Blog : Child Development

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.
Child Care, Nursery, Gympie, Daycare, Childcare, Early Learning Centre, Babies, Infant, Toddler
Sibling Rivalry in Early Childhood

Sibling Rivalry in Early Childhood

If you are a parent of more than one child than you most like have experienced sibling rivalry, that constant nagging, pushing the other person’s buttons, wanting what the other one has or can do, or the “he said/she said” scenarios! Sibling rivalry can be so frustrating for parents but I am sure it is frustrating and stressful for the siblings, too. Yet there can be a daily soap opera playing out before our eyes of the good, the bad and the ugly of sibling relationships.

We straight away wonder ‘Is it just our children? Why are THEY so bad?’

Social development of children starts right from birth. Babies hear our voices even when their eyes cannot see perfectly yet. This is the beginning of social interaction-listening to someone. They then move on to establishing eye-contact and then we see that first smile that shows the connection we have built in just a few weeks! This first year is all about the enjoyment of interdependence. In the following two years, we move on to more autonomy – children become more wilful and often this age is marked by what we call tantrums! During this time, we teach children to share, take turns and become more aware of the negative impacts of some of their actions. From 3-6 years, children show more initiative and purpose to what they are doing. They have developed a feeling of guilt if they have done something wrong.

Sibling Rivalry

When families grow and more siblings come along problems can occur right after birth of a new brother or sister. The other child has to adjust their position in the family hierarchy and this can lead to behavioural problems. As they get older sibling rivalry can present as jealousy, competition and in fighting with each other. Many parents are worried about this.

Children display sibling rivalry for many reasons: It can just be part of normal development. As children grow their own personality and become independent individuals they express this and it can clash with other individuals around them, in this case their siblings. The home environment is often a safe place for self-expression in a way children (and adults) would not act in public. As long as it is not harmful to them or others it can be seen as normal growth of their own identity and an experiment how to express this identity. However, aggression and physical fighting should not be seen as normal and must be addressed and redirected.

Other factors can influence sibling rivalry like the mentioned arrival of a new baby: if parents favour one child over another, which can often happen subconsciously, if parents or children are particularly stressed and have a short fuse, parents going through a separation can or major changes in a child’s life (death in the family, moving house/town).

Sibling Rivalry3

The way to address sibling rivalry is by spending equal amounts of quality time with each child. This can be tricky with the demands of younger children but often time can be spent after younger children have gone to bed or special one-on-one time can be scheduled maybe once a week like a date. Avoid favouritism and allow each child to develop their individual personality. Outbrakes of fighting, especially if they become physical, must be stopped and as parents it is our job to role model positive alternatives to fighting like having a civilised discussion where everyone will be heard and everyone can learn to make compromises. Parents can watch out for triggers like time of day, level of tiredness, stress factors like school or other issues in the children’s lives – these can be used to give early warnings to prevent a quarrel or fight. Some children may need extra help managing anger issues which can be provided by a specialist like a therapist or councillor.

In a quarrel help your child to express feelings rather than engaging in argument over who started it. Allow them to share their side of the story and support them to find resolutions. Aim for a win-win result but even if not everyone is happy at the end, it will be a long-term lesson in how to negotiate in an appropriate manner. Regular family meetings can be a helpful tool to bring everyone together and teach those skills.

Sibling Rivalry4

In time children will get to know each other better, accept each other’s differences and individuality and learn to avoid arguments in the first place. This should restore the peace in your house again!

Using Technology in Early Childhood and Child Care

Using Technology in Early Childhood and Child Care

“Hand up if you have ever given your child a mobile phone or tablet to play with, especially when you needed them to be quiet or occupied for a little bit longer?”

“Hand up again, if you felt a bit guilty for doing so?”

I bet many hands would go up to answer both questions! Technology is all around us these days. We love it and loathe it at the same time! Of course, technology is not just screen devices but when it comes to children that’s what we often think about. The use of screened items such as phones, tablets or computers help us every day to find information, or the way somewhere or it buys us that extra bit of quiet time when we allow our children to play on them. We try and choose “educational” games to make us feel better as we know “too much screen time is bad!” There are definite benefits of exposing children to modern technology but also the dangers of over-exposure.

