Blog

Halloween Safety for kids in Gympie

Halloween Safety for kids in Gympie

Halloween Safety for kids in Gympie

Although not everyone celebrates Halloween, it is becoming increasingly popular to take your little monsters and mummies out on the streets, demanding sticky treats!
The celebrations and shenanigans of Halloween have been around for several years now, originating from Latin America and the USA. They are now growing in popularity even in our little town of Gympie!

Whether you get into the scariness and fun is a personal choice. Some people love any opportunity to dress up and the kids certainly favour the idea of free lollies! Some families choose fun dress-ups and some get right into the creepy make up…
Gympie has some neighbourhoods that get into the spirit every year like Echelon at Jones Hill, Fairview Park Estate and plenty of other places on the Southside, in Gympie and at Widgee Crossing. For up-to-date information check out the Gympie Times and the local Facebook Groups.

At Parkside Early Learning Centre we leave it up to the individual group leader and family choices if Halloween is celebrated. We respect that some families do not want to participate or simply find the activities too scary. That’s why we never encourage children to do anything frightening or dress up in upsetting costumes. If Halloween is celebrated it will be a positive and light-hearted experience. Our Educators also use the opportunity to teach important safety messages.


Here are some STAY SAFE tips from the local police that will help prevent this year’s Halloween turning into a nightmare:

S – Stay in numbers (Children should always be accompanied by an adult and walk in groups)
T – Test all food before eating (do a visual check to ensure the wrapper has not been manipulated)
A – Always check the road before crossing and walk rather than run
Y – YOU never enter a stranger’s house, even if invited!

S – Stay on the footpath wherever possible
A – Avoid dark houses (just skip them)
F – Flashlights or glow-sticks are great for visibility
E – Enjoy with caution

To make the night fun for everyone practise common courtesy. A Please and Thank you will ensure next year’s fun. If you have a safe home that welcomes little monsters and witches, consider printing this poster from the Neighbourhood Watch Association:


https://mypolice.qld.gov.au/gympie/wp-content/blogs.dir/13/files/2019/01/Halloween-Black-and-White_7480458.pdf

Happy trick or treating!

Best pets for childcare aged children

Best pets for childcare aged children

Have you had your kids nag you to get a puppy or a kitten? They are oh-so-cute!!!

Having a family pet is an important decision, especially when younger kids are part of the family.
There are many questions to be answered beforehand like What pet would be most suitable for a young family?, What care do they need and who is responsible for it?, New born pet or a rescue pet… and so on?

It could be so easy to give in and see the joy in our children’s puppy eyes and the actual puppy’s!
So here are some tips when making the decision to have a pet or not, and if, yes, what pets are good for younger children to have around:

To have a pet or not?

Pets come in many sizes. It could be a gold fish or a Great Dane! Usually the size of the animal also determines how much work and effort they are, how much food they eat and how big the vet bills will be. Bigger animals also tend to live longer and therefor, are your responsibility for longer.
So the size is an important factor.

The pet must also be safe around your children and be able to tolerate rough children’s hands or too much affection. Certain dog breeds might therefore not be suitable. Animals have feelings, too, and that should be respected. At Parkside Early Learning Centre we have some fish for our very young learners. They enjoy watching when its feeding time and see their colours dash up and down. Our older kids enjoy our guinea pig ‘Tixie’. She is now over 5 years old and well used to little hands. To be extra safe we put our guinea pig in a towel to prevent any scratching or wee accidents. The children love patting her and brush her hair. They also go out to the park during Bushkindy and get fresh grass for her. A guinea pig is an ideal pet to start with to learn the first few steps of looking after a pet.

Another important issue to consider is if you are actually allowed to have pets if you are renting.
Some landlords are tolerant of some animals and some are not. But it might be worth asking even the most animal hating landlord if it is ok to have a goldfish, hermit crab or sea snail! They might be ok with it and it might just be entertaining enough for your kids!

Now that you have decided a pet should join the family, here some suggestions as suitable pets for children:
The most recommended animals for young families seem to be dogs, cats, birds, guinea pigs, mice or hamsters, and fish or turtles…
If you would like something a little different but still easy to keep and to handle, try some hermit crabs, axolotls, ants, stick insects or a bearded dragon…

Recently our older children at Parkside Early Learning Centre have been interested in insects. We have chased butterflies and caught crickets in the quarry area. We had some chrysalis at the centre and watched the butterflies come out. Next, we might try to keep some stick insects!
Children are fascinated by all kinds of animals – they learn responsibility and caring for others and appreciate the natural environment more. That is something we can only support here at Parkside ELC!

