Blog : Early Learning

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, 

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!

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

Astronomy For Pre-school Children – Twinkle, twinkle little star…

Astronomy For Pre-school Children – Twinkle, twinkle little star…

Twinkle, twinkle little star…

It is winter time and with the cooler weather comes clear skies and early darkness. A great time to get outside and do some stargazing. It is a wonderful way to spend time with your children – and a great way to turn that time into something educational. Astronomy is more than just gazing at stars – it teaches children about the universe, provides them with what can be a lifelong hobby or even a career later in life.

Choose Day Care

Astronomy is more than just grabbing a set of binoculars or a telescope and looking into the night’s sky. To get a true appreciation of the wonderment the constellations can bring, spend an evening with your children looking at the sky the way it was meant to be seen – with the naked eye. This allows your child to really get an idea of just how enormous the sky is and the beauty it contains, without the restriction of a telescope lens.

Start by teaching your children to look at and understand the phases of the moon and the bigger, easy-to-see constellations like the Southern Cross. You’ll be surprised how excited your children will be when they can recognize a constellation and can point out at to you.

While Andrew and I were traveling in our caravan with our children we really got into stargazing. We purchased a simple star chart to find the different constellations- these days you could simple get an app to help you and be super accurate pointing it at the sky. This presents a new opportunity for you to learn right along with your children. You could also go to the library to learn more or use websites that can turn your computer into a mini planetarium.

In the past at Parkside Early Learning Centre we had children interested in the different planets and we used this awesome solar system song of all the planets:

Perhaps the biggest attraction to astronomy is that you are only limited by your own imagination. When you and your children have grasped the basics of stargazing, you can literally spend hours discovering all that the universe has to offer.

There is more to the sky than twinkles and stars. Start gazing and discover together!!!

 

Astronomy, Child Care, Early Learning, Pre-prep, Kindy, Kindergarten, Pre-school, Best, 

Questions about death from children

Questions about death from children

Answering The Difficult Questions

Sometimes difficult questions can take parents by surprise. Unfortunately, the school community of my children is currently going through a difficult time as a mother we all knew just passed away. In our own shock of this sudden death we have to quickly learn how to delicately deal with the challenging questions that may come out of the mouths of our children. The hardest may be the “Why?” questions and the “What if’s…?”

It can be good to plan in advance on how and what to talk to your children about when they ask about death. It is critical not to avoid or try to brush off the questions as that will only cause more confusion and perhaps even fear if children pick up your discomfort on the subject. Having a good heart to heart from time to time ensures children see us as approachable and it avoids them getting their ‘facts’ in the playground. When Parkside Early Learning Centre’s guinea pig died after last Christmas children had various ideas of what happens when you are dead: you are just dead, you sleep for a long time, you turn into an angel etc.

Compassionate

Here are some tips on how to approach this subject:

Stay Child Centred

It is very important to discuss death and dying at the child’s level of understanding. Talking in abstract terms or using common phrases about death to kids will only cause confusion. You certainly can talk about spiritual or religious beliefs about the death and dying with your children but keep them at an age appropriate level.

Be careful not to use terms like “sleeping” or “passed on” or “lost” but rather be compassionate and honest. Children need a clear description that makes sense to them. Even younger children can understand that a body can stop working when a person is in an accident or is elderly. Often this type of honest, clear and simple explanation is enough for a youngster.

Talk About Real World Examples

It is important, especially with younger children, to stay to simple examples and not to try to include too many concepts at one time. It is important for children to understand that death is a normal part of life without stressing the mortality of the child or of you as the parent. It is also important to remember that younger children, especially those under the age of 10, may see death as reversible.

Kids may ask about a pet, family member or loved one’s death repeatedly. Be patient and provide a consistent answer that provides the information the child is seeking. Talking to a counselor or reading a book about death that is at an age appropriate level can help a parent start the conversation and allow children to ask the questions they may be worrying about.

guiltymum

Death in a family can be so difficult. If there has been a death in the family please talk to the educator of your daycare centre so they can support your child and family in this time. Give your child an extra tight hug tonight – you never know what is around the corner.

