable options such as coloured bell peppers, purple or orange cauliflower, yellow mini tomatoes, fennel and sugar peas for variety.
  • Cube up fresh fruit and provide a creamy dip. This can be made with vanilla yogurt or any other flavour your child enjoys. Remember, fruit and vegetables should be paired with a protein for energy.
  • Homemade trail mix can include dried fruits, berries and nuts depending on your child’s preferences and what the school allows.
  • Mini-pretzels with a side of salsa for dipping are a great snack and healthier that chips or sugary treats.

Cute little girl sitting on a wooden bench on autumn day

Be sure to check with the school regarding any issues with children having peanuts or other types of nuts or foods in the school. Providing a good selection of different items for the child in the lunch is always a good option, as is having your child help you in choosing what they would like to have. Get your children involved with preparing the food for their lunch box. That way they are less likely to say after school that they didn’t like it!

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Baby Safety Tips for the Home

Baby Safety Tips for the Home

Bringing home a new baby is an exciting and magical event for any family. Preparing your home in advance for the big day helps parents to proactively provide built in safety for the new addition to the family.

There are a range of different baby safety products on the market today that can make Mum and Dad’s life a lot easier. However, there are also some simple and very traditional types of safety practices that will keep your infant out of harm’s way.

 

Before your baby is up and about crawling and playing look at each room of the home. General safety issues that can be put in place include:

  • Baby safe latches on all drawers and cabinets in kitchens, bathrooms, bedrooms and storage areas to prevent injury if baby pulls the drawers or cabinets open or gets into the stored contents.
  • Check all electrical cords and remove any that dangle or hang down. Cover all electrical outlets with spring loaded covers that automatically close when the cord is removed.
  • Roll all cords for blinds or drapes up to well above the height that a crawling baby, toddler or infant can reach.
  • Have a new cot and mattress for the baby that is designed to prevent the baby from getting hands or limbs lodged between the posts. The mattress should fit correctly in the cot and extend to the frame on all sides.
  • Limit items in and around the crib and ensure any mobiles or hanging items on the cot are safe and secure and approved for use for a baby.
  • Always have the correctly sized, approved car safety seat for your baby and do not travel with the baby in a vehicle when the child is not secured in the baby car seat.
  • Avoid using any types of room freshening or air treatment products in the nursery or the home as an infant may be extremely sensitive to these products.

Last, and perhaps most importantly, never leave your baby unattended unless they are in a safe, secure location such as their cot. This ensures that the baby can’t get into anything that is potentially dangerous in the few seconds you step away.

 

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Getting Your Kids to Reach for the Stars

Getting Your Kids to Reach for the Stars

When we were children, we had big dreams and our whole lives ahead of us to make them come true. We wanted to climb a mountain, be a fireman, a ballerina or be a movie star. Nothing was in our way and nothing was going to stop us.

And then we became adults. The dreams vanished as life got in the way. Those dreams we had seemed silly and we let them fade into the distance. As parents, it’s important to not let this happen to our children – but how? Here are a few ways to teach them how to keep reaching for the stars:

  • Teach them that Rome wasn’t built in a day. Neil Armstrong didn’t wake up one morning and decide he was going to walk on the moon that day. Reaching for the stars doesn’t mean making one giant leap – it means taking lots of small steps in the direction of your goal.
  • You aren’t going to learn everything you need to know to reach your goal in one sitting. The knowledge you need to learn to will come with each tiny step you take forward. Slowly but surely you will build up your bag of tricks to get where you need to be.

Child Astronaut

  • When the going gets tough – keep going. Perseverance is key to getting where you want to go. There will times when they will feel that their efforts are pointless or they aren’t seeing any progress. That’s the exact time to hunker down and keep moving forward.
  • Just do it! Don’t overplan yourself right out of your dream. Yes, plans are important to have an idea of what you’re doing and where you’re going, but you don’t have to know every step of every path you’re going to take. Planning and then planning some more is a surefire way to kill your dream.

It’s ok to dream the impossible dream. It’s ok to reach for the unreachable star. It will hurt sometimes and it will take time to get there but you can pursue your passion and live your dream.

