Blog : Safe Children

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!

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 

Coping with Separation Anxiety in Child Care

Coping with Separation Anxiety in Child Care

Coping With Separation Anxiety

As it starts into the new enrollment year at Parkside Early Learning Centre separation anxiety is very common. Parkside works very closely with the families to ensure a smooth and successful transition for all our new families. Here are a few other tools and techniques to assist parents with dealing with separation anxiety.

A child starting in child care is a major life transition for both young children and their families. Any change,even when it is a positive change can be stressful. For many children this can be the first time a child is away from the secure and loving arms of their family. Parents and children may experience anxiety about starting a child care experience. Parents want to know that their child will be in a loving and safe environment when the child is not in their direct care. It is very normal for parents to feel guilty about placing the child in a daycare program, thus making the departure more difficult. Little children have been developing a attachment to their parents and are often secure in their daily home life and routine. There are definitely things that parents and child care centre can do to alleviate separation anxiety.

I remember with my own son when he went into child care for the first time. He would cry to begin with and I would want to go back just for one last cuddle but that would prove to be the wrong choice. Sure enough once we were down the road the crying stopped as soon as it begun. Soon he couldn’t wait to get to his centre each day to have fun with his friends and teachers.

For Parents Coping with Separation Anxiety

  • Recognise your own feelings – Your child is sensitive to your emotional state and attitudes. If you are apprehensive about the childcare program or how your child will adjust, you may unwillingly convey this to your child. If is important that you have taken great care in choosing a childcare alternative that you are personally comfortable with. Also be sure to always talk to the child about daycare as a positive and exciting thing. Avoid apologising to the child about enrolling them in to child care.
  • Recognise your child’s temperament – You know your child better than anyone else. Let your knowledge about your child’s personality and temperament guide how you approach this new transition. If your child is naturally somewhat shy and slow to warm up, then you will know that you may need to take extra time in introducing your child to a new environment and new people.
  • Prepare your child in advance – Your child will have less anxiety if they know what to expect and are familiar with the program and caregivers. Bring the child along when you tour a program or meet a family daycare provider. Try to visit at least once where you can remain with the child as they explore the new surroundings. There are some super children’s books about starting daycare that address what daycare is like. Often these books show another child overcoming separation anxiety in a positive way.
  • Make the first day a first week – One of the most successful strategies for alleviating separation anxiety is to make the break slowly. If at possible, start your child’s daycare experience slowly. Maybe only an hour the first day, two hours the next, until the child is comfortable remaining in care the full day.
  • Reinforce a sense of trust with your child – Young children’s separation anxiety is often closely tied to fears of abandonment. It is important that they will know that you will be returning for them at a designated time. With an older child you can even point out on the clock when you will return or give them a concrete milestone such as, “I will be back for you right after lunch time”. It may also be helpful to discuss with your child where you will be and what you will be doing during the time of separation. In any case remind your child that you will indeed return.
  • Leave something behind – Sometimes called transitional objects; blankies, teddys and other objects of comfort can help a child feel secure. Many parents find that an object that helps the child remember the parent is of great benefit. These “remembrance” objects may include photos or an object of the parents clothing.
  • Communicate with the caregiver – They are your greatest ally in making the separation a smooth and calm experience. Be sure to let them know if you have any specific concerns and needs. Don’t be afraid to specifically request their assistance or guidance. Some caregivers will stand back until you directly say,”I am leaving now and I need you to hold Todd.”
  • Say Good-bye – You may wish to warn that child that you will be leaving in five minutes, or that after the story you will be going to work. When it is time to go, say good-bye and go. Continued extensions to the separation seem to only add to anxiety and make the separation more difficult. It is never suggested to “sneak” out. Regardless of how upset the child is, sneaking out only adds to their anxiety, increases fear of abandonment, and breaks down the child’s sense of trust.

Remember overcoming separation anxiety and adjusting to childcare, like any major life change is a gradual process. Soon daycare will become a positive and exciting part of your child’s daily routine. You and your child will be in the best of hands at Parkside to ensure a smooth beginning to their life of learning.

