Blog : Kindy

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!

 

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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.

 

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!

 

 

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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.

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!!!

 

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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!

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Questions about death from children

Questions about death from children

Answering The Difficult Questions

Sometimes difficult questions can take parents by surprise. Unfortunately, the school community of my children is currently going through a difficult time as a mother we all knew just passed away. In our own shock of this sudden death we have to quickly learn how to delicately deal with the challenging questions that may come out of the mouths of our children. The hardest may be the “Why?” questions and the “What if’s…?”

It can be good to plan in advance on how and what to talk to your children about when they ask about death. It is critical not to avoid or try to brush off the questions as that will only cause more confusion and perhaps even fear if children pick up your discomfort on the subject. Having a good heart to heart from time to time ensures children see us as approachable and it avoids them getting their ‘facts’ in the playground. When Parkside Early Learning Centre’s guinea pig died after last Christmas children had various ideas of what happens when you are dead: you are just dead, you sleep for a long time, you turn into an angel etc.

Compassionate

Here are some tips on how to approach this subject:

Stay Child Centred

It is very important to discuss death and dying at the child’s level of understanding. Talking in abstract terms or using common phrases about death to kids will only cause confusion. You certainly can talk about spiritual or religious beliefs about the death and dying with your children but keep them at an age appropriate level.

Be careful not to use terms like “sleeping” or “passed on” or “lost” but rather be compassionate and honest. Children need a clear description that makes sense to them. Even younger children can understand that a body can stop working when a person is in an accident or is elderly. Often this type of honest, clear and simple explanation is enough for a youngster.

Talk About Real World Examples

It is important, especially with younger children, to stay to simple examples and not to try to include too many concepts at one time. It is important for children to understand that death is a normal part of life without stressing the mortality of the child or of you as the parent. It is also important to remember that younger children, especially those under the age of 10, may see death as reversible.

Kids may ask about a pet, family member or loved one’s death repeatedly. Be patient and provide a consistent answer that provides the information the child is seeking. Talking to a counselor or reading a book about death that is at an age appropriate level can help a parent start the conversation and allow children to ask the questions they may be worrying about.

guiltymum

Death in a family can be so difficult. If there has been a death in the family please talk to the educator of your daycare centre so they can support your child and family in this time. Give your child an extra tight hug tonight – you never know what is around the corner.

For more support check out the Beyond Blue.

 

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Child Care Aged Children Learning Organisational Skills

Child Care Aged Children Learning Organisational Skills

Learning Organisation Skills at Childcare

Daily routines at home can be a challenge, especially if you have younger children who have a way of losing or misplacing things on a regular basis. Or maybe IT IS the washing machine that loses the socks!

Young children love helping and imitating what adults do. Let’s use this early enthusiasm and channel it to teach them about an organized life. Maria Montessori, a famous educator and theorist, was a great believer in teaching children life skills. We involve the Parkside children in many daily chores and they love helping out.

Here are some great tips that we have collected at Parkside Early Learning on how to keep your children, especially young ones organised:

  1. Organise children’s belongings in an easy to understand way – a separate shelf or container for each item. This works especially well for clothing items! Involve young learners in sorting the washing. Make it a fund game while you teach them early…sorting is an important mathematical concept to learn after all!
  2. Involve young children in daily chores: They love helping you at this age and being near you. At Parkside Early Learning we involve children in daily chores like gardening, tidying their bedding away or cleaning up the lunch table. They know where their left-over food goes, place dirty dishes in the cleaning tub and where to grab their own water from.Food Kids Blog
  3. Make a picture shopping list. Pre-schoolers love to go shopping and to avoid any dramas at the supermarket give them a task! A picture based shopping list will focus their energy and concentration. Get them involved in what you need to buy beforehand – that way they can learn the difference between needs and wants!
  4. For school aged children, have a designated work space for homework, projects, etc. Pick a room or a part of a room that your child can keep all of his or her supplies for homework, arts and crafts, reading. Use bins to keep supplies neat and in one place. Be sure you have enough room, if possible, to keep their books and try using a basket to keep papers that your child may need for school, studying for tests, etc.
  5. When you buy school supplies at the beginning of the year, colour code each subject – Math is blue, English is green, etc., and use the same colour for each subject throughout the year. This will make it easy for you to child to quickly grab what they’re looking for without having to rifle through every folder or notebook.
  6. Create a cubby hole at or near your front door to keep your child’s backpack, hats, water bottle, sun screen, shoes – anything they need to grab quickly if the morning before leaving. Teach your child to put whatever they need for the next day in the cubby each night before they go to bed.
  7. Use a calendar. For your older children you can provide them with a calendar or appointment book. With your younger children, create a weekly or monthly calendar and use bright colours and pictures to help remind them of important days like soccer days, your workdays or their day care days.water-garden
  8. Lead by example. If you want your children to be organized, keep yourself organized. They are more likely to follow by example. Make to-do lists, turn the television off at the same time every day/evening, pay bills on a regular schedule – anything that requires a routine. Let your children see you follow an organized routine and they will do the same.

Finally, don’t get too stressed if you are not leading the perfectly organized life!

Life with children will never be pristine…unless you have a nanny, cleaner, cook, gardener, laundry maid, personal shopper, handy man! 😊

 

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