 

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A Good Nights Sleep for Children in Child Care

A Good Nights Sleep for Children in Child Care

Does your child suffer from sleep problems? If so, according to University of Cologne (Germany) research (originally published in the journal SLEEP), he or she is more likely to have trouble falling asleep than staying asleep. Here are some tips to help your children that may attend child care and help them sleep better from the American Academy of Sleep Medicine:

 

  • Follow a consistent bedtime routine. Set aside 10 to 30 minutes to get your child ready to go to sleep.
  • Establish a relaxing setting at bed time.
  • Interact with your child at bed time. Don’t let the television, computer or video games take your place.
  • Keep your children from TV programs, movies and video games which are not appropriate for their age.
  • Do not let your child fall asleep while being held, rocked, fed a bottle or while nursing.
  • At bed time, do not allow your child to have foods or drinks which contain caffeine. Try not to give him or her any medicine which has a stimulant at bed time.

 

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How to Deal with Picky Eaters in Childcare and Gympie

How to Deal with Picky Eaters in Childcare and Gympie

One of the most common struggles parents have is dealing with picky eaters. This is one of the reasons we offer all meals at Parkside Early Learning Centre that are healthy, taste great vary from day to day. Does any of this sound familiar to you?

 

  • Your toddler takes a few bites of food and announces he’s “done”
  • You can stock your fridge and shelves full but your little one will only eat the same 5 things over and over.
  • Your child asks for one thing, you make it, then she asks for something else then decides she wants something completely different altogether.
  • Coaxing your children to just take “one more bite” is a constant battle in your home

First things first – meal times are supposed to be relaxing and enjoyable so you want to avoid these battles every time you sit down at the table. Toddlers between the ages of 1 and 3 typically have smaller appetites, so if they only eat a little at a time, that’s ok. However, also realize that their appetites can change on a daily basis and even from meal to meal. If they like carrots, don’t be afraid to throw some in at breakfast. Do they prefer eggs? Who says you can’t have eggs for dinner?

 

Dinner time is typically going to be the meal that your child feels like eating the least. It’s the end of the day and they are tired and unless they have been doing a physical activity like swimming or playing outside or at daycare, chances are they aren’t going to be as hungry as they are at other times of the day.

 

If you are dealing with older children who are picky eaters, you may be able to reason more with them and enforce the “one bite rule“ meaning they have to take at least one bite of every food on their plate and if they don’t like it, they don’t have to eat it again.

Here are just a few ideas for dealing with picky eaters:

 

  • Don’t nag or coax smaller children. Pick and choose your battles – plain and simply put, your child WILL eat when he is hungry.
  • Have realistic portions: Many parents set unrealistic goals for their children when it comes to mealtime. A good rule of thumb to follow: If your child is under the age of 5-6, use a tablespoon per year of age. If they ask for more when they’ve finished that then you can always give more.
  • Keep trying to introduce new foods – even if they haven’t liked them before. Tastes change and you never know when you find something new they like.
  • Avoid too much milk, juice and soda in place of food. Many kids will fill up on sugary drinks and have no room for food.

Remember, pick your battles and don’t make meal time miserable for everyone!

 

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Favourite activities for new families in Gympie and children in child care

Favourite activities for new families in Gympie and children in child care

As a centre we get a little bit of a feel of just how many people are moving to our beautiful town of Gympie! We have met numerous families looking for care at Parkside ELC and usually they come with a range of child-related questions – Where is the best Swim school? What can you do on the weekend? Is there a child-friendly restaurant (other than McDonalds!)?

This is why our Parkside ELC staff have created this must-do list of their family favourites. Here is their top 10 in order of popularity:

