Blog : Gympie

Best pets for childcare aged children

Best pets for childcare aged children

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

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

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

To have a pet or not?

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

Messy fun at childcare

Messy fun at childcare

Art that’s not messy…

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Yoga Instructor Paula at Parkside Early Learning Centre

Yoga Instructor Paula at Parkside Early Learning Centre

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

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

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

Learning table manners and skills

Learning table manners and skills

Dining Out With Children

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

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

cookingeating

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

  1. Lay the groundwork:

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

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

  1. Pick your time:

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

  1. Pick your place:

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

  1. Order carefully:

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

  1. The waiting game:

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

  1. Finally:

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

 

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

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!

 

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

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.

 

Child Behaviour, ChildCare, Early Learning, Gympie, Kindy, Kindergarten, Pre-pre, Preschool, Best.

 

Importance of physical activity for pre-schoolers

Importance of physical activity for pre-schoolers

Kids who play sports have better diets

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

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

soccer

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

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

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

 

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

 

 

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

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.

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

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

Twinkle, twinkle little star…

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

Choose Day Care

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

Healthy snacks from childcare to school

Healthy snacks from childcare to school

Ideas For Busy Parents For Creative And Healthy School Lunches

There is a wealth of information available about the importance of good nutrition and brain functioning. Parkside Early Learning Centre introduced the provision of all meals a few years back. Our team have really seen the benefits of healthy meals being offered that cover all parts of the food pyramid. Growing kids in particular, need to have a balance of complex carbohydrates, proteins, healthy fats and of course, all the vitamins and minerals. Parkside Early Learning Centre has all that covered and saves parents the hassle to come up with healthy lunch box snacks every day!

Fussy Eater Graphic

However, once children finish in child care and start school lunch boxes can be a challenge: schools ask for healthy choices and want to see less plastic wrapper, children refuse those very option and parents often get frustrated when full lunch boxes return home untouched!

The good news is that kids that bring their lunches and snacks to school don’t have to end up with the same old thing every day. There are a lot of simple, quick, and easy ways to make really interesting, tasty and healthy foods your kids will love.

Go Insulated

One of the best things to invest in is an insulated lunch bag. These will be very helpful in keeping cold foods cool, especially when paired with an ice-pack. Many classrooms don’t have a fridge available for all children. By placing the ice-pack in a zip-lock bag, you can prevent any problems with leaks and still keep fresh fruits, vegetables, dips, cheeses and meats at the right temperature.

Healthy Lunches and Snacks

For some healthy yet simple to make lunch options besides traditional sandwiches consider the following:

  • Turkey or chicken or cheese wraps using lettuce, thin strips of red or yellow peppers, and a bit of salsa or sour cream rather than mayonnaise.
  • Pasta salad with mixed vegetables, cheese, diced hard boiled eggs or even diced ham. Use an Italian dressing for something different or a ranch dressing for a more traditional taste.
  • Whole grain crackers with cheese, meat and your kid’s favourite pickles. Each can be packaged separately, and the child can make his or her own “stackers” for some fun finger food.
  • Fresh cut vegetables with a dip made of hummus or plain yogurt with fresh or dried herbs. Try some unique vegetable options such as coloured bell peppers, purple or orange cauliflower, yellow mini tomatoes, fennel and sugar peas for variety.
  • Cube up fresh fruit and provide a creamy dip. This can be made with vanilla yogurt or any other flavour your child enjoys. Remember, fruit and vegetables should be paired with a protein for energy.
  • Homemade trail mix can include dried fruits, berries and nuts depending on your child’s preferences and what the school allows.
  • Mini-pretzels with a side of salsa for dipping are a great snack and healthier that chips or sugary treats.

Cute little girl sitting on a wooden bench on autumn day

Be sure to check with the school regarding any issues with children having peanuts or other types of nuts or foods in the school. Providing a good selection of different items for the child in the lunch is always a good option, as is having your child help you in choosing what they would like to have. Get your children involved with preparing the food for their lunch box. That way they are less likely to say after school that they didn’t like it!

Food, Healthy, Kindy, Kindergarten, Preprep, Eating, Gympie, Childcare, Child Care, Daycare, Day Care,