Blog : Healthl Babies

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.”


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

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

Teaching Children About Dental Health in Child Care in Gympie

Teaching Children About Dental Health in Child Care in Gympie

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


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

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


Dentist, Healthcare, Childcare, Child Care, Daycare, Early Learning Centre, Nursery, Gympie, Best, Kindy, Kindergarten

How to Deal with Picky Eaters in Childcare and Gympie

How to Deal with Picky Eaters in Childcare and Gympie

One of the most common struggles parents have is dealing with picky eaters. This is one of the reasons we offer all meals at Parkside Early Learning Centre that are healthy, taste great vary from day to day. Does any of this sound familiar to you?


  • Your toddler takes a few bites of food and announces he’s “done”
  • You can stock your fridge and shelves full but your little one will only eat the same 5 things over and over.
  • Your child asks for one thing, you make it, then she asks for something else then decides she wants something completely different altogether.
  • Coaxing your children to just take “one more bite” is a constant battle in your home

First things first – meal times are supposed to be relaxing and enjoyable so you want to avoid these battles every time you sit down at the table. Toddlers between the ages of 1 and 3 typically have smaller appetites, so if they only eat a little at a time, that’s ok. However, also realize that their appetites can change on a daily basis and even from meal to meal. If they like carrots, don’t be afraid to throw some in at breakfast. Do they prefer eggs? Who says you can’t have eggs for dinner?


Dinner time is typically going to be the meal that your child feels like eating the least. It’s the end of the day and they are tired and unless they have been doing a physical activity like swimming or playing outside or at daycare, chances are they aren’t going to be as hungry as they are at other times of the day.


If you are dealing with older children who are picky eaters, you may be able to reason more with them and enforce the “one bite rule“ meaning they have to take at least one bite of every food on their plate and if they don’t like it, they don’t have to eat it again.

Here are just a few ideas for dealing with picky eaters:


  • Don’t nag or coax smaller children. Pick and choose your battles – plain and simply put, your child WILL eat when he is hungry.
  • Have realistic portions: Many parents set unrealistic goals for their children when it comes to mealtime. A good rule of thumb to follow: If your child is under the age of 5-6, use a tablespoon per year of age. If they ask for more when they’ve finished that then you can always give more.
  • Keep trying to introduce new foods – even if they haven’t liked them before. Tastes change and you never know when you find something new they like.
  • Avoid too much milk, juice and soda in place of food. Many kids will fill up on sugary drinks and have no room for food.

Remember, pick your battles and don’t make meal time miserable for everyone!


Childcare, Early Learning, Eating, Gympie, Day Care, Kindy, Kindergarten, Pre-Prep, Pre-school, Best

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.
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
Parents Feeling Guilty About Putting Their Children into Child Care.

Parents Feeling Guilty About Putting Their Children into Child Care.

It is very wide spread for parents to feel guilty about putting their children into pre-school care. I had 3 parents in one day talk with me about this very feeling. This blog post centres around the discussions with those parents.

First of all I want to state that it is very common and absolutely normal for parents to feel guilty about sending their children into care. They do however not need to feel guilty and hopefully after reading this article parents will feel encouraged rather than discouraged about the education and care of their children. My own children Isabella (8) and Felix (5) go into after school care most days and I must admit I also get a tinge of guilt on the odd occasion too.

The pull on the heartstrings is difficult for a parent when considering for the first time to put their children into care. Back in the days when I was a kid the only real options were part time kindergarten for the year before school as Mums stayed home a bit more than the mums of today. The other option was staying home with mum.

These days the normal family dynamics and responsibilities are slightly different. Many families the single parent or both parents are working full time. Pre-school children are in care more. School aged children attend before and after school care also more regularly. The demand on parents is arguably more today than ever.

One parent I was talking with was considering putting their children into care but really felt they were giving over the parenting job to some stranger and was feeling like a failure as a parent. Her mother was also giving her a bit of a hard time on the matter too. “Back in my day we didn’t need child care” Sound familiar? This is very common experience with many parents.


Another parent in a similar situation did not really see the value of child care. Because they were being mum at home, and it was free why put their child into child care. She also had the same guilty feeling.

The 3rd parents I was speaking with was as slightly different story. We had there darling little daughter in our care for 4 days per week. Mum was thinking of reducing the days because she felt guilty about having her daughter in for so many days.

