Blog : Child Development

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!

 

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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!

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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!

 

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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…!

 

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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.

 

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Teaching Children About Dental Health in Child Care in Gympie

Teaching Children About Dental Health in Child Care in Gympie

It’s never too soon to teach your children about the importance of good oral health and get them in to a routine that will carry them throughout their lives. While some children will take to the task at hand easily and without much fuss, everyone learns differently and may take a little extra coaxing. Here are a few tips for you to help your little ones keep their teeth and gums healthy.

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  • Teach your children about their teeth. Explain the different types of teeth, how many they have, where they are located and even what their jobs are. As adults we have 32 teeth – twelve molars (in sets of three and are in the back of the mouth), eight premolars (also known as bicuspids and are used to crush and tear food), four cuspids (next to the bicuspids or premolars and are pointed which make tearing food easy) and eight incisors (located in the front of the mouth and are used to cut food.)
  • Read books specifically about dental health. A trip to your library or local book store will provide plenty of age-appropriate reading material that talk about good dental health. For younger children, books with more illustrations are a better choice. If you are able to connect to the Internet, the Australian Dental Association’s website offers more information about going to the dentist.

The younger your children are the better when it comes to teaching about good oral health habits. Don’t put it off another minute.

 

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How To Determine What Level of Book is Right for Your Children in Childcare

How To Determine What Level of Book is Right for Your Children in Childcare

Your child isn’t going to become a great reader over night, but it can happen one book at a time. But what is the best way for you to choose the right book for your child to read?

It may be second nature to feel like you should be picking your children’s books, but the fact remains that letting your child choose their own books is a skill that they should learn at young age. By allowing your child to choose their own books independent of your input, allows your child to learn the different reason we choose a book to read in the first place.

If your child has reached reading age, here are a few helpful tips to help him or her learn to choose books that will make them want to read more:

 

  • When your child is ready to start reading, begin instilling the fact that we read for a purpose – whether it’s too learn something or if the purpose is simply for enjoyment.
  • Have your child browse through the books either at the library or the bookstore. If this seems to be too overwhelming, then have them narrow down their choices by either a type of book (fiction or nonfiction) or by action, funny or other subject.
  • Say “yes” as often as you can when your child selects a book that he or she is interested in. Rather than saying “no” try saying that a choice is “not so a great selection.
  • If your child selects a book that is beyond his or her reading ability, solve the problem by reading the book out loud with your child. Let them read as much of the book as possible, you can jump in if there are difficult parts for your child to read.
  • If your child has really enjoyed a particular book, remind him or her of the author name when they are selecting books the next time.

 

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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!

Preparing Children for School in Child Care Centres

Preparing Children for School in Child Care Centres

Occasionally, we get asked by  parents “Do children really need to be exposed to early learning programs before he or she goes to school?” The answer we always give them is a resounding ‘yes’!

 

Our own two children went to a Kindergarten program. My oldest daughter, now 10 years old, went full time and my younger son, now 6 years old, only went 1 day per week. We certainly noticed the difference in the smoothness of their transition and readiness for school. Although we provided a loving and caring home where early education was valued, we could not create an environment similar to long daycare or school where the social skills are challenged and developed in a unique environment away from us as protective parents. We realised that exposing our own children to such a learning environment benefits them hugely in their transition to school, builds confidence and resilience.

Happy Children ePacket

Attending a long daycare service like Parkside Early Learning Centre or a Kindergarten Program exposes children to larger group learning with activities planned specifically for their developmental stage, individual needs or personal interests. All this is done by well qualified staff who build ongoing relationships with the children and after a while know them very well. The difference of early years education to school is that all our experiences at Parkside ELC are play-based in nature. Educators observe the children and use their natural and current interests to further develop their knowledge and development.  Aside from these planned and spontaneous activities children can explore their social skills in a larger group of children. This exposure to diversity builds confidence over time and resilience. Such an environment cannot be re-created on the same scale at home.  Therefore, children who are not attending a pre-school or Kindergarten Program may lack in the areas of social and emotional skills.

Choose Day Care

This personal insight is well backed up by recent research:

The website for the Early Learning: Everyone benefits campaign summarises several benefits of early education from an Australian Study done by the Melbourne Institute. Here some examples:

  • Australian and international research tells us that attending early learning improves children’s educational outcomes at school up to 13 years later.
  • Children who attend a high-quality early childhood program in the year before school are up to 40 per cent ahead of their peers by the time they reach Year 3 in primary school.
  • By age five, a child’s vocabulary will predict their educational success and outcomes at age 30.

http://www.everyonebenefits.org.au/about

Another interesting source to gain more research based information is the Life Course Centre. There you can find several in-depth studies about the positive long-term implications of early education and care programs for Australian children.

http://www.lifecoursecentre.org.au/publications/long-term-implications-of-early-education-and-care-programs-for-australian-children

As parents, we want the best start for our children. This includes the transition to big school!

So… the question is not any more whether we should send our child to long day care or a Kindergarten Program but WHEN! We encourage you to come and see our centre for yourselves. Meet the owners, director and educators together with your child and get a feel for the place. Once you have enrolled we encourage you to prepare your child for the transition from being at home with you to a pre-school program. The Queensland Department of Education provides some helpful tips on how to transition your child successfully on their website:

https://det.qld.gov.au/earlychildhood/families/kindy/getting-ready

Contact us today to find out more here or call 07 5482 7738

 

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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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Separate Nursery Room for Child Care in Gympie

Separate Nursery Room for Child Care in Gympie

Parkside Early Learning Centre has made available a separate nursery room for children from 6 weeks of age.
The move has been because of growth in the amount of families enrolling at Parkside and the need to have babies and infants in a separate environment. The nursery has its own spacious room along with a separate sleeping room. Both the sleeping room and the classroom have air conditioning and views out over the natural parklands that surround the centre.
The nursery and toddler rooms have their own private covered balcony and outdoor play area. This keeps them safe and in an environment of age appropriate play experiences. The nursery staff exceptionally experienced and have a special passion for the nursery age group. For safety of our children they follow SIDS protocols. Parkside also offer all meals.
little-guy
Many centres in Gympie don’t offer care for the younger age groups. For the owners Andrew and Carolin being able to offer a full child care service for all ages was always part of the plan. “We want to be able to offer families the convenience of having all their children in one service in a safe and caring environment.” says Andrew
Children can start from the age of 6 weeks and then progress through the different classrooms with their friends and up until the Kindergarten room where they run the Queensland approved kindergarten program before heading off the school.
Toddler LP
The nursery is almost at capacity on many days now with more families to start in the coming weeks. If you are interested in finding out more call on 07 5482 7738 or here.
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