The little girl in the Akubra Hat

So many Australians were touched and saddened by the beautiful little girl in her Akubra hat who at such a very young age took her own life- because of bullying. This provoked much discussion in my home about “What is bullying”. My children and I agreed that bullying may not be what you said or how you said it. It can simply be, how what you said made the other person feel. If you know that what you said or did made someone else feel uncomfortable or upset, then you should not do it again. Sounds fair enough, doesn’t it? But if you repeat your actions, with full knowledge of how you made the other person feel, then is this not bullying? There has been a huge debate in the media about how we need a national approach/program to stop this culture of bullying. As educators, we are always working with parents and families to tackle this issue. Every year we try to send a positive message to the children who are ‘nasty’ and try to build resilience in those that play with the ‘nasty’ child. Don’t get me wrong, there are quite often underlying issues for the child who is seen to be nasty by other children and families. It is often their way of staying in control, coping with anxiety or they may have poor role models at home. After all, we need to remember that children's brains are not yet fully developed. They are unable to understand the long term consequences of their actions. It is up to us to not only teach, but more importantly, model empathy and compassion for others. For us as educators, it is about building skills in ALL children to develop positive relationships. I would love to see a national program to combat the culture of bullying in Australia- why is there such thing as ‘tall poppy syndrome'? Why can't we just let people shine!

         I found it really interesting last week, that our Indigenous minister felt we had more pressing issues to deal with in Australia than debating Australia Day.  If the Traditional owners of the land find Australia Day offensive, if it causes them pain to think about how this date marks the deliberate destruction of their culture, how can we continue to celebrate on such a day? Is this showing empathy and compassion? Are we being bullies? Everyone wants to celebrate the amazing, multicultural land that we now live in, but wouldn't it be amazing to have a date that doesn't bring so much pain to our nation's first people?

What School Readiness Looks Like in the Brilliant Bees

What does “School Readiness” look like in the Brilliant Bees room? In preparing children to make the transition to “big school”, it is our aim, to support, encourage and inspire children to acquire the skills they need to be successful, enthusiastic, self-motivated, life-long learners- to develop the attributes that will not only make their transition to school a successful one, but will also carry them through life. The NSW Department of Education and most Kindergarten teachers will tell you, that it is not academic knowledge that tells us if a child is ready for school or not- rather, it is a child’s social and emotional wellbeing, their self-esteem and resilience, their self-help skills and their enthusiasm for learning, that are the bigger predictors for a successful transition to school. Click on the link for the DET guide for preparing your child for Kindergarten.

The National Quality Framework and Early Years Learning Framework (EYLF) guide our practices at Mother Goose Day Nursery. The EYLF recognises that children learn best through play-based experiences that are meaningful to them. “The (EYLF) conveys the highest expectations for all children’s learning from birth to five years and through the transitions to school. It communicates these expectations through the following five Learning Outcomes:

1.       Children have a strong sense of identity

2.       Children are connected with and contribute to their world

3.       Children have a strong sense of wellbeing

4.       Children are confident and involved learners

5.       Children are effective communicators”

By providing opportunities for learning that allow children to develop skills and learning objectives that are set out in each outcome, children will become “successful learners, confident and creative individuals and active and informed citizens.” (Goal 2 of the Melbourne Declaration on Education Goals for Young Australians). Click on the link: Ten things to know about play!

Aside from play, educators also use “intentional teaching” to provide for and enrich children’s learning opportunities. Intentional teaching “involves educators being deliberate, purposeful and thoughtful in their decisions and actions. Intentional teaching is the opposite of teaching by rote or continuing with traditions simply because thingshave ‘always’ been done that way.” We deliberately structure our day to provide children with the time they need to explore, investigate, hypothesise and problem solve (or, in other words, play). We provide children with a variety of media to invent, construct, make and express meaning- also building their motor skills. We allow children the opportunities to direct their own learning, whilst ensuring that we are available to support and guide them where necessary. We deliberately provide opportunities to come together as a group/community of learners and explore stories, music and movement opportunities- not in an attempt for children to learn how to “sit still” for a certain period of time (although this may assist them at school), but in order for children to develop an appreciation for learning together, to hear and respect the ideas of others in group conversations and build on their ideas and knowledge.

We provide opportunities for children to explore their interests over a period of time- providing opportunities to gain deeper understandings about the world they live in, becoming researchers and of course becoming confident in their literacy skills at the same time. We provide literacy and numeracy activities that relate to real life experiences, creating rich and meaningful learning opportunities that are not limited to just learning how to count form 1 to 20, but involve learning about measurement, size, capacity, addition, subtraction, money and more!

We are:

·       Accepting new challenges

·       Managing our own risks

·       Developing hand eye coordination

·       Displaying persistence as we miss the nail and try and again. We persevere when one hit is not enough. We keep going, complete the task we have set ourselves and experience the satisfaction of success!

·       We are innovative! Nash created an aeroplane with his pieces of wood!

·       We are powerful! We are learning about how much force we need to place on the nail to drive it in to the wood. We are learning about our bodies.