“Why should parents not feel guilty?” I here you ask.

The best way to look at child care and early learning development is that is not a replacement for what children can receive in that family unit at home but rather compliments the learning and development of all children.

The family is the first learning environment and mum and dad are the first teachers. The children learn about love, acceptance, family values and much more.

If you think of a child care centre or and early learning centre such as Parkside Early Learning Centre our primary purpose is to prepare children for a successful transition to school. The environment that we provide in an early learning centre you cannot reproduce at home nor in a small home based child care environment. As the children get older the classroom environments need to become closer to that of what the children will find in school. The ideal is to have the children in care for as much of the week as possible, with the same children over a long period of time.

Children are in school for 5 days per week so to enable a transition that is not overwhelming for the children it is advisable to have them attending a similar frequency.  They learn consistency, routine and know what to expect when they come in each day.

Kids playing in the room

Having the same children in their class helps them build long term relationships and helps them deal with the ups and downs of long term relationships. It develops their social skills which is one of the main areas where the children are behind where they should be when they start school.

Being in large groups similar to school is also important. Children are going to be presented with many situations and how to deal with them. How the children deal with these situations emotionally can be tested and developed more.

I know when my two children have a disagreement or are not behaving in a way that I would expect and I can tend to jump in too soon and solve the problem for them. This does nothing to aide in their development and takes away a great learning opportunities. I am doing it less now but are still guilty of jumping in too soon from time to time but I’m working on it.

One example I saw recently was when a child had a toy and then another child simply came over and took the toy away. The child was naturally upset and there were even a few tears. These types of situations you actually want to happen so the learning and the lessons can begin. The child who had the toy taken is learning to deal with their emotions and control them. With the help of a teacher they can assist the child regulate their emotions and instead of focusing on the loss of the toy we can focus on how we can solve the problem at hand in getting the toy back. Through the problem solving process the child learns the toy will come back. The child will be much better prepared when a similar situation happens again. There is also a great learning opportunity from the child who took the toy.

In larger groups there will be many of these experiences the children can learn from. When each situation occurs, with guidance and mentoring from a teacher, the child grows more and more mature. The child develops a resilience that will aide them greatly once they hit school to hand many difficult and emotional situations.

To have more discussions like this jump on to our facebook page and share some of your own experiences and thoughts.

Carolin and Andrew



Safe Sleeping for Babies in Child Care

Safe Sleeping for Babies in Child Care

As parents we are all concerned about the safety and well being of our children at home and in Early Learning Centres. Here are some important safety tips….

How to Sleep your Baby Safely:

1. Sleep baby on the back from birth, not on the tummy or side

2. Sleep baby with head and face uncovered

3. Keep baby smoke free before birth and after

4. Provide a safe sleeping environment night and day

5. Sleep baby in their own safe sleeping place in the same room as an adult caregiver for the first six to twelve months

6. Breastfeed baby

For more information and tips on child safety go to Sids and Kids.


Child Care Centre Gympie – Parkside Early Learning Centre

Healthy Eating for Children in Child Care

Healthy Eating for Children in Child Care

As a parent, the nutritional needs of your children are obviously a priority, and it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by the amount of differing information out there. Parkside Early Learning Centre have taken on providing free nutritious meals.

The food a child eats in their early years can influence their dietary habits later in life, so it’s important to instill good habits and a healthy relationship with food from an early age. Once your child is eating solid foods, you’re likely to find that some of the meals you so lovingly created are rejected. Don’t worry, this is perfectly normal, but it is wise to try to get into a good routine as soon as possible.

Ensure your child’s nutrient requirements are met by aiming for three meals a day, each containing something from each food group and up to two snacks. Get into the habit of trying different types of protein with each meal and couple of different vegetables.

Day Care Centres, Child Care Centres, Early Learning Centres should all monitor this closely.

Babies and milk

In the first six months, babies receive all their nutritional requirements from a milk-based diet. Infant formula is the only alternative to breastfeeding for feeding babies below six months of age.  Cow’s milk is not recommended as a main drink for infants under 12 months. However, from six months, children enter the stage of transitional feeding, and progress from a milk only diet towards a varied, balanced diet of complementary foods from four food groups. The food groups that make up this balanced diet are proteins, carbohydrates, fruits and vegetables and milk and dairy foods.