For more support check out the Beyond Blue.

 

Child Care, Gympie, Best, Kindergarten, Pre-prep, Pre-school, Nursery, Kindy, Childcare, Daycare

Child Care Aged Children Learning Organisational Skills

Child Care Aged Children Learning Organisational Skills

Learning Organisation Skills at Childcare

Daily routines at home can be a challenge, especially if you have younger children who have a way of losing or misplacing things on a regular basis. Or maybe IT IS the washing machine that loses the socks!

Young children love helping and imitating what adults do. Let’s use this early enthusiasm and channel it to teach them about an organized life. Maria Montessori, a famous educator and theorist, was a great believer in teaching children life skills. We involve the Parkside children in many daily chores and they love helping out.

Here are some great tips that we have collected at Parkside Early Learning on how to keep your children, especially young ones organised:

  1. Organise children’s belongings in an easy to understand way – a separate shelf or container for each item. This works especially well for clothing items! Involve young learners in sorting the washing. Make it a fund game while you teach them early…sorting is an important mathematical concept to learn after all!
  2. Involve young children in daily chores: They love helping you at this age and being near you. At Parkside Early Learning we involve children in daily chores like gardening, tidying their bedding away or cleaning up the lunch table. They know where their left-over food goes, place dirty dishes in the cleaning tub and where to grab their own water from.Food Kids Blog
  3. Make a picture shopping list. Pre-schoolers love to go shopping and to avoid any dramas at the supermarket give them a task! A picture based shopping list will focus their energy and concentration. Get them involved in what you need to buy beforehand – that way they can learn the difference between needs and wants!
  4. For school aged children, have a designated work space for homework, projects, etc. Pick a room or a part of a room that your child can keep all of his or her supplies for homework, arts and crafts, reading. Use bins to keep supplies neat and in one place. Be sure you have enough room, if possible, to keep their books and try using a basket to keep papers that your child may need for school, studying for tests, etc.
  5. When you buy school supplies at the beginning of the year, colour code each subject – Math is blue, English is green, etc., and use the same colour for each subject throughout the year. This will make it easy for you to child to quickly grab what they’re looking for without having to rifle through every folder or notebook.
  6. Create a cubby hole at or near your front door to keep your child’s backpack, hats, water bottle, sun screen, shoes – anything they need to grab quickly if the morning before leaving. Teach your child to put whatever they need for the next day in the cubby each night before they go to bed.
  7. Use a calendar. For your older children you can provide them with a calendar or appointment book. With your younger children, create a weekly or monthly calendar and use bright colours and pictures to help remind them of important days like soccer days, your workdays or their day care days.water-garden
  8. Lead by example. If you want your children to be organized, keep yourself organized. They are more likely to follow by example. Make to-do lists, turn the television off at the same time every day/evening, pay bills on a regular schedule – anything that requires a routine. Let your children see you follow an organized routine and they will do the same.

Finally, don’t get too stressed if you are not leading the perfectly organized life!

Life with children will never be pristine…unless you have a nanny, cleaner, cook, gardener, laundry maid, personal shopper, handy man! 😊

 

Self help, Kindy, Kindergarten, Early Learning, Gympie, Day Care, Childcare, Child Care

Baby Safety Tips for the Home

Baby Safety Tips for the Home

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

Baby, safety, childcare, Gympie, best, day care, nursery

How to Find the Right Bike for Your Child

How to Find the Right Bike for Your Child

With bicycling being one of the most popular outdoor activities in Australia, it only makes sense that sometime in the possibly not-so-distant future you will be looking for a new bike for your child.

When you first start looking, the massive wall of bikes at your bike shop or retailer can be overwhelming to say the least. There are a lot of options to choose from and it may be difficult to know which one is right for your child if you aren’t sure what to look for.

 

The most important thing and first decision to be made is about the size of the bike. Bikes for children are measured by the wheel’s diameter and can be from twelve to 24 inches. The size you’ll need depends on your child’s age and either his or her height or leg length. An easy example – a two-year-old will likely start on a 12-inch bike.