“Risky play is an important type of play, where children acquire better motor control learn about what is dangerous and what isn’t”

(Sandsetter, Child links magazine, 2007)

“Children are competent, confident and capable learners, able to make choices and decisions.”(EYLF LOC 1&4))

We are writers!

As we explore our environment and engage in play arising from our own interests, we are motivated to record our thoughts, ideas, interests and experiences. We are learning that:

·       Writing has a purpose! It is a useful and practical way to record! We use it to keep score in our games of football and Ten Pin bowling! We sign our own name on cards we make, on our artwork and to say that we have eaten our morning tea. We write about our favourite things- animals for some and create labels for our creations to display proudly, so everyone knows what we have done!

·       Symbols have meaning. Letters come together to make words. Letters make sounds- and these sounds make up words. Numbers can be represented in print.

·       We need strong muscles in our hands to write. We are learning how to hold various writing tools to make marks effectively.

By Kasie Moffitt

We are becoming effective communicators!

We invite you to come and have a look at our photo board to see all the skills we have been learning while at Mother Goose Day Nursery!

Is your baby getting enough tummy time?

By Kasie Moffitt

The importance of Active Play 

We all know that it is important to be physically active for our health and well being and for babies and young children it is extremely  important- The first years of life are the foundation for all later growth, development and learning (Kazimierczak, P, 2012).

 

Physical activity is not only important for building gross and fine motor strength, coordination and agility, but it also impacts on many other areas of development as well as their sense of self.

 

Movement is a child’s first ‘language’ and the more they become active in this first

language, the better they will develop other powers of expression, exploration and

development. Howard Gardner (1983) referred to movement as an ‘entry point’

to acquire knowledge. (Kazimierczak, P, 2012).

It is of course important to note, that whilst developmental milestones do exist, children are individuals who develop at different rates and in their own time. Milestones do typically occur in the same order and provide us with a benchmark of around when particular skills should become evident, and when we should perhaps become concerned and seek an experts opinion, so should not be discounted. In the meantime, what are some things we can do with our young children to help them become physically active?

Pre-Crawlers:

For infants, being given the opportunity to move freely is of utmost importance. This means reducing the use of constraining devices (such as carriers, bouncers, Jolly Jumpers, prams, walkers etc) and placing them on their back or tummy on the floor to freely explore their body in space- of course remaining in close physical contact with their carers. Tummy Time allows children the opportunity to build head, neck and trunk muscles, as well as an awareness of their body in space amongst other things. Tummy time should always be supervised and babies should always be placed on their back to sleep. Babies love interacting with others and getting down on the floor and singing and playing with your baby is the best way to encourage them to spend more time on their tummy- introducing interesting toys and rattles to watch, laying on different surfaces, singing simple rhymes, such as ‘round and round the garden like a teddy bear’, you could even read a story. By the age of 4 months, babies should be pushing up on their forearms, lifting and holding their head up.

Crawlers:

Crawling usually happens at around 9-10 months. Crawling strengthens muscles in preparations for walking and allows children a new found sense of independence as they can now make their own choices about where to go and what to play with. Encourage crawling through tunnels or in and out of different spaces, over different surfaces (foam pieces/pillows under a blanket to create uneven surfaces). Offer toys at different heights to encourage reaching, keeping the head up and later encourage children to pull themselves up.

Walking and onward:

It is recommended that children between the ages of 1 and 3 be active for at least 3 hours (spread throughout the day). During this time children begin to learn Fundamental movement skills. These are a set of skills that allow children to ‘make the most of physical opportunities’

“Fundamental movement skills are divided into three areas for infants and toddlers:

loco motor, non-manipulative or non-loco motor and manipulative:

 

·        loco motor—when moving from one place to another. For example, crawling,

            walking and running

·        non-manipulative or non-loco motor—when the body is stationary but

           different body parts move. For example, balancing, turning, wriggling, pushing

           and reaching

·        manipulative—using gross or fine motor movements to engage with objects.

          For example, holding and releasing, throwing, kicking, throwing and catching.”

                                                                                                            (Kazimierczak, P, 2012)

For children to develop and build upon such skills and thus become more active, effective and responsive explorers, they need the adults in their lives to provide opportunities that encourage their growth and development, as they are not always naturally acquired.

For different ideas and information on encouraging physical activity with your children, visit these sites:

Visit http://health.act.gov.au/kids-at-play/active-play-everyday/ and access their fact sheets for more ideas!

http://www.goodforkids.nsw.gov.au/media/1122/simpleideastogetchildrenactiveeachday.pdf

References:

Kazimierczak, P, (2012) Everyday Learning Series (v10, n2): Physical activity: Helping children grow

Extract from Putting Children First, the magazine of the National Childcare Accreditation Council (NCAC) Issue 30 June 2009 (Pages 3 - 5) Supporting Children’s Development

 

Get up and grow: Healthy eating and physical activity for early childhood: Staff and carer book http://www.health.gov.au/internet/main/publishing.nsf/Content/2CDB3A000FE57A4ECA257BF0001916EC/$File/HEPA%20-%20B5%20Book%20-%20Staff%20and%20Carer%20Book_LR.pdf

Looking at daily habits; The Effects of ‘W’ Sitting.