Why protein is important

Proteins are essential for a number of important functions including growth, brain development and healthy bones. Of the 22 amino acids – or building blocks that make proteins, children need to get 10  ‘essential amino acids’ from their food.

Fruit and vegetables

Aiming for five portions of fruit and vegetables is a good starting point for children. Easy tips for keeping on track could be as simple as keeping a bag of frozen vegetables in the freezer or chopping up a piece of fresh fruit for dessert.


Children need a source of carbohydrate in each meal. However, young children under 13 months may struggle to digest wholegrain varieties of carbohydrates, and too much fibre can compromise the absorption of important minerals such as calcium and iron.

Dairy and calcium

Children gain a lot of nourishment from dairy foods such as milk, yogurt and cheese. These foods can provide the body with easily absorbed calcium as well as vitamins A and B12, protein and other vitamins and minerals.

The right kind of fat

While children need some fat to grow and develop, too much of any sort of fat is not recommended. Butter, spreads and oils contribute to the taste, texture and enjoyment of the diet. They are important as concentrated sources of energy for young children who are growing rapidly.

Soft drinks, sweets, confectionery, biscuits, sugary pastries and desserts are high in added sugars and often poor quality fats and salt. Children under five should only eat these foods once in a while, ideally saved for special occasions. The over consumption of snack foods high in added sugar, fats and salt is recognised as one of the major contributing factors to high rates of obesity.

The best breakfast for your child

When buying processed cereals read the labels carefully as they are seldom as healthy as they seem. Many contain higher levels of sugar and salt than is recommended per serving. It’s best to choose an unsweetened, simple oat or bran based cereal and add fruit such as a chopped banana or handful of raisins to make it sweet and to add a nutritious-boost.

If you have time to make a more substantial breakfast, there are a lot of healthy benefits from including protein such as an egg, baked beans or natural yogurt. Proper snacks (not constant grazing) are important to keep your child’s appetite satisfied. The more you can help your child judge when they are hungry, the better able they will be to judge how much food they should be eating as they grow older. When children ask for food, check that they’re not actually thirsty as the two are sometimes confused.

Super snacks and smoothies

  • Dried fruit – such as figs and raisins are good snacks when children want a sweet treat.
  • Raw vegetables such as carrot, cucumber, celery, cherry tomatoes etc. Serve with a little pot of hummus, bean dip, guacamole, tzatiki of some soft cheese
  • Chunks of cheese with crackers
  • Wholemeal bread or rice cakes with wafer thin ham, cream cheese or nut butter
  • Homemade soup with fingers of toast

Smoothies and juices can be a great way to get children to take in a dose of vitamin C and folate – important vitamins for the immune system, energy production and preventing anaemia. The natural sugar in fruit (fructose) can be better for children (and their teeth) than sugar laden packaged/canned drinks. But this doesn’t mean that children can drink an unlimited about of these drinks. Some smoothies contain a lot of fructose and this can result in a ‘sugar high’ which can aggravate mood and energy levels. Water should be the main source of your child’s liquid intake and one small glass of fresh fruit juice per day is enough and you can always dilute fruit juice with a splash of water.

Child Care Centre Gympie – Parkside Early Learning Centre

The Must Ask Questions to Relieve Your Stress and Worry When Choosing a Child Care Centre

The Must Ask Questions to Relieve Your Stress and Worry When Choosing a Child Care Centre

Choosing the right type of child care is one of the most important decisions parents can make. A lot of time can be spent thinking about the type of care, will it suit my needs now and in the future, what is the best child care?

Determining the type of care your child needs. Consider their temperament, likes and dislikes, health, interests and behaviour, developmental play and learning styles, interaction with other children, and need for individualised attention should be considered.

What are the different types of services?

There are different types of services that are available as options. The most common is Long Day Care which includes Child Care Centres or Early Learning Centres and then a variety of others which you can find out further down the page.

Child Care Centre/Early Learning Centre:

Child care centres focus on the care of children in groups. These Centres have their benefits where the children have the opportunity to socially interact with children their own age plus sometimes children of other ages depending on the service. The curriculum should be play based with learning opportunities incorporated into daily activities.

Are there any differences between a child care centre and an early learning centre?