Child with iPad

We see children, teenagers and even adults hovering over their phones and not acknowledging the world around them as they are so engrossed in what happens on that screen. Some children spend so much time on phones and tablets that it impacts their speech and social development, and their physical abilities. Even the late Apple CEO Steve Jobs said that his children would not be allowed to use an iPad! The Department of Health warns of the dangers of the negative impacts of being on devices for long periods of time, too. (http://www.health.gov.au/internet/publications/publishing.nsf/Content/gug-indig-hb~inactivitiy They recommend no screen time for kids under 2 years and a max of up to 1 hour per day for children 2-5 years. One hour per day can actually be a lot!

Child with LightboxHowever, children are also very open to new technology and therefore adapt a lot quicker to the change that it brings. Fact is that this technology is here to stay and develop further. All the areas say that too much screen time can affect negatively it can also support for the better: Language development can be fostered through apps that teach early numeracy and literacy skills or even teach second languages.  The use of devices like the Wii can encourage children to become more physically active or the use of Skype can build a relationship with families living overseas. From the recommendations of the Department of Health it seems it is the balance that is important as well as how we use screen time.

At Parkside Early Learning Centre we spend daily time outside, even when the weather is not perfect. Fresh air, connecting with nature and physical gross motor activity is highly important for growing brains. Without this, children will not be ready to learn more detailed or complicated concepts and engage in fine motor activities that require higher concentration levels.

Children climbing tree

At Parkside Early Learning Centre we have introduced the use of iPads after discussing this with staff and families. Educators and children use them to record learning in all areas by writing observations and taking photos, we use them daily for our ELLA second language sessions for all Kindy children. IPads are also a tool for research – children ask many questions and educators show the young learners how to search for information.

The use of technology goes beyond the use of screen devises of course. At Parkside we have used traditional cameras, battery operated or remoted controlled toys, poChild with Mixer 2wer tools like a battery operated screw drivers (Mr Andrew likes to share his tools!), kitchen mixers or blenders, listening to CD stories or experimenting with light boxes.

The use of different technology inspires discussions with children about related topics like safety, life before modern technology, cyber safety or how things actually work.

So if you are in doubt about whether to allow your child the use of technology, especially screen devices, then ask yourself if their development will benefit from it or not. Also does your child spend regular time outside enjoying physical activities?

At Parkside Early Learning Centre we understand some parents’ worry about the over exposure to screen time. We carefully consider the benefits every time we use screens to ensure this time is spend as a teachable moment and benefits the child’s development. As part of our ‘School ready program’ we are committed to getting children prepared for the prep year. Children will begin using computers and tablets from day one at school and we want all our children entering prep being confident in using technology and screen devices.

 

Childcare, Kindergarten, Early Learning, Gympie, Day Care, Technology, Best

Getting My Child School Ready

Getting My Child School Ready

Entrance to school is a major mile stone in every child’s life – and in the parents’ too! For us grown-ups it’s the realisation that they are not little anymore!

Many children attend a Kindergarten Program before they start the Prep year at school. In Queensland the Queensland Kindergarten Program which is government funded can be joined in a sessional Kindergarten (usually 5 days in a fortnight) or in a long daycare setting like Parkside Early Learning Centre. Our centre is open from 6.30am to 6pm and our Kindy program runs within these hours every day from 8.30am to 4pm. This gives parents who are working or just need more than the sessional hours offered elsewhere a much greater flexibility.

The Kindergarten Program aims to support young learners from about the age of 3 ½ years old.

The Department of Education gives lots of helpful information about the Queensland Kindergarten Program on its website. The program intends to teach the following:

  • use language to communicate ideas, feelings and needs
  • make friends and cooperate with other children
  • become more independent and confident in their abilities
  • develop self-discipline
  • creatively express ideas and feelings through art, dance and dramatic play
  • identify, explore and solve problems
  • develop reading, writing and numeracy skills.

happy-child-at-a-desk

At Parkside Early Learning Centre we believe that the learning journey of getting ready for school begins much early than the year before school entrance. We focus our daily programs on ‘school readiness’ right from the time a child enrols with us.

