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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!

Educators teach about conflict

Educators teach about conflict

Clashing with toddlers normal—and beneficial

Are you a mum or dad of a toddler? Do you feel like you’re in constant conflict with your toddler? If you answered yes, you’re in good company, say researchers from Lehigh University and University of California–Davis originally published in the journal Child Development:

The scientists recruited children and their mothers through birth announcements in local newspapers and then observed them when the children were between 30 and 36 months of age. They were watched in typical situations that might cause conflict, such as when mothers were instructed to keep their toddlers away from enticing toys or ask their children to put away toys they’d been playing with. Frequent conflict arose during such situations—an average of 20 times per hour! The number ranged from 4 to 55 times per hour throughout the study. Sounds exhausting!

Though exhausting for everyone, these types of conflicts can help children learn important emotional lessons in addition to social norms, experts say.

No one really likes conflict, especially when it is with a little toddler. We love them very much and don’t want to argue with them or withhold things from them.  But sometimes this is necessary for their benefit. These seem to be the very situations that make our toddler throw a tantrum, scream and shout or start getting aggressive towards us. Sometimes these situations last several minutes or even longer!

110524_XXF_worriedParent_0.jpg.CROP.original-original

However, those frustrating moments are important lessons for your child. Reality is we can not always have what we want and it may not feel pleasant when that happens. Through conflict children learn to respect other people’s needs and opinions. They learn that not every conflict has a win-win ending. In conflict situations children can learn to actively listen to others and learn to express their feelings.We need to teach our children how to deal with these situations.

Our educators at Parkside Early Learning Centre give these tips to avoid conflict or tantrums:

  • Positive attention. We try to catch the child being good and reward them with specific praise and attention for positive behaviour, e.g. “I like the way you just passed that toy over to Lucie!”
  • Give control. At our centre we give children choices with in save limits. Our environments are set up for children to choose what they want to play or do and access things themselves. These opportunities for choices help the child to feel in control at some time rather than feeling that their whole lives are pre-determined by adults.
  • Out of sight and out of reach. This avoids struggle and endless arguing. Simply remove the item of issue, e.g. Ipad or toy. Obviously, this isn’t always possible.
  • Young children have a shorter attention span which can be used to our advantage. Our educators often diffuse a situation by offering something else in place of what they can’t have. They may start a new activity to replace the one they can’t do or change location, leave the room together or go outside.
  • Teach self-help skills. Our educators help children learn to do things for themselves. We praise them to help them feel proud of what they can do. Self -help skills boost your child’s emotional stability and build more confidence.
  • Build language skills. Young children’s biggest issue is often that they can not express themselves properly due to limited language skills. We need to teach them and focus on the basics like expressing feelings or simple words like stop.Teacher Girl 2

At Parkside Early Learning Centre our educators know younger children find sharing, turn taking or giving up a toy challenging. When children react in a negative way they stay calm and respond in a reassuring way. The calm of your voice (fake it till you make it even when you are getting mad!) can diffuse the situation or at least make it a lot shorter and less stressful for all involved!

 

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Learning resilience at childcare

Learning resilience at childcare

Instilling Resiliency in your Children Even in the Face of Adversity

 

Children tend to be happy-go-lucky and typically un-phased by the drama the world can provide us adults on a regular basis. However, it doesn’t mean that they never experience stress or trauma. There are some children who are exposed to this on a regular basis in the form of natural disasters, neglect, abuse and even the death of their loved ones. Children often feed from the adults around them, so if a parent is expressing stress while going through a rough time, children might become anxious or hesitant. As parents and caregivers, we obviously try to keep them as safe as possible from unpleasant things, but the reality is we’re just not able to protect them from everything the world sends their way. When they experience something sad or negative, children tend to feel vulnerable, afraid, sad and lonely. So, what do we do to help prevent this or at the very least, minimize these feelings?

self-help (2)

Early childhood is the best time to begin to instil resiliency according to the experts – but how do you go about this? Most importantly, children who come from families who are supportive and caring tend to be more resilient when life throws them a curve. When they are surrounded by adults – both family members and early childhood educators – who are loving, caring and responsive to their needs they are much better equipped to adapt to adversity. This is why it is part of Parkside Early Learning Centre’s philosophy to build solid connections with the families of the children we care for and also work strongly together with the wider community.water-garden

Here are some practical ways to help your child develop resilience in the early years:

  • Allow children more and more independence as they grow older. It builds their confidence.
  • Encourage your child to share, take turns and serve others first. It teaches them patience.
  • Do not give your child everything they request. It helps them understand we can not have everything
  • Involve children when donating old toys or clothing to charity. It teaches them to look after others in times of need.
  • Teach your child that struggles are challenges we can learn from. See the good even in the bad.
  • Introduce your child to as many new experiences as possible as it teaches them to step outside their comfort zone.
  • Teach children to ask for help (but only if they are not being lazy). Use their lack of skill as a teachable moment.
  • Give them chores to do and make sure they get done even if they don’t feel like it. It teaches them responsibility.