If you have a safe pet we would love to hear from you and maybe we can arrange a visit to the centre! The children would love it!

 

Childcare, child care, daycare, kindy, kindergarten, preprep, pets, early learning centre, 

Messy fun at childcare

Messy fun at childcare

Art that’s not messy…

…is there such a thing? Combine a toddler with some paint containers and a brush and you most likely get a spectacular mess! But you probably get a very happy toddler, too!

 

Most young children love art and being creative. We love to put their art work on the fridge but the process of creating such art can often be stressful and messy. Young children often do not have the gross motor or fine motor skills, special awareness or experience to handle paint, dye or other messy materials with the care and knowledge an adult would. Yet creative experiences are so important for children and their emotional development and wellbeing. At Parkside Early Learning Centre we do art and crafts every day, whether it be messy or non-messy! Art allows children to explore and experiment, watch cause and effect happen or express their feelings. Therefore, children should never be stopped to be creative and do arts and craft. Here are a few non-messy ideas you can do easily at home and help your child develop to their full potential:

1. Marble Art
Get a cardboard box or plastic container. Place a piece of paper inside, add some paint colours blobs and some marbles (older children only) or golf balls. Then its up to your child to start holding the box and move it up and down and let the ball roll around. Children love to watch what happens when the balls carry the paint around and create a unique picture.

2. Collaging
This is a create activity and super cheap. Start collecting a variety of items like different types of paper, leaves, twigs, bottle tops, bits of wool etc. And then all you need is a piece of paper and a glue stick. You child is free to choose how to place them on the paper and express themselves freely.

3. Leave Rubbing
Find some leaves that look really different from each other in shape and size and make sure they are nice and dry. Get some paper and crayons and place the leaves underneath the paper. Then let you child rub over them with the crayons (sometimes the side of the crayon works better than the tip). Your child will be fascinated by the appearance of the leave imprint.

4. Ziplock Painting
This is a great activity that even babies can do. Get some large ziplock bags and insert some paper. Then add some paint and seal it. You child can now use their hands to smoosh the paint around. It will create a unique pattern and after a while you could even add some glitter. Some families have used these creations afterwards for wrapping paper or homemade cards.

5. Nature Sculpture
Every kid loves playdough but have you ever made playdough yourself and just left it plain without food colouring? At Parkside our Pre-preps have made some sculptures from the natural playdough and added all kinds off materials found during Bushkindy. They added twigs and leaves, gum nuts and rocks, shells and feathers.

6. Light Catchers
For this activity we need some tissue paper, sticky contact and some black paper to make it look really pretty. Cut any shape from the black paper to use as a frame, place contact on one side and then let your child cover the sticky part with tissue paper. These will look great on the window with the sun shining through!

It might be worth your time to create a plastic container with some basic art and craft supplies which you can pull out any time its needed.   If your child is really into art we would love to invite them to join us at Parkside  Early Learning Centre where we offer all kind of messy and non-messy art activities and challenge the children to explore new activities. Your fridge will be plastered with art work in no time!

Yoga Instructor Paula at Parkside Early Learning Centre

Yoga Instructor Paula at Parkside Early Learning Centre

At Parkside Early Learning Centre in Gympie we offer lots of extra-curricular activities free of charge as part of our weekly program. We have now worked with Paul McLaughlin, our Kids Yoga Instructor, for 2 years and have seen the positive difference she and her yoga instruction make in the children’s live. We initially engaged Paula to do Yoga with our Parkside children because we found many children lacked the skill to listen to their own body and self-regulate.