On the surface the answer is no. Child care has evolved from primarily caring for children or babysitting through to educating children in preparation for school and life in general. At Parkside ELC you will find the latter.

Kindergarten Program:

Many Long Day Care centres will also run the Queensland Approved Kindergarten Program. The Kindergarten Program is focused on preparing children with the transition from Child Care to School. It can be attended only by children who are pre-school age. Kindergarten programs have their own curriculum which is play based and must be delivered by a bachelor degree qualified teacher. If you have younger than preschool aged children think about enrolling in a child care centre that provides long day care and the Kindergarten Program. This will assist in the smooth transition with their peer group where they have existing relationships.

Family Day Care:

Family day care is child care but in somebodies home where they live. One family day care can normally not have any more than a maximum of 4 children including the carers own. The quality of the service can vary depending on a number of factors. The carer and the environment would be two of the biggest factors.

Aupair or Nanny:

A Nanny or Aupair will provide care in your home environment and could suit many families. With a Nanny you will have a lot more control over what is taught and the daily routines. A Nanny can be expensive and children could miss out on social interaction. An Aupair will expose your children to another culture. They are less expensive but the quality of care can be mixed. Aupairs are not normally child care experts and use this as a method to travel and experience other cultures.

What services are included?

This is a very important question. Some centres will only provide the basics. When researching and visiting centres be sure to find out what services are included and what are not and if they are included in the daily fees and what is charged as extra:

Some questions to ask:

  • What are the opening hours? Try to find a centre with the longest hours possible. You never know if you situation changes in future.
  • Are meals provided?
  • Is the Queensland Kindergarten Program run at the centre. A bachelor qualified teach must be onsite delivering the Kindy program.
  • Do they provide nappies and wipes?
  • What flexibility is there to meet a families changing demands?
  • Do they run out of school hours care? This may be important if you have school age children as well..
  • Is the centre part of a large chain or run hands on by the owner? Both can have their advantages.
  • What other services to they offer such as Bush Kindy, music programs, sport programs, second languages.

We’d recommend you have a list of important questions to ask the centre before speaking to them so you can tick off all the important factors.

How much will it cost?

When looking at the fees look into what is included and does it represent good value. A centre that has extremely cheap fees, is this representative of the quality of care provided? If a centre has the most expensive fees in town is it the best centre in town and what will they provide above all the other centres.

Two very important factors to find out are are

  1. What is included in the fees?

Find out all the services included in the fees. You may find a centre that has slightly higher fees may represent better value. If they include meals the hassle you may save might be worth the extra cost especially if the meals are of good quality. If you cannot transport your children a courtesy bus might be the most important factor

2. What do I actually pay?

The amount that you pay as a family is called the ‘gap’ fee. That is the different between the centres daily fee minus off what the government subsides. No matter what centre you attend the government subsidy should not change. Be sure to talk to Centrelink to understand what you are entitled to in regards of child subsidies as pass on this information to the centre.

Child Care Subsidy – Your child care subsidy is call CCS. Most families will receive some sort of subsidy but some families will not.

There are a number of other factors where you could get a reduction in fees from government subsidies. Be sure to discuss with Centrelink and your service.

In summary

The best piece of advice we can give is go with your child and visit a centre. You will quickly find out if it is the centre for you. Observe how your child responds in the centre. Are they comfortable? Do you connect with the owners/educators.

Call us at Parkside Early Learning Centre for a tour on 07 54827738.

We’d love to meet you and discuss your children’s education and care needs.


Carolin & Andrew Riley

childcare, child care, kindergarten, kindy, daycare, day care, nursery, preschool, gympie

What is the best child care centre in Gympie?

What is the best child care centre in Gympie?

We’d like to think we are one of the best and here are a few reasons why:

  • We are one of the longest established child care centres in Gympie.
  • We have been servicing our families for 21 years
  • We offer free nutricious meals
  • We really care! The owners Carolin and Andrew run the centre hands-on
  • We offer the Queensland Approved Kindergarten Program
  • We run a free courtesy bus
  • We listen. Our children and families come up with most of the ideas on how we can be better and serve our community with excellence
  • All of our staff are qualified  or studying towards a qualification and are passionate about early childhood development
  • We see ourselves as an extension of our families partnering with parents for best possible learning outcomes
  • We are set in the best location surrounded by park lands in central Gympie

Come and book a tour and see for yourself….