 

When protective factors like a supportive family, adequate nutrition, and responsive and caring educators and caregivers are a regular presence in a child’s life, they become more adaptable and resilient beings. This instilled resiliency will allow children to better relationships, healthy coping mechanisms and an outward focus.

 

At a childcare centre like Parkside Early Learning Centre many of the above activities happen as part of our day to day learning. Children are encouraged to help tidy up and clean, they share and take turns. When things go wrong we use those times for learning and moving forward. Childcare is a great environment to lean social skills and resilience – it not just about learning the A,B,C and the 1,2,3…!

 

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Good Manners Learnt at Parkside Early Learning

Good Manners Learnt at Parkside Early Learning

The Importance of Teaching Your Children Good Manners

It’s no secret that raising children today is a tough job. With all of the influences they have in their lives, keeping them on the right path is never easy.

One area that will never be “out of style” when it comes to raising good kids is teaching them manners. Children who are taught manners at a young age, grow up to be kinder, gentler and more considerate of others than those who don’t. At Parkside Early Learning Centre we recently focussed on this topic. We organised a fun show for the children to learn about manners, respect and responsibilities through song and play.

manners

The easiest way to begin teaching your children good manners outside of the child care environment is to lead by example. Say “please” and “thank you,” don’t interrupt others when they are speaking and practising good table manners are the easiest manners to teach so start with these. Table manners are especially important – not only for meals at home but for meals out, as well. Children have a hard enough time remembering how to behave at home let alone how to behave in a public place like a restaurant, for example. Keeping the rules the same across the board saves any problems from arising.

Other good manners your children can learn:

  • Writing thank you notes
  • Making get-well cards for sick adults or friends
  • Saying hello and goodbye when appropriate
  • Sharing with and being kind to others

While teaching and explaining what good manners are, again, the best way for it to sink in for your kids is to lead by example – not by a “do as I say not as I do” approach. Your children watch adults and mimic what they see – especially when it comes to parents.

Teacher Girl 2

Finally, praise their good behaviour every time they practice a form of good manners. Giving praise is a wonderful reinforcement for what you’re teaching – let your children know how proud of them you are.

 

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Importance of physical activity for pre-schoolers

Importance of physical activity for pre-schoolers

Kids who play sports have better diets

University of Minnesota researchers say adolescents who play sports have better eating habits and nutrient intake than those who do not.

According to the Journal of the American Dietetic Association, more than 4,700 junior high and high school students were studied. Meal and snack frequen­cy, energy and nutrient intake were looked at. Researchers say they found that “sport-involved youth generally ate breakfast more frequently and had higher mean protein, calcium, iron and zinc intakes than their non-sport involved peers.”

soccer

Researchers say this supports the positive association between youth sport participation and health.

So, what does that mean for parents of younger children? It means that we should not just focus on healthy food for preschoolers but we need to equally get them involved in sports. At Parkside Early Learning Centre we program to cover both: We have been providing all meals including snacks for a while and know that our children get the best nutritious meals in town! Cooking and baking is also part of our curriculum so children learn from an early age about the importance of healthy choices. Our educators also plan a variety of physical activities into each day. Most children chose physical play naturally when they are young. At our childcare centre they love the early morning free play time to run, balance, jump and dig. Inside our educators will offer music and movement sessions which support fine and gross motor skills. At Parkside Early learning Centre we also offer weekly yoga sessions with our professional yoga instructor and a sports program which currently does soccer once a week.ballgame

Building a love for sports participation, whether in a team or own their own, is important in the early years of childhood. It creates a habit that will carry children through their youth and most likely will continue into adulthood. The fact that it will also influence their nutritional habits is an added bonus!

 

Gympie has lots to offer for young children to be active: there are soccer and rugby programs, swim schools, martial arts schools, Mainly Music groups or visit some of the facilities like Gympie Ten Pin Bowling or the Gympie Skate Zone for some fun. On the weekends there is horse riding or trail walking on offer for the whole family!