 

Child Care, Early Learning, Day Care, Gympie, Kindergarten, Kindy, Child

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

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.

am-i-a-bad-parent-article2

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

 

 

Children Prepared Better For School With The ‘School Ready’ Program

Children Prepared Better For School With The ‘School Ready’ Program

Local schools tell us that many children that attend pre-school education in Gympie are not fully prepared to make a successful transition into primary school. Up to 60% of children attending some schools attend no pre-school education at all. This can lead to children being left behind, lacking in confidence and frustration for the affected children and families.

As a parent you want the best for your children. When your little ones grow up and take their first steps into the big world of primary school we want it to be an enjoyable and successful experience. Sadly that is not the case for many children.

When I was a child, which was many years ago I was fortunate enough to attend a pre-school program. I got to develop friendships with others in my class and then transition with some of those friends into primary school. My own personal transition was smooth in some areas and quite difficult and overwhelming in others. Thankfully I learned from this and my own children’s transition was much smoother and successful.

To fulfill this need Parkside Early Learning Centre has developed the ‘School Ready‘ program. The ‘School Ready’ program has been designed to 1, attract more children into pre-school education and 2, prepare those children better to make a successful transition into school and give them an advantage in the classroom.

The key to our ‘School Ready’ program is individually developed Learning Paths. Every child is unique. Their Learning Path must also be unique and specifically developed for each individual child. The Learning Path starts when they begin at Parkside (at all ages) and then goes through all their pre-school education through to a smooth transition into primary school.

There are generally 3 reasons why children do not enter pre-school education.

  1. Accessibility. In many regional or remote areas there is simply no pre-school options available for them.
  2. Value. Some families simply don’t see the value in child care. “Why should I send my children into child care when I can do that just as good if not better at home?”
  3. Cost. The cost of child care can be the blocker to stop families putting their children into care.

Value:

When I grew up in a small town in New Zealand there wasn’t a lot of extra money at the end of each week so we really got to appreciate when we did receive things. It made us always try to get the best value for money on purchases and try to save money where we could. Like many other parents we need to be sure we are getting good value out of any service we pay for.

At Parkside we want our families to see the value we offer their children and families. By having children enroll and go through our unique “School Ready” program you can relax and know that your children will be the best prepared they can possibly be for school.

Parents can feel good knowing that they are giving their children the best start in life by attending the Parkside ‘School Ready’ program.

Don’t wait. Call now to find out more. 07 5482 7738

(Parkside Early Learning Centre is a small owner operated Child Care Centre and Kindergarten established in 2015 located in central Gympie)

Providing Opportunities for Risk-Taking in Child Care

Providing Opportunities for Risk-Taking in Child Care

The Importance of Risk Taking:

When was the last time you took a risk? How did you feel? When children including in child care take risks and succeed, they feel proud and self-confident. When things don’t go as planned, they feel frustrated, learn that things don’t always happen as predicted, and maybe even decide to try it again.

Risk is a vital component of children’s play but is balanced in the Day Care environment. It allows children to be challenged, to face uncertainty, to problem-solve, to work with others to find a solution, and to think outside the box. All of these qualities serve to expand children’s cognitive, physical, and social-emotional abilities. They become the building blocks for later learning and managing of experiences, both throughout school and as an adult.

Allowing children to take risks in early child hood development gives them the opportunity to develop the use of their judgment. When a child starts to climb the side of the play structure, our first instinct might be to say, “Don’t go up that high.” In taking away the experience from the child, however, he never learns what might be unsafe about climbing. He also never learns to balance his feet, grip tightly, and steady himself if he slips. He definitely doesn’t get the opportunity to figure out how to climb down after going up. He may later find himself in a situation—perhaps his friends are climbing a tree in the neighborhood, out of view of an adult’s eye—in which he doesn’t feel comfortable participating because he never learned to climb. Or maybe he does climb and falls because he never learned how to do it!

Risk-taking can also occur in activities that are less gross motor-centered. For children younger than Kindergarten age a child can take a risk and explore gooey sensory materials. Perhaps a child who has never wanted to get her feet wet finally does, shoes and all. Risks can happen when exploring real tools, such as scissors or a mallet, that are a bit beyond the child’s developmental level. When the child decides to give it a try, even when the adults present don’t think he has the capability to do it, he is taking a risk.

When we support children in taking risks, we give them the chance to learn something new about themselves, their physical abilities, and their thought processes. Always make sure your children are safe and secure and still have the opportunity to develop and grown their abilities.

Parkside Early Learning Centre – Child Care Centre Gympie

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

How does Child Care Benefit and Child Care Rebate work?