  1. The new Aquatic and Recreation Centre -its just down the road from our centre in Tozer Park Road! Indoor and outdoor swimming, a gym and outdoor waterpark awaits you
  2. The Gympie Jungle indoor playground – our centre’s go to place for vacation care and parties, like our graduation party.
  3. The duckponds and playground, officially known as Lake Alford Park. Watch the birds, have a picnic and enjoy the fence playground with your little ones.
  4. A drive to Rainbow Beach. Great for swimming and playing in the sun, climb and slide down Carlo Sandblow or go for a family drive in a 4WD.
  5. Cobb and Co – a camp ground but open to day visitors. The families can choose from activities such as flying fox, farm yard, the creek, train ride, BMX track or fun on the pirate ship playground. There is also some nice walking tracks around. Day visitor fees apply.
  6. Cooloola Berries Farm – another one of our vacation care favourites. Pick your own juicy strawberries, eat fresh ice-cream and room the farm to meet the animals.
  7. Fishing at Tin Can Bay – there are plenty of fishing spots around Gympie but if you leave early enough you might get a glimpse of the dolphins at Tin Can Bay waiting for the many visitors.
  8. Bunnings – you can’t beat the DIY and craft sessions at Bunnings. And did we mention they are FREE!
  9. Skate Zone – fairly new to Gympie but super popular! Fun for the whole family…
  10. Ten Pin Bowling – another family favourite. Go out together for a game of Ten pin bowling or use some of the arcade games in the separate room. They serve food, too!

This is of course not a complete list of things to do but we hope the Parkside staff could be of help with their tried and trusted activities in and around Gympie. For more information check out the Gympie council website.  https://www.gympie.qld.gov.au/whats-on

Teaching the Spirit of Christmas to our Children

Teaching the Spirit of Christmas to our Children

When we hear the words Christmas time many different thoughts come to mind – it will be different for everyone. Every family celebrates or enjoys this time in a unique way. Our culture, believes and own childhood will determine how we appreciate this season.

Christmas Hailey

For some it will be a joyful time when family gets together, we eat too much food and relax over a few days off. Then there are those who dread the time because it reminds them of loved ones passed away or rifts in a family or friendship. Others again would like to enjoy the time more but may need to work or suffer financially, wanting to offer their children a rich Christmas experience but can’t really afford it. Whatever Christmas is to you it is a wonderful time to slow down, reflect and teach our children a few life lessons:

Our Kindergarten teacher, Miss Letitia, has recently helped the children write their Christmas wish lists. Looking at my own children’s list “Santa” could easily go bankrupt! However, Miss Letitia’s class reflected on the difference between what we really want versus what we actually need. The children shared some amazing (and funny) insights! Who would have thought that they know ‘our families NEED vegetables’ as one little boy wrote. 😊 The children were taught that we can’t have everything we want and our basic needs need to be met first before we can splurge on our wants. Miss Letitia used this activity to teach children about sustainability.

Christmas Richie

Following on from that we can teach our children thankfulness for the things we receive. Children need to learn to be appreciative for what they have or they will grow up taking things and people around them for granted. Thankfulness can be taught by encouraging children to think about people who help them and get them to create a little thank you for them, e.g. a home-made card or small gift. Children could give it to their teachers, the postman, their doctor or the rubbish collectors. Gratitude is a positive attribute in children that can be modelled by us adults and taught in many practical ways, especially around Christmas.

Christmas Frankie

Aside from teaching thankfulness to our children and that we can’t have everything we want we can also teach the joy of giving as part of the Christmas tradition. Children are quick to express what they want but the concept of generosity might come a little harder.  When in the supermarketyou’re your little one makes requests maybe buy a few extra treats or necessities and together donate them to a charity helping the homeless or others in need. In the past Parkside ELC together with the families made a collection of food items which got donated to the local Salvation Army Service.  At home you could have a sort out of your child’s toys and see if they would like to donate them to a local Op Shop. If your child asks why people live in such dire situations we can say that things might have gone wrong in their lives (e.g. they had a bad accident and couldn’t work anymore) or they may have made choices that weren’t good at some stage and sometimes it is very hard to fix them again. Teaching generosity builds empathy and a caring nature in children. It trains them to be less self-centred and to look out for others. Another idea for slightly older children could be to help out at a soup kitchen. You could make this an experience for the whole family, especially if you can not help financially but have a little time at your hand. This brings us to another type of giving – the giving of time!

Spending quality time with other people is just as precious! Often we travel far over the holiday period to meet people who we have not seen in a long time. Giving up our time to be with others communicates our appreciation and value of others. This year the vacation care children will be making small baked goods for the elderly at a local retirement home and spend time with the people there. They will be singing Christmas songs and play board games with them. We hope the elderly will have a good time with our school-aged children in this pre-Christmas season and be reminded of their own childhood!