Paula has taught our educators and children the importance of breathing and stretching our bodies out to relax and regenerate. At Parkside ELC Paul teaches the children how to bring body and mind into balance.
Paula has given her own testimony of how she became to be a Yoga instructor and Personal Trainer on her Facebook page: “In my 20’s I was a gym junkie, ridiculously fit but with scoliosis I often found myself in spasm and being carried in to the chiropractor for relief, sometimes needing weeks to recover. It was for this reason that I found yoga, which provided me with core strength and flexibility in all the right places.
After becoming a personal trainer in 2004, I was enjoying the physical aspect of fitness training but lacking spiritual connection and growth within myself and with clients. So, in 2005 I became a yoga teacher, and furthered my training a couple years later with Level 2 Yoga Teacher Training and a Cert 4 in Ayurvedic Lifestyle Consultation. This also enhanced my understanding of how we can best support ourselves and provide balance through diet, exercise and lifestyle choices. In the last couple years, I extended my studies Kids Yoga and have been teaching in an early learning centre. During this time I was teaching yoga and personal training and continued to study the Diploma of Fitness. I started teaching with detailed lesson plans but soon realised that wasn’t my forte and I felt less connected and detached shuffling through notes that never seemed to reflect the energy of the people in class.
The foundation of my class resides in my approach to intuitively feel out each class individually for what is needed from the energy of the group. My classes are a combination of vinyasa flow and held postures, supported by nurturing instructions outlining body alignment and muscle recruitment. My verbal structural guidance stems from my fitness background and provides the client with a strong understanding of their body in the pose and transitions. I get a great sense of satisfaction from seeing my students deepen their practice as they get to know and better trust their bodies, cultivating gratitude and self-worth for themselves and each other.
Each class incorporates strength and flexibility, pranayama, mudra, guided meditation/relaxation through set intensions and mind/body connection via the vehicle of the breath.
I love how yoga continues to show me what my mind, body and breath needs to enable it to feel good, to grow, to release, to learn, to offer up on the mat and in life. Yoga has been my saving grace many times throughout my life. Every day is different and every day I learn from yoga.”
Namaste
Paula

As you can see, Paula is well qualified to work with adults and children in Gympie! The kids love it when she comes into Parkside! If you are not into Fitness or Yoga Paula can also serve you a great coffee at Soma Soma café in Gympie as she works there occasionally!
Check out
Paula McLaughlin’s Facebook Page Free2Be Yoga and PT to see her class schedule for the year!

Learning table manners and skills

Learning table manners and skills

Dining Out With Children

Here are some helpful tips at eating time that we’ve learnt with our children from Parkside Early Learning Centre.

At Parkside ELC the children enjoy all meals together – this builds a real family feel and builds relationships. Our educators at our centre use this time to discuss healthy eating and encourage children to try new foods. It is also a valuable learning time to practice table manners and using cutlery. All these are life skills – learning these can start from a very you age. During free play time the children at Parkside ELC love pretending to cook in the home corner kitchen or play ‘restaurants’.

cookingeating

Dining out can be a great way for families to enjoy some quality time together, but if things go wrong, it can also be a nightmare.  Here are a few tips to ensure that your family eating-out experiences go more smoothly:

  1. Lay the groundwork:

Children can’t be expected to behave well in restaurants if they are used to being allowed to run riot at mealtimes at home or haven’t been taught the basics, such as how to use the proper utensils. It is safest to give children unbreakable plastic dishes and cutlery to practice but every now and then, and once they are a bit older, move on to proper china but maybe not your grandma’s best! Proper china and cutlery feels a lot heavier and if children are not used to this they may have more accidents.

Prepare your children for proper table manners by eating as a family at home and by teaching, modelling and enforcing positive behaviour while eating. Practising table manners in a safe and relaxed way at home is much easier for you and your child than having a fight or embarrassing moment in a restaurant with lots of onlookers.

  1. Pick your time:

Taking children to a nice restaurant when they are tired, over-hungry and fractious is often a recipe for disaster, so choose your time carefully.  Maybe try a nice brunch somewhere (they can have some toast before hand at home) or go to a café for afternoon tea.  In the Gympie region my favourite place is the Cooloola Berries Strawberry farm. Kids can run around free and are not restricted to staying in a room! Next time move on to bigger events like going out for dinner. Make the evening meal an early one and remind your children about what is expected before hand.

  1. Pick your place:

If there are no other children in the restaurant that you are considering, it might be wise to steer clear.  Children often pick up on an atmosphere that is not child-friendly, and the companionship of other children often encourages better rather than worse behaviour. In Gympie we have a good choice of kid-friendly restaurants like The Royal which has a kids play area!

  1. Order carefully:

Ordering a selection of appetizers rather than main courses not only can mean a shorter wait for the food to arrive, but it also avoids the issue of children complaining that they don’t like the food. Or choose a place that is all you can eat or buffet style. That way children don’t have to wait – try one of Gympie’s sushi trains or Pizza Hut’s All You Can Eat!