In several meetings with local Prep teachers in Gympie we have asked what is the most important skills they would like to see in the students when they first start the prep year. Surprisingly they were not so worried about early numeracy and literacy skills which is often what we would expect. Of course, it is helpful when they can write their name, can count to 10 or know some of the letters of the Alphabet but what teachers would like to see most are self-help skills, being able to cope with a structured environment, emotional stability and positive social skills amongst others.

At Parkside Early Learning we focus from a young age on independence. When they are under 2 years old it’s all about attempting new skills – we encourage them to use their words, help with basic tasks like putting their sheets into their bags or putting their dirty dishes into our collection buckets and begin toileting independently. As they get older they extend their skills in all areas of development and we practise sharing and turn taking with others, basic manners, listen to stories and joining into songs. We foster an interest in learning by providing for their interests and curiosity. Before they enter school we expect them to be able to use scissors, have a good pencil grip, be articulate with clear speech, cope well with transitions, be able to cope in a positive manner with emotional upsets or conflict and to carry out tasks with less teacher input and supervision (we are of course always there to give a helping hand). If educators or parents have any concerns on the way of getting ‘school ready’ we work together and may refer to a specialist as it’s always best to get issues checked out early to have a positive start at school.

children-music

So, as you can see these skills cannot just be achieved in one year of Kindergarten, it is a learning journey that starts from birth but recent research has shown the benefits of an earlier start and more time at a Kindergarten Program. It has proven to give children a better start to the prep-year as well as given them the long term skills to cope better in school and life compared to their peers who have not attended a Kindergarten Program.*

We strongly urge you to enrol your child in a quality early childcare setting like Parkside Early Learning Centre long before they enter school to ensure a positive start at Prep and to build a skill base that will last a life time! To explore the what makes Parkside Early Learning Centre different please refer to our unique benefits page

 

* Research summary of the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare and the Australian Institute of Family Studies http://www.aihw.gov.au/uploadedFiles/ClosingTheGap/Content/Publications/2012/ctgc-rs15.pdf

 

childcare, early learning centre, kindergarten, kindy, day care, gympie, child care, parenting 

THE IMPORTANCE OF CREATIVE PLAY IN CHILDCARE

THE IMPORTANCE OF CREATIVE PLAY IN CHILDCARE

It is already February – the year is moving fast! Christmas is well and truly in the past and our kids’ rooms are full with new toys – often more than they can handle! The floor is in a mess and we can hardly see the carpet… and yet they come up to us and say they are bored!!!

This conversation usually plays out in someone threatening to get a big rubbish bag and bin all the new toys! How can they be bored with so many toys around, and most of them are only a month old? Did Santa get it all wrong?

Recently I came across an interesting quote saying that “the more the toy does the less the child does, and the less the toy does the more the child does.”

This really got me thinking, especially since we at Parkside Early Learning Centre in Gympie believe in play-based learning. Research has shown how important play is for children: Maria Montessori, known for her work in early childhood education and childcare, said:” Play is the work of a child.”; and Albert Einstein once said “Play is the highest form of research”. So, if your children spend extended time playing, they are in fact hard at work and researching the world.

But then my next question is what exactly is play and is any kind of play good?

We say ‘our children are playing’ when they are actively engaged with others in the sandpit building sandcastles, when they are solitary engrossed pushing trains around on their tracks or when they act out real life situations in the family corner pretend cooking or dressing up. And all this is work or research? Well, yes, it is! Children participating in play such as this practise and acquire important social skills, they explore ways of doing things or experiment what happens when we pour too much sand or water in a container. They gain confidence as they progress in the skills they acquire and learn to understand the world around them better.

Play often involves all 5 senses – this is the way children learn best. We see this in little babies: they turn their head when they hear a tune, they stick everything in their mouths or squish things with their little hands. Older children use their senses to explore textures, make sounds with instruments or use their eyes to follow a bird or butterfly. At our childcare centre in Gympie, Parkside Early Learning, we expose the children to lots of sensory experiences like painting, messy play like swishing shaving foam around, hiding animals in rice or making slime. We allow the children to explore real life natural materials like pine cones, seeds, drift wood or pumice stone rocks. They love it!