Child Care Benefit and Child Care Rebate

The Australian Government provides families with two types of financial assistance to help cover the costs of approved child care – the Child Care Benefit and the Child Care Rebate. It is important to remember that while Child Care Benefit is based on family income, the Child Care Rebate is not income tested.

Child Care Benefit

The Child Care Benefit is income tested and is usually paid directly to approved Child Care Services to reduce the fees that eligible families pay.

You can apply for the Child Care Benefit online or in person through Centrelink. To apply online, visit the Department of Human Services website.

Eligibility for the Child Care Benefit

Your child must be attending approved child care or registered child care
You or your partner must meet the residency and child’s immunisation requirements*

You must be the person responsible for paying the child care fees

*On 12 April 2015, the Prime Minister, the Hon Tony Abbott MP and the Minister for Social Services, the Hon Scott Morrison MP, jointly announced that the Australian Government is reinforcing the importance of immunisation and protecting public health by strengthening the immunisation requirements for children. Under the No Jab No Pay legislation, from 1 January 2016, parents must ensure their children meet the immunisation requirements which now apply for all children up to the age of 19, in order to be eligible for Child Care Benefit, including for Registered Care. The changes means that a child must be fully immunised, or on a catch-up schedule or have a valid exemption in order to receive these payments.

Conscientious objection is no longer an exemption category, however it is important to note that children with a recognised medical exemption (verified by a General Practitioner) such as medical contraindication, natural immunity or participation in a recognised vaccine study will continue to be exempt from the requirements.

Child Care Rebate

An additional payment to the Child Care Benefit is the Child Care Rebate. The Rebate helps families cover the out-of-pocket costs of child care and it is not income tested. Even if your family income is too high for you to receive the Child Care Benefit, you may be eligible for the Child Care Rebate. It covers up to 50 per cent of out-of-pocket costs, up to $7,500 per child, per year.

You may choose to receive the Child Care Rebate paid fortnightly, either directly to your bank account, or through your child care service provider as a fee reduction. You still have the option of having your Child Care Rebate paid quarterly or annually as a lump sum directly to your bank account.

If you currently receive Child Care Rebate and would like to receive fortnightly payments for the next financial year, you will need to make this change with the Department of Human Services.

Out-of-pocket child care costs are calculated after deducting any Child Care Benefit payments that are received.

Eligibility for the Child Care Rebate

  • You and your partner (if applicable) must have had work, training, study related commitments (or have an exemption) at some time during the week care is provided.
  • You must be using approved childcare.
  • You or your partner must be an Australian citizen, a permanent resident living in Australia or be exempted from the Australian Government’s residency requirements.
  • Children under seven years of age must meet the Australian Government’s immunisation requirements or have an exemption*.
  • You must be the one responsible for your child care costs. If your employer contributes to your child care through salary sacrificing or packaging, you should discuss with them who is responsible for the cost.

*On 12 April 2015, the Prime Minister, the Hon Tony Abbott MP and the Minister for Social Services, the Hon Scott Morrison MP, jointly announced that the Australian Government is reinforcing the importance of immunisation and protecting public health by strengthening the immunisation requirements for children. Under the No Jab No Pay legislation, from 1 January 2016, parents must ensure their children meet the immunisation requirements which now apply for all children up to the age of 19, in order to be eligible for Child Care Benefit, including for Registered Care. The changes means that a child must be fully immunised, or on a catch-up schedule or have a valid exemption in order to receive these payments.

Conscientious objection is no longer an exemption category, however it is important to note that children with a recognised medical exemption (verified by a General Practitioner) such as medical contraindication, natural immunity or participation in a recognised vaccine study will continue to be exempt from the requirements.

How to claim the Child Care Rebate?

  • You will need to apply for the Child Care Benefit first. There is no separate claim form for the Child Care Rebate. You can apply for the Child Care Benefit in person or online. For online applications visit the Department of Human Services
  • You will automatically be assessed and paid if you are eligible when you apply for the Child Care Benefit (even if you are assessed at a zero rate for the Child Care Benefit due to your family’s income)
  • If you are eligible to receive the Rebate, it will be paid once Centrelink has received child care attendance details from your child care service/s

If you would like to know more speak to one of our friendly team members at Parkside Early Learning Centre or contact the Department of Human Services.

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

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