  1. The waiting game:

Sometimes it is unavoidable to have to wait – if other children are joining your restaurant get-together then take along some simple games they can enjoy while waiting for their food. How about card games like Pairs/Happy Family or UNO. You could also play games like I spy or make up games like having to find three things that are red. Hopefully this will make time pass quickly and encourage some fun conversations, too!

  1. Finally:

Never use dining out as an opportunity to have your children try something new (unless they are really into trying new foods). Keep your experiments for mealtimes at home – most supermarkets offer a huge choice of multicultural foods. Try a sushi making kit, a curry jar or have a Mexican fiesta at home with some tacos! Then your children will be prepared for a fun dinner out!

 

Child Care, childcare, kindy, pre-prep, pre-school, kindergarten, early learning centre, eating, family, gympie, best, daycare.

Educators teach about conflict

Educators teach about conflict

Clashing with toddlers normal—and beneficial

Are you a mum or dad of a toddler? Do you feel like you’re in constant conflict with your toddler? If you answered yes, you’re in good company, say researchers from Lehigh University and University of California–Davis originally published in the journal Child Development:

The scientists recruited children and their mothers through birth announcements in local newspapers and then observed them when the children were between 30 and 36 months of age. They were watched in typical situations that might cause conflict, such as when mothers were instructed to keep their toddlers away from enticing toys or ask their children to put away toys they’d been playing with. Frequent conflict arose during such situations—an average of 20 times per hour! The number ranged from 4 to 55 times per hour throughout the study. Sounds exhausting!

Though exhausting for everyone, these types of conflicts can help children learn important emotional lessons in addition to social norms, experts say.

No one really likes conflict, especially when it is with a little toddler. We love them very much and don’t want to argue with them or withhold things from them.  But sometimes this is necessary for their benefit. These seem to be the very situations that make our toddler throw a tantrum, scream and shout or start getting aggressive towards us. Sometimes these situations last several minutes or even longer!

110524_XXF_worriedParent_0.jpg.CROP.original-original

However, those frustrating moments are important lessons for your child. Reality is we can not always have what we want and it may not feel pleasant when that happens. Through conflict children learn to respect other people’s needs and opinions. They learn that not every conflict has a win-win ending. In conflict situations children can learn to actively listen to others and learn to express their feelings.We need to teach our children how to deal with these situations.

Our educators at Parkside Early Learning Centre give these tips to avoid conflict or tantrums:

  • Positive attention. We try to catch the child being good and reward them with specific praise and attention for positive behaviour, e.g. “I like the way you just passed that toy over to Lucie!”
  • Give control. At our centre we give children choices with in save limits. Our environments are set up for children to choose what they want to play or do and access things themselves. These opportunities for choices help the child to feel in control at some time rather than feeling that their whole lives are pre-determined by adults.
  • Out of sight and out of reach. This avoids struggle and endless arguing. Simply remove the item of issue, e.g. Ipad or toy. Obviously, this isn’t always possible.
  • Young children have a shorter attention span which can be used to our advantage. Our educators often diffuse a situation by offering something else in place of what they can’t have. They may start a new activity to replace the one they can’t do or change location, leave the room together or go outside.
  • Teach self-help skills. Our educators help children learn to do things for themselves. We praise them to help them feel proud of what they can do. Self -help skills boost your child’s emotional stability and build more confidence.
  • Build language skills. Young children’s biggest issue is often that they can not express themselves properly due to limited language skills. We need to teach them and focus on the basics like expressing feelings or simple words like stop.Teacher Girl 2

At Parkside Early Learning Centre our educators know younger children find sharing, turn taking or giving up a toy challenging. When children react in a negative way they stay calm and respond in a reassuring way. The calm of your voice (fake it till you make it even when you are getting mad!) can diffuse the situation or at least make it a lot shorter and less stressful for all involved!

 

Child Care, childcare, kindy, pre-prep, pre-school, kindergarten, early learning centre, eating, family, gympie, best, daycare.

