Blog : Nursery

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!

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!

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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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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.

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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Baby Safety Tips for the Home

Baby Safety Tips for the Home

Bringing home a new baby is an exciting and magical event for any family. Preparing your home in advance for the big day helps parents to proactively provide built in safety for the new addition to the family.

There are a range of different baby safety products on the market today that can make Mum and Dad’s life a lot easier. However, there are also some simple and very traditional types of safety practices that will keep your infant out of harm’s way.

 

Before your baby is up and about crawling and playing look at each room of the home. General safety issues that can be put in place include:

  • Baby safe latches on all drawers and cabinets in kitchens, bathrooms, bedrooms and storage areas to prevent injury if baby pulls the drawers or cabinets open or gets into the stored contents.
  • Check all electrical cords and remove any that dangle or hang down. Cover all electrical outlets with spring loaded covers that automatically close when the cord is removed.
  • Roll all cords for blinds or drapes up to well above the height that a crawling baby, toddler or infant can reach.
  • Have a new cot and mattress for the baby that is designed to prevent the baby from getting hands or limbs lodged between the posts. The mattress should fit correctly in the cot and extend to the frame on all sides.
  • Limit items in and around the crib and ensure any mobiles or hanging items on the cot are safe and secure and approved for use for a baby.
  • Always have the correctly sized, approved car safety seat for your baby and do not travel with the baby in a vehicle when the child is not secured in the baby car seat.
  • Avoid using any types of room freshening or air treatment products in the nursery or the home as an infant may be extremely sensitive to these products.

Last, and perhaps most importantly, never leave your baby unattended unless they are in a safe, secure location such as their cot. This ensures that the baby can’t get into anything that is potentially dangerous in the few seconds you step away.

 

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Answering The Difficult Questions for Childcare Aged Children

Answering The Difficult Questions for Childcare Aged Children

I had my son recently ask me “Dad when we die will we see each other and will we look like we do now?” Sometimes difficult questions can take parents by surprise. 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.

 

Stay Child Centred

It is very important to discuss death and dying at the child’s level of understanding. Taking 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 counsellor 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.

 

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Getting Your Kids to Reach for the Stars

Getting Your Kids to Reach for the Stars

When we were children, we had big dreams and our whole lives ahead of us to make them come true. We wanted to climb a mountain, be a fireman, a ballerina or be a movie star. Nothing was in our way and nothing was going to stop us.

And then we became adults. The dreams vanished as life got in the way. Those dreams we had seemed silly and we let them fade into the distance. As parents, it’s important to not let this happen to our children – but how? Here are a few ways to teach them how to keep reaching for the stars:

  • Teach them that Rome wasn’t built in a day. Neil Armstrong didn’t wake up one morning and decide he was going to walk on the moon that day. Reaching for the stars doesn’t mean making one giant leap – it means taking lots of small steps in the direction of your goal.
  • You aren’t going to learn everything you need to know to reach your goal in one sitting. The knowledge you need to learn to will come with each tiny step you take forward. Slowly but surely you will build up your bag of tricks to get where you need to be.

Child Astronaut

  • When the going gets tough – keep going. Perseverance is key to getting where you want to go. There will times when they will feel that their efforts are pointless or they aren’t seeing any progress. That’s the exact time to hunker down and keep moving forward.
  • Just do it! Don’t overplan yourself right out of your dream. Yes, plans are important to have an idea of what you’re doing and where you’re going, but you don’t have to know every step of every path you’re going to take. Planning and then planning some more is a surefire way to kill your dream.

It’s ok to dream the impossible dream. It’s ok to reach for the unreachable star. It will hurt sometimes and it will take time to get there but you can pursue your passion and live your dream.

 

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A Good Nights Sleep for Children in Child Care

A Good Nights Sleep for Children in Child Care

Does your child suffer from sleep problems? If so, according to University of Cologne (Germany) research (originally published in the journal SLEEP), he or she is more likely to have trouble falling asleep than staying asleep. Here are some tips to help your children that may attend child care and help them sleep better from the American Academy of Sleep Medicine:

 

  • Follow a consistent bedtime routine. Set aside 10 to 30 minutes to get your child ready to go to sleep.
  • Establish a relaxing setting at bed time.
  • Interact with your child at bed time. Don’t let the television, computer or video games take your place.
  • Keep your children from TV programs, movies and video games which are not appropriate for their age.
  • Do not let your child fall asleep while being held, rocked, fed a bottle or while nursing.
  • At bed time, do not allow your child to have foods or drinks which contain caffeine. Try not to give him or her any medicine which has a stimulant at bed time.

 

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