Blog : Happy Children

Halloween Safety for kids in Gympie

Halloween Safety for kids in Gympie

Halloween Safety for kids in Gympie

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

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

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


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

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

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

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


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

Happy trick or treating!

Best pets for childcare aged children

Best pets for childcare aged children

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

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

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

To have a pet or not?

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

Messy fun at childcare

Messy fun at childcare

Art that’s not messy…

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Yoga Instructor Paula at Parkside Early Learning Centre

Yoga Instructor Paula at Parkside Early Learning Centre

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

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

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

Learning table manners and skills

Learning table manners and skills

Dining Out With Children

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

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

cookingeating

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

  1. Lay the groundwork:

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

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

  1. Pick your time:

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

  1. Pick your place:

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

  1. Order carefully:

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

  1. The waiting game:

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

  1. Finally:

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

 

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

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

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

Getting Your Kids to Reach for the Stars

Getting Your Kids to Reach for the Stars

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

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

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

Child Astronaut

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

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

 

Childcare, Child Care, Early Learning Centre, Preschool, Kindy, Kindergarten, Nursery, Best, Gympie

A Good Nights Sleep for Children in Child Care

A Good Nights Sleep for Children in Child Care

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

 

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

 

Childcare, Kindergarten, Nursery, Kindy, Child Care, Daycare, Day Care, Gympie, Sleep, Best