 

 

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New Flexible Child Care Sessions

New Flexible Child Care Sessions

Parkside Early Learning Centre now offers different session times so families can make the most out of the Child Care Subsidy changes. The new sessions are 12, 9 and 6 hours.

If you are confused about the new Child Care Subsidy changes and what it means for you then its time to relax and let us explain help explain it for you.

Contact Parkside Early Learning Centre and we can talk you through what the changes mean for you and your family and how our flexible child care sessions could benefit you.

Phone on 07 54827738 or via our Contact Us form.


Hayley Jack Small


Summary of the Child Care Subsidy Changes

From July 2, 2018 the main changes will be:

  • replace the Child Care Benefit (CCB) and Child Care Rebate (CCR) with a single, means-tested subsidy
  • be paid directly to providers to be passed on to families
  • be simpler than the current multi-payment system
  • be better targeted and provide more assistance to low and middle income families.

infographic explaining that the current child care system consists of the Child Care Benefit and the Child Care Rebate – under the new system these will be replaced by the Child Care Subsidy in July 2018

This means that about 76% of families should benefit from the changes in a normal child care environment. This also means some families will be worse off with the changes.

The number of hours of subsidised child care that families will have access to per fortnight will be determined by a three-step activity test.

In two parent families both parents, unless exempt, must meet the activity test. In the case where both parents meet different steps of the activity test, the parent with the lowest entitlement will determine the hours of subsidised care for the child.

CCS Amounts

Recognised activities

A broad range of activities will meet the activity test requirements, including:

  • paid work, including leave
  • being self employed
  • doing unpaid work in the family business
  • training courses for the purpose of improving the individual’s work skills or employment prospects
  • an approved course of education or study
  • volunteering
  • actively looking for work.
  • paid parental leave, including maternity leave

Exemptions

Low income families on $66,958 or less a year who do not meet the activity test will be able to access 24 hours of subsided care per child per fortnight without having to meet the activity test, as part of the Child Care Safety Net.


Contact us today to find out if our flexible care options will suit you and your family better.

Phone on 07 54827738 or via our Contact Us form to find out more.

Preparing Children for School in Child Care Centres

Preparing Children for School in Child Care Centres

Occasionally, we get asked by  parents “Do children really need to be exposed to early learning programs before he or she goes to school?” The answer we always give them is a resounding ‘yes’!

 

Our own two children went to a Kindergarten program. My oldest daughter, now 10 years old, went full time and my younger son, now 6 years old, only went 1 day per week. We certainly noticed the difference in the smoothness of their transition and readiness for school. Although we provided a loving and caring home where early education was valued, we could not create an environment similar to long daycare or school where the social skills are challenged and developed in a unique environment away from us as protective parents. We realised that exposing our own children to such a learning environment benefits them hugely in their transition to school, builds confidence and resilience.

Happy Children ePacket

Attending a long daycare service like Parkside Early Learning Centre or a Kindergarten Program exposes children to larger group learning with activities planned specifically for their developmental stage, individual needs or personal interests. All this is done by well qualified staff who build ongoing relationships with the children and after a while know them very well. The difference of early years education to school is that all our experiences at Parkside ELC are play-based in nature. Educators observe the children and use their natural and current interests to further develop their knowledge and development.  Aside from these planned and spontaneous activities children can explore their social skills in a larger group of children. This exposure to diversity builds confidence over time and resilience. Such an environment cannot be re-created on the same scale at home.  Therefore, children who are not attending a pre-school or Kindergarten Program may lack in the areas of social and emotional skills.

Choose Day Care

This personal insight is well backed up by recent research:

The website for the Early Learning: Everyone benefits campaign summarises several benefits of early education from an Australian Study done by the Melbourne Institute. Here some examples:

  • Australian and international research tells us that attending early learning improves children’s educational outcomes at school up to 13 years later.
  • Children who attend a high-quality early childhood program in the year before school are up to 40 per cent ahead of their peers by the time they reach Year 3 in primary school.
  • By age five, a child’s vocabulary will predict their educational success and outcomes at age 30.

http://www.everyonebenefits.org.au/about

Another interesting source to gain more research based information is the Life Course Centre. There you can find several in-depth studies about the positive long-term implications of early education and care programs for Australian children.

http://www.lifecoursecentre.org.au/publications/long-term-implications-of-early-education-and-care-programs-for-australian-children

As parents, we want the best start for our children. This includes the transition to big school!