So back to the toys…Do we need them and what are good toys? Are we wasting our money on the shiny noise making toys advertised on TV as must haves?

Toys are objects for children to play with. Some toys on offer these days seem to do a lot and attract our children’s attention but, soon after every button has been pressed, the excitement wanes and the attention of our child moves away quickly (and we are disappointed about all the money we spend). Toys like that usually have a set of activities requested from the child and, once completed, the child can’t develop any further skills and a new toy is needed.

Creative Toys 2

Some people mention the ‘good old days’ when they played with sticks and stones. They became swords, cookies or counters in games. And they cost NOTHING! All can be called toys but there seem to be toys that require more imagination and that brings us back to the quote from the beginning that some toys do a lot and require little input from the child and others do little but engage the child’s imagination a lot more. Children need to develop a bright imagination in order to become good thinker outside the box and problem solvers. Imagination helps develop the children’s cognitive skills and they became more adaptable. All these are skills our children need in order to get school ready and later in adult working life.

Creative Toys 3

So, maybe, as parents we need to be more adventurous and send them outside more, allow them to climb trees, play with sticks, stones, sand and water (and hide some of the old toys). At Parkside Early Learning centre, we are very fortunate being located next to a lovely park – we have gone over there for picnics, to collect natural materials which we later used for art, craft or play, and to watch birds and insects. As parents, we are called to be role models for our children. So, let’s get down on the floor, grab an old pot, some water and leaves and make some delicious soup. Help you child develop creativity and, on the way, you might make some of the best memories of play with your child and re-develop your own creativity!

childcare, early learning centre, kindergarten, kindy, day care, gympie, child care, parenting 

The importance of Creative Play in Childcare

The importance of Creative Play in Childcare

It is already February – the year is moving fast! Christmas is well and truly in the past and our kids’ rooms are full with new toys – often more than they can handle! The floor is in a mess and we can hardly see the carpet… and yet they come up to us and say they are bored!!!

This conversation usually plays out in someone threatening to get a big rubbish bag and bin all the new toys! How can they be bored with so many toys around, and most of them are only a month old? Did Santa get it all wrong?

Recently I came across an interesting quote saying that “the more the toy does the less the child does, and the less the toy does the more the child does.”

This really got me thinking, especially since we at Parkside Early Learning Centre in Gympie believe in play-based learning. Research has shown how important play is for children: Maria Montessori, known for her work in early childhood education and childcare, said:” Play is the work of a child.”; and Albert Einstein once said “Play is the highest form of research”. So, if your children spend extended time playing, they are in fact hard at work and researching the world.

But then my next question is what exactly is play and is any kind of play good?

We say ‘our children are playing’ when they are actively engaged with others in the sandpit building sandcastles, when they are solitary engrossed pushing trains around on their tracks or when they act out real life situations in the family corner pretend cooking or dressing up. And all this is work or research? Well, yes, it is! Children participating in play such as this practise and acquire important social skills, they explore ways of doing things or experiment what happens when we pour too much sand or water in a container. They gain confidence as they progress in the skills they acquire and learn to understand the world around them better.

Play often involves all 5 senses – this is the way children learn best. We see this in little babies: they turn their head when they hear a tune, they stick everything in their mouths or squish things with their little hands. Older children use their senses to explore textures, make sounds with instruments or use their eyes to follow a bird or butterfly. At our childcare centre in Gympie, Parkside Early Learning, we expose the children to lots of sensory experiences like painting, messy play like swishing shaving foam around, hiding animals in rice or making slime. We allow the children to explore real life natural materials like pine cones, seeds, drift wood or pumice stone rocks. They love it!

So back to the toys…Do we need them and what are good toys? Are we wasting our money on the shiny noise making toys advertised on TV as must haves?

Toys are objects for children to play with. Some toys on offer these days seem to do a lot and attract our children’s attention but, soon after every button has been pressed, the excitement wanes and the attention of our child moves away quickly (and we are disappointed about all the money we spend). Toys like that usually have a set of activities requested from the child and, once completed, the child can’t develop any further skills and a new toy is needed.