 

To make sure the bike has a proper fit with your child, have he or she sit on the bike with hands on the handlebars. A bike that is a good fit will allow your child to sit comfortably on the bike with both feet on the ground.

 

Safety is also very important and no bike purchase is complete without a helmet. By purchasing a helmet with your child’s first bike, you are setting them on a course of good, solid habits early on, not to mention Australia require helmets for any bike riders. Helmets can come in all shapes and sizes so be sure to pick one that fits properly: it should be tight against the back of your child’s head while the front is parallel with the eyes.  The helmet should also sit two fingers’ width above your child’s eyebrows.

You may also want to consider bells or horns for your child’s bike as a further added safety precaution. It never hurts to have your child get in the habit of alerting people that a little one is scooting by.

 

Bike safety, Kindergarten, Kindy, Safety, preschool, pre-prep, child care, childcare, daycare, early learning centre, best, Gympie

Helping Childcare Aged Children Notice Oncoming Traffic

Helping Childcare Aged Children Notice Oncoming Traffic

Young children are more at risk of being hit by oncoming cars when crossing the street than those children who are slightly older.

Young children aren’t developed enough to be able to read and comprehend the noises and sights associated with oncoming traffic, thus putting them at higher risk than their older counterparts. The University of Idaho conducted a study to compare traffic detection skills in both adults and children.  Here is what the study discovered:

“These participants were asked to listen on headphones to 24 recordings of a car approaching at 10, 20 and 40 kilometres per hour, from both directions, and pressed a computer key when they detected the vehicle, identified its direction and thought it had arrived at their location. The computer was programmed to calculate distances in relation to key presses.

Adults detected the car significantly earlier than children, though older children heard the car before younger children. Adults detected the vehicle traveling at 10 kilometres per hour at a distance of about 16 meters, compared with 11 meters for younger children and 14 meters for older children. On average, the vehicle was significantly closer to children than adults when it was detected.

The vehicle traveling at 40 kmph, when engine and tire noises are loudest, was detected significantly earlier than at other speeds. But researchers noted faster-moving vehicles would close in on a pedestrian more quickly and have greater potential to cause a fatal injury. Older children were better than younger children at determining when a vehicle had arrived at their location.”

As parents, we must take the time to teach our children what to watch for before turning them loose to handle situations like this on their own. Let’s help prevent them from being another statistic.

 

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

Answering The Difficult Questions for Childcare Aged Children

Answering The Difficult Questions for Childcare Aged Children

I had my son recently ask me “Dad when we die will we see each other and will we look like we do now?” Sometimes difficult questions can take parents by surprise. It can be good to plan in advance on how and what to talk to your children about when they ask about death. It is critical not to avoid or try to brush off the questions as that will only cause more confusion and perhaps even fear if children pick up your discomfort on the subject.

 

Stay Child Centred

It is very important to discuss death and dying at the child’s level of understanding. Taking in abstract terms or using common phrases about death to kids will only cause confusion. You certainly can talk about spiritual or religious beliefs about the death and dying with your children but keep them at an age appropriate level.

 

Be careful not to use terms like “sleeping” or “passed on” or “lost” but rather be compassionate and honest. Children need a clear description that makes sense to them. Even younger children can understand that a body can stop working when a person is in an accident or is elderly. Often this type of honest, clear and simple explanation is enough for a youngster.

 

Talk About Real World Examples

It is important, especially with younger children, to stay to simple examples and not to try to include too many concepts at one time. It is important for children to understand that death is a normal part of life without stressing the mortality of the child or of you as the parent. It is also important to remember that younger children, especially those under the age of 10, may see death as reversible.

 

Kids may ask about a pet, family member or loved one’s death repeatedly. Be patient and provide a consistent answer that provides the information the child is seeking. Talking to a counsellor or reading a book about death that is at an age appropriate level can help a parent start the conversation and allow children to ask the questions they may be worrying about.

 

Kindergarten, Childcare, Child Care, Pre-prep, preschool, difficult, conversations, best, Gympie, daycare, Kindy, Early Learning Centre