So… the question is not any more whether we should send our child to long day care or a Kindergarten Program but WHEN! We encourage you to come and see our centre for yourselves. Meet the owners, director and educators together with your child and get a feel for the place. Once you have enrolled we encourage you to prepare your child for the transition from being at home with you to a pre-school program. The Queensland Department of Education provides some helpful tips on how to transition your child successfully on their website:

https://det.qld.gov.au/earlychildhood/families/kindy/getting-ready

Contact us today to find out more here or call 07 5482 7738

 

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Learning Curriculum for Early Learning and Child Care

Learning Curriculum for Early Learning and Child Care

Some of our parents have asked about the curriculum that we use to teach and educate our children. We’ve collected this information from the department of education that we thought would help in this blog article.

Early Years Learning Framework

Belonging, Being and Becoming: The Early Years Learning Framework for Australia was endorsed by the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) on 2 July 2009. It is the first early learning framework to be nationally endorsed for use by educators in a range of early childhood settings just like Parkside Early Learning Centre.

Here is some information straight from the Department of Education and Training’s website:

What is this new learning framework about?

We have developed the Early Years Learning Framework to ensure your child receives quality education programs in their early childhood setting. This is a vital time for them to learn and develop.

The Framework‘s vision is for all children to experience play-based learning that is engaging and builds success for life.

It is a guide for early childhood educators who work with children from birth to five years. They will use the Framework in partnership with families, children’s first and most influential educators, to develop learning programs responsive to children’s ideas, interests, strengths and abilities, and recognise that children learn through their play.

EYLF Image 1

The Early Years Learning Framework describes childhood as a time of belonging, being and becoming.

  • Belonging is the basis for living a fulfilling life. Children feel they belong because of the relationships they have with their family, community, culture and place.
  • Being is about living here and now. Childhood is a special time in life and children need time to just ‘be’—time to play, try new things and have fun.
  • Becoming is about the learning and development that young children experience. Children start to form their sense of identity from an early age, which shapes the type of adult they will become.

Play is learning

Play is very important for children. Through play babies and young children explore and learn to understand the world around them as they come to communicate, discover, imagine and create.

When children play they are showing what they have learned and what they are trying to understand. This is why play is one of the foundations of the Early Years Learning Framework.

By using this Framework educators will guide your child’s play by carefully designing learning activities and stimulating indoor and outdoor learning environments.

Relationships are key

It is well known that children learn best when they have secure relationships with caring adults. When children from a very early age develop trusting relationships they feel more confident and able to explore and learn.

In early childhood settings, when children feel emotionally secure they learn through play to develop the skills and understandings they need to interact positively with others and gradually learn to take responsibility.

How will it work?

Educators will use this new Framework in a range of early childhood settings, including long day care, preschools and family day care to ensure that your child receives a high quality experience. It has been created and trialled by experienced early childhood educators, academics, parents and carers.

The Framework focuses on your child’s learning. Educators will work with you in order to get to know your child well. They will create a learning program that builds on your child’s interests and abilities, and keep you in touch with your child’s progress.

Through the Framework’s five learning goals educators will assist your child to develop:

  • a strong sense of their identity
  • connections with their world
  • a strong sense of wellbeing
  • confidence and involvement in their learning; and
  • effective communication skills.

EYLF Image 2

Watching your child’s progress

Using the Early Years Learning Framework educators will observe your child’s learning so they can build on it and plan the next steps.  They will do this by listening, watching and talking to your child.

They will keep in touch with you regularly to discuss your child’s progress. They may use photos or keep a folder of your child’s work to show what your child is learning,, how they are developing and what particular learning interests them.

Before your child starts school educators will prepare information about your child’s learning and development to share with their new teacher. This will help ensure that your child’s new school is well prepared to continue your child’s learning.

Working together

By working together parents and educators can enhance a child’s learning and wellbeing. As the most important person in your child’s life you can make a difference by talking regularly with your child’s early childhood educator and asking about their learning. Information you provide allows educators to link your child’s experiences at home with the time they spend together in the early childhood setting.

Find out more

This booklet is an introduction to the Early Years Learning Framework: https://docs.education.gov.au/documents/belonging-being-becoming-early-years-learning-framework-australia-information-families-20

To find out more or to access translations visit www.deewr.gov.au/earlychildhood or ask your child’s early childhood educator. Produced by the Australian Government Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations for the Council of Australian Governments.

 

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Children Learning Styles in Child Care

Children Learning Styles in Child Care

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

There are currently seven “Learning Styles“:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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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.

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Carolin and Andrew