Christmas Letters

Christmas often appears to be about presents and gifts. But maybe time, thankfulness, generosity and the thought of our world’s future are gifts even more important. They cannot be bought but have to be taught. We have an important job to ensure our children have wonderful memories, traditions and values – especially at Christmas Time.  The Parkside Team hopes you will be able to take some time out and make them happen together with your children!

 

Wishing you a Merry Christmas and all the best for 2018 from everyone of the Parkside Team!

Learning Curriculum for Early Learning and Child Care

Learning Curriculum for Early Learning and Child Care

Some of our parents have asked about the curriculum that we use to teach and educate our children. We’ve collected this information from the department of education that we thought would help in this blog article.

Early Years Learning Framework

Belonging, Being and Becoming: The Early Years Learning Framework for Australia was endorsed by the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) on 2 July 2009. It is the first early learning framework to be nationally endorsed for use by educators in a range of early childhood settings just like Parkside Early Learning Centre.

Here is some information straight from the Department of Education and Training’s website:

What is this new learning framework about?

We have developed the Early Years Learning Framework to ensure your child receives quality education programs in their early childhood setting. This is a vital time for them to learn and develop.

The Framework‘s vision is for all children to experience play-based learning that is engaging and builds success for life.

It is a guide for early childhood educators who work with children from birth to five years. They will use the Framework in partnership with families, children’s first and most influential educators, to develop learning programs responsive to children’s ideas, interests, strengths and abilities, and recognise that children learn through their play.

EYLF Image 1

The Early Years Learning Framework describes childhood as a time of belonging, being and becoming.

  • Belonging is the basis for living a fulfilling life. Children feel they belong because of the relationships they have with their family, community, culture and place.
  • Being is about living here and now. Childhood is a special time in life and children need time to just ‘be’—time to play, try new things and have fun.
  • Becoming is about the learning and development that young children experience. Children start to form their sense of identity from an early age, which shapes the type of adult they will become.

Play is learning

Play is very important for children. Through play babies and young children explore and learn to understand the world around them as they come to communicate, discover, imagine and create.

When children play they are showing what they have learned and what they are trying to understand. This is why play is one of the foundations of the Early Years Learning Framework.

By using this Framework educators will guide your child’s play by carefully designing learning activities and stimulating indoor and outdoor learning environments.

Relationships are key

It is well known that children learn best when they have secure relationships with caring adults. When children from a very early age develop trusting relationships they feel more confident and able to explore and learn.

In early childhood settings, when children feel emotionally secure they learn through play to develop the skills and understandings they need to interact positively with others and gradually learn to take responsibility.

How will it work?

Educators will use this new Framework in a range of early childhood settings, including long day care, preschools and family day care to ensure that your child receives a high quality experience. It has been created and trialled by experienced early childhood educators, academics, parents and carers.

The Framework focuses on your child’s learning. Educators will work with you in order to get to know your child well. They will create a learning program that builds on your child’s interests and abilities, and keep you in touch with your child’s progress.

Through the Framework’s five learning goals educators will assist your child to develop:

  • a strong sense of their identity
  • connections with their world
  • a strong sense of wellbeing
  • confidence and involvement in their learning; and
  • effective communication skills.

EYLF Image 2

Watching your child’s progress

Using the Early Years Learning Framework educators will observe your child’s learning so they can build on it and plan the next steps.  They will do this by listening, watching and talking to your child.

They will keep in touch with you regularly to discuss your child’s progress. They may use photos or keep a folder of your child’s work to show what your child is learning,, how they are developing and what particular learning interests them.

Before your child starts school educators will prepare information about your child’s learning and development to share with their new teacher. This will help ensure that your child’s new school is well prepared to continue your child’s learning.

Working together

By working together parents and educators can enhance a child’s learning and wellbeing. As the most important person in your child’s life you can make a difference by talking regularly with your child’s early childhood educator and asking about their learning. Information you provide allows educators to link your child’s experiences at home with the time they spend together in the early childhood setting.

Find out more

This booklet is an introduction to the Early Years Learning Framework: https://docs.education.gov.au/documents/belonging-being-becoming-early-years-learning-framework-australia-information-families-20

To find out more or to access translations visit www.deewr.gov.au/earlychildhood or ask your child’s early childhood educator. Produced by the Australian Government Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations for the Council of Australian Governments.

 

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