Creative Toys 2

Some people mention the ‘good old days’ when they played with sticks and stones. They became swords, cookies or counters in games. And they cost NOTHING! All can be called toys but there seem to be toys that require more imagination and that brings us back to the quote from the beginning that some toys do a lot and require little input from the child and others do little but engage the child’s imagination a lot more. Children need to develop a bright imagination in order to become good thinker outside the box and problem solvers. Imagination helps develop the children’s cognitive skills and they became more adaptable. All these are skills our children need in order to get school ready and later in adult working life.

Creative Toys 3

So, maybe, as parents we need to be more adventurous and send them outside more, allow them to climb trees, play with sticks, stones, sand and water (and hide some of the old toys). At Parkside Early Learning centre, we are very fortunate being located next to a lovely park – we have gone over there for picnics, to collect natural materials which we later used for art, craft or play, and to watch birds and insects. As parents, we are called to be role models for our children. So, let’s get down on the floor, grab an old pot, some water and leaves and make some delicious soup. Help you child develop creativity and, on the way, you might make some of the best memories of play with your child and re-develop your own creativity!

 

childcare, early learning centre, kindergarten, kindy, day care, gympie, child care, parenting 

Emotional and Social Development for Preschoolers in Child Care

Emotional and Social Development for Preschoolers in Child Care

I recently visited a number of schools in around Gympie and after a number of discussions with Principles and prep school teachers a common thread was starting to appear. The children starting school for the first time were really struggling in regards of their emotional development and social skills. This makes the transition to big school difficult for the children and also challenging for the teachers.

These two areas of early childhood are a major focus for Parkside Early Learning Centre and it’s families. Through the larger social setting of a child care centre and surrounded by caring and skilled educators our children are able to develop those skills more quickly and make a more successful transition into school.

Social & Emotional Development

Birth to school age is the period of greatest growth and development. The early childhood years are not only a time for taking first steps or for saying first words. They are also when, through their relationships with others formed in a child care centre environment, children are building expectations about their world and the people in it and are developing their first.

  • sense of self including feeling good about themselves and what they can do
  • social skills to get along in life with others
  • emotional skills such as recognising, expressing and managing a wide range of feelings.

These first skills are very important as they form the foundations for children’s ongoing development and affect their mental health and wellbeing, now and into the future. All skills that can develop significantly in a child care centre environment.

Babies are natural communicators and are able to experience and express a wide range of emotions. Through their many positive interactions with child care workers, they learn to feel good about themselves and enjoy relating with others. They learn from an early age how to manage a range of feelings and to communicate effectively to get their needs met. As babies grow into toddlers and later preschoolers, they can manage more things by themselves but still need guidance and support from their caregivers. Toddlers want to please adults and also to be themselves. They do this by imitating others and build their self confidence by ‘helping’ during everyday experiences such as cooking, cleaning, and shopping.

It is very important to have positive role models in a child care centre environment and also at home. This is because the children adapt their behaviour according to their child care workers responses and are learning ways to cope with conflict and to solve problems through their relationships with significant adults in their lives.

Kindergarten aged children develop their social and emotional skills through a wide network of social relationships including other adults and children. Supported by their increased language, thinking and planning capabilities, Kindergarten child are more able to wait for things they want, to negotiate solutions to everyday problems and make decisions for themselves and with others.

What Parkside Early Learning Centre Does

  • Building relationships with families so that children feel safe, secure, and comfortable with early childhood staff ›
  • Getting to know each child ›
  • Being warm and responsive with children ›
  • Arranging developmentally appropriate experiences that promote social and emotional development (e.g., helping toddlers to begin taking turns and sharing) ›
  • Having conversations and storytelling with children about emotions and social situations
  • Talking with children about events, their feelings and the feelings of others and how they relate to behaviours