Learning resilience at childcare

Learning resilience at childcare

Instilling Resiliency in your Children Even in the Face of Adversity

 

Children tend to be happy-go-lucky and typically un-phased by the drama the world can provide us adults on a regular basis. However, it doesn’t mean that they never experience stress or trauma. There are some children who are exposed to this on a regular basis in the form of natural disasters, neglect, abuse and even the death of their loved ones. Children often feed from the adults around them, so if a parent is expressing stress while going through a rough time, children might become anxious or hesitant. As parents and caregivers, we obviously try to keep them as safe as possible from unpleasant things, but the reality is we’re just not able to protect them from everything the world sends their way. When they experience something sad or negative, children tend to feel vulnerable, afraid, sad and lonely. So, what do we do to help prevent this or at the very least, minimize these feelings?

self-help (2)

Early childhood is the best time to begin to instil resiliency according to the experts – but how do you go about this? Most importantly, children who come from families who are supportive and caring tend to be more resilient when life throws them a curve. When they are surrounded by adults – both family members and early childhood educators – who are loving, caring and responsive to their needs they are much better equipped to adapt to adversity. This is why it is part of Parkside Early Learning Centre’s philosophy to build solid connections with the families of the children we care for and also work strongly together with the wider community.water-garden

Here are some practical ways to help your child develop resilience in the early years:

  • Allow children more and more independence as they grow older. It builds their confidence.
  • Encourage your child to share, take turns and serve others first. It teaches them patience.
  • Do not give your child everything they request. It helps them understand we can not have everything
  • Involve children when donating old toys or clothing to charity. It teaches them to look after others in times of need.
  • Teach your child that struggles are challenges we can learn from. See the good even in the bad.
  • Introduce your child to as many new experiences as possible as it teaches them to step outside their comfort zone.
  • Teach children to ask for help (but only if they are not being lazy). Use their lack of skill as a teachable moment.
  • Give them chores to do and make sure they get done even if they don’t feel like it. It teaches them responsibility.

 

When protective factors like a supportive family, adequate nutrition, and responsive and caring educators and caregivers are a regular presence in a child’s life, they become more adaptable and resilient beings. This instilled resiliency will allow children to better relationships, healthy coping mechanisms and an outward focus.

 

At a childcare centre like Parkside Early Learning Centre many of the above activities happen as part of our day to day learning. Children are encouraged to help tidy up and clean, they share and take turns. When things go wrong we use those times for learning and moving forward. Childcare is a great environment to lean social skills and resilience – it not just about learning the A,B,C and the 1,2,3…!

 

child care, childcare, early learning, gympie, daycare, day care, best, nursery, development, 

Good Manners Learnt at Parkside Early Learning

Good Manners Learnt at Parkside Early Learning

The Importance of Teaching Your Children Good Manners

It’s no secret that raising children today is a tough job. With all of the influences they have in their lives, keeping them on the right path is never easy.

One area that will never be “out of style” when it comes to raising good kids is teaching them manners. Children who are taught manners at a young age, grow up to be kinder, gentler and more considerate of others than those who don’t. At Parkside Early Learning Centre we recently focussed on this topic. We organised a fun show for the children to learn about manners, respect and responsibilities through song and play.

manners

The easiest way to begin teaching your children good manners outside of the child care environment is to lead by example. Say “please” and “thank you,” don’t interrupt others when they are speaking and practising good table manners are the easiest manners to teach so start with these. Table manners are especially important – not only for meals at home but for meals out, as well. Children have a hard enough time remembering how to behave at home let alone how to behave in a public place like a restaurant, for example. Keeping the rules the same across the board saves any problems from arising.

Other good manners your children can learn:

  • Writing thank you notes
  • Making get-well cards for sick adults or friends
  • Saying hello and goodbye when appropriate
  • Sharing with and being kind to others

While teaching and explaining what good manners are, again, the best way for it to sink in for your kids is to lead by example – not by a “do as I say not as I do” approach. Your children watch adults and mimic what they see – especially when it comes to parents.

Teacher Girl 2

Finally, praise their good behaviour every time they practice a form of good manners. Giving praise is a wonderful reinforcement for what you’re teaching – let your children know how proud of them you are.

 

Child Behaviour, ChildCare, Early Learning, Gympie, Kindy, Kindergarten, Pre-pre, Preschool, Best.

 

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!

 

 

Child Care, Childcare, Kindy, Kindergarten, Pre-prep, Gympie, Best, Daycare, Preschool, Early Learning Centre, Nursery

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.