What Families Can Do

  • Being affectionate and warm
  • Providing security for children by being consistent and predictable
  • Having frequent face-to-face interactions, including making eye contact, smiling and laughing together
  • Responding to your child’s signals and preferences (e.g., knowing when to stop playing when your baby turns away signalling they have had enough for now)
  • Talking with children about what is happening and what will happen next
  • Being comforting and helping children to manage their feelings
  • Encouraging children to explore, play and try new things
  • Using social and emotional skills yourself and showing children how they work (e.g., by talking with children about your own mistakes, saying sorry and trying to make things better for the child you show them that these are a part of life and can be learning opportunities for everyone)
  • Describing and labelling emotions (e.g., ‘I enjoyed doing the puzzle together with you. It was fun!’ or ‘Are you feeling sad today because your friend is not here?’)
  • Storytelling, playing games, singing, dancing, and imaginary play
  • Supporting children to make choices and solve problems as appropriate for their developmental level (e.g., ‘Do you want to wear your red dress or your blue dress?’)
  • Providing opportunities for interactions with others (e.g., going to play groups with other children, inviting a child to your home for a play, going to the park where there are other children playing)

 

Gympie, childcare, early childhood, daycare, child care

Benefits of Music for Pre-Schoolers

Benefits of Music for Pre-Schoolers

“Good morning to you, good morning to you…” It’s Tuesday morning at Parkside Early Learning Centre and a group of bright-faced children sit mesmerised as Miss Carolin sings the welcome song in their music class. We all know that music can soothe a child. But music also enhances intelligence, coordination, emotional expression, creativity, and socialisation skills.

There’s no guarantee your child will be composing symphonies by age 6 but music is almost a developmental necessity in early childhood.

                                               

Music Enhances Intelligence

At birth, a child’s brain is in an unfinished state. Music can play a critical role in the process of “wiring” a young child’s brain. With older children, music can create a good study environment and help a child learn information more efficiently. But it’s not simply a matter of playing music in the background to make children smarter. In fact active participation of children and their caregivers, especially when children are young, is very important. In other words, warm up those vocal chords and start crooning! Music combined with movement further improves brain development as it creates new brain connections and crosses the midline of the body which is known to create bilateral integration skills.

With young children, singing, chanting and rhythmic play can increase your child’s vocabulary. Parkside encourages parents to make up songs about everyday activities like nappy changes and baths, turning a boring chore into a fun “sound break.” As a child gets older, encourage her to invent her own songs.

If you can’t carry a tune in a basket, don’t despair. If you don’t think you’re a good singer, sing louder!

 

Music Helps Motor Development and Coordination

In young children, music helps pattern the movement of the body. The ear’s primary function is coordination and balance within the body. And when we pace things with a musical beat, we are more coordinated.

Unfortunately, with more children spending time in front of television or computer screens, motor skills may not keep up with cognitive development. In fact, many children today are unable to keep a steady beat. These kids may be less likely to be successful on sports teams.

We recommend bouncing, swaying, clapping, and dancing with your child from a very early age. Make a habit of creating musical moments, moving joyfully to your own drumming and chants, and playing active games with your child whenever you catch him on his feet. Let him experiment with objects that make sound – rattles, drums, spoons that can be banged against pans. (Earplugs optional.)

 

Music Increases Emotional Awareness

Everyone has experienced the emotional surge triggered by a meaningful song. Music can give children a place for their emotions. When there is fear, music can be soothing. When there is tension or stress, music can calm a child. And as a child learns to play an instrument, music becomes a powerful vehicle for self-expression.

 

Music Strengthens Social Skills

The key skill in interacting well with others is listening. By making your child aware of the relation between sound and emotion in music, he can begin to also discern others’ emotional state from their speech.

All children can benefit from group musical experiences to increase confidence and self-esteem as well as enjoy a sense of community.

 

Music Aids in Relaxation and Stress Reduction

In stressful situations, such as a hospital stay or school-related anxiety, music has been shown to decrease heart rate, breathing, and lower stress hormones. Stress obstructs learning. By playing 10 minutes of classical music, parents and teachers can help children clear their minds for productive learning and studying.

 

Music Enhances Creativity

Music lends itself to many creative activities. Stimulate creative thought in young children by singing a familiar song and leaving out the last word of each line. Your child will delight in inventing a new ending. Twinkle, twinkle little… tomato?

With older children, select a favourite piece and discuss what pictures, colours, or stories the music brings to mind for each of you. Then play the selection again, encouraging your child to act out these images with his body.

 

Nurturing Your Budding Musician

We recommend that all children should be actively involved with music. Learning an instrument or singing in a group has been linked in many studies with improved spatial coordination, creativity, math skills, and even ability to learn a foreign language.

Musical involvement may not be playing the piano or violin for every child. It may be experimentation with movement. It may be simple percussion instruments. It may be learning to sing. Up to age 5, Parkside recommends group music classes such as mainly music, which take place all over the country or our very own sessions on a Tuesday. The intent of this is not to make children symphony performers. It is to train the ear, eye and hand to coordinate.

At Parkside we hope the future generations can enjoy not only the educational benefits but also the exhilaration that comes from listening to and creating music.

Music is a wonderful mind weaver, and we have many opportunities in the early years to help orchestrate and harmonize the brains of our children with quality experiences.

Children Learning Styles in Child Care

Children Learning Styles in Child Care

When I was a child and going through the school system in New Zealand it wasn’t a great experience. Like many children going through the school system I found the learning aspect very difficult and couldn’t quite seem to keep up with the other children in my class. That was with everything except maths. I never knew anything at this stage about the different ways to learn.

As I went through my schooling years in primary school and then into high school my results were very much below average and found myself not being able to go to university as an option because my grades were so bad. I grew up thinking I was stupid with very little prospects because of my academic results.

Skip forward into my early thirties where I got my second wind of learning. I studied towards a management diploma and I remember the light bub moment when we did the communications module and heard for the first time about a concept of learning styles.

I can’t remember her name but the trainer had taken one of those microfiber cloths as wiped the mist of confusion from my eyes and I could see and understand for the first time.

She spoke of the different learning styles people have and how each person is individual in how they learn. She even had a test that we all did to work out our dominant learning styles.

You remember those tests when in school where the teacher reads a story and then you have to answer questions based on what she said. I would fail these miserably. I find out after the learning styles test that I am very low at learning aurally or listening . I tried at another stage of life to learn German via audio tapes. Another big mistake. What I did learn was my dominant learning style which was kinesthetic (look that one up) and secondly was visual. That means that for me to learn I need to be doing the task or I need to draw a picture to help me learn and understand something.

Times have not changed too much. Sadly I spoke to a childcare educator just last week who was responsible for teaching Kindergarten children and they have never heard of anything call learning styles.

There are currently seven “Learning Styles“:

  • Visual (spatial): You prefer using pictures, images, and spatial understanding.
  • Aural (auditory-musical): You prefer using sound and music.
  • Verbal (linguistic): You prefer using words, both in speech and writing.
  • Physical (kinesthetic): You prefer using your body, hands and sense of touch.
  • Logical (mathematical): You prefer using logic, reasoning and systems.
  • Social (interpersonal): You prefer to learn in groups or with other people.
  • Solitary (intrapersonal): You prefer to work alone and use self-study.

Children will most likely not possess one style exclusively but you may be able to see patterns in their learning preferences. For example, a child who is visual may also be a very social and verbal learner and prefers to learn especially difficult topics using their primary skills.

Understanding how children learns is perhaps one of the most important tasks a parent can undergo. Another is learning how to provide opportunities for learning through the use of these identified learning preferences.

Teachers often use their preferred learning style as their main mode of teaching and if students do not share those same preferences then learning can be very difficult and frustrating.

As an Early Childhood Education it was important for me to understand those differences in order to maximize my students’ learning potential. It is just as important for all parents and teachers to do the same. Watch your children. Listen to what they want and their interests. Compare the differences between how they learn Aurally and Visually as well as the other styles outlined above. Compare how they interact with others while learning in a group or by themselves. Each observation will bring you closer to understanding their special gifts and will reveal to you more effective ways to teach them using their preferred learning styles.

No child is exclusively one style or another and most utilise a variety of modalities when learning. It is important to expand their abilities to use as many learning styles as possible, helping them to succeed in a world where how one learns often means nothing and only the ability to learn has value.

If you do find your child struggling to learn check out their learning styles.

This is a great reference for further investigation: Learning Style Tests and

 

Child Care Early Learning Gympie