‘W’ sitting can contribute to some developmental problems if it is not discouraged from a young age.

I have noticed quite a few children in our Tiny Tadpoles and Curious Koalas rooms sitting in a position known as ‘w’ sitting recently. 

What is ‘w’ sitting?

It is a position that some children and even some adults choose to sit in. Imagine sitting with your bottom on the floor but with your knees bent back with legs rotated away from your body. When observing this position from above it looks like a w shape. (See image)

Why should this sitting position be discouraged?

‘W’ sitting can cause many problems if the habit continues over time such as:

-       Stability problems in the trunk and hips.

-       Orthopaedic problems with hips, knees and feet.

-       Hamstring, hip and heel tightness which could result in pigeon toed walking.

-       Problems relating to hand dominance and motor skills due to a decrease in the rotation of the trunk when sitting in this position.

 

How can the habit be changed?

-       Encourage your child to sit in more appropriate ways such as:

o   Cross legged.

o   Side sitting with both legs to one side, just make sure the side is alternated regularly.

o   Sitting with legs straight out in front.  (This position is most suitable for young children)

o   Using a low stool or cushion.

-       Using language to remind your child to change the way they are sitting.

o   “Feet to the front.”

o   “Turn your legs around.”

These are a few simple phrases you can use at home and ones that we use at Mother Goose.

What should you do if your child can only ‘w’ sit?

If your child has trouble sitting in other positions please speak to us and seek the advice of your GP or physical therapist.

Remember: Consistency is important to change any habit!

How clear are the lines around political correctness?

Had my thoughts of political correctness, gone wrong?

I watched a couple of Dads interact with their children in Bunning’s the other day. I feel quiet judgemental looking back. One of the Dads had picked up a rope and seemingly joked to his daughter while giving his mate the elbow “listen to this”. He showed his daughter the rope and laughed, “it`s a black fella`s rope, look it`s got black fella colours red, black and yellow”. The two blokes continued to shop. I recall thinking to myself as I maintained focus on finding what I wanted on the shelf; how rude these two blokes were, to be instilling racism in this little girl, who looked all of about four.

As the Dad returned the rope to the shelf, I found what I needed and headed out of the isle with my purchase. This little girl skipped and followed as the two blokes also left the isle. The little girl skipped and began to sing at the top of her voice, a song about the pride she had in her “red, black and yellow” flag.  This made me glance up at the two blokes who I now recognised to be Indigenous Australians.

This made me reflect on what is appropriate to call an Indigenous Australian. Had my thoughts of political correctness, gone wrong?

What do I like to be called? Do I mind what people call me? Do I mind what others call my children?

What do you think?

If your husband calls you “sugar cake” is it appropriate for others to call you “sugar cake”?

If a young girl refers to herself as "fat” should others then start to call her “fat”?

If you know “Mr Smith” (a teacher) outside of school does this mean you can call him “Tim” in the classroom?

Have we lost some of our old school manners to the detriment of an inclusive and respectful society? 

Better Parenting tip: What to do if your child gets out of bed.

What to do if your child gets out of bed. If you are establishing a new bed time routine, your children are going to want to work out where the boundaries are. They want you, the parent, to give them this information.

Don’t send mixed signals by discussing it with them, nor trying to justify why. Here is what to do; put them back to bed... do not talk to them, do not turn the light on, do not get them anything, do not get cranky, do not get rough. Simply put them back to bed and walk out.

This maybe all you have to do. But if it happens again you need to minimise the time that they are out of bed, hang outside their door where they can't see you. When they get to the door, take their hand, walk them back to bed, say nothing and I mean nothing.

If your children are still getting out of bed, sit beside their bed, look at the floor, do not make eye contact. When they get out, put them straight back. Again do not talk to your child, do not turn the light on, do not get them anything, do not talk to them, do not get cranky. If this is you, please give me a call and we can talk to ensure that you are doing all the right things for your child’s age. The first night this could be tough. Again, time how long it takes; it can feel like it is not working but I can assure you that if you are doing this right, you will reduce the time it takes each night, but you must be consistent.

Screen-Shot-2014-03-19-at-10.21.43-AM.png

My other advice is to establish this routine first, before you add other people into this routine and ensure that they are behind you doing it exactly the same way. All your hard work can all be undone in one night.

This technique is the same if using time out, do not talk to them, do not discuss the time they have left nor how cranky you are, do not get them anything, do not get cranky, do not get rough. Simply put them back on the chair or spot. Once their time is up, have a hug, discuss what happened, discuss briefly how sad they made you, tell your child that now it is time to clean up the mess, ask if your child would like some help to clean it up (for children under about the age of 5, I would not expect them to clean up a mess by themself unless it is easy). Then you have to forget, if you don’t forget you get angry, frustrated, and stop enjoying your children.

Make sure you spend quality time with your children; if your child is doing things to get your attention then it is working. Ensure that they don’t need to do the wrong thing to get your attention.    

Better Parenting Tip: Do you turn into a cranky monster at Bed Time?

Are you tired of the bed time antics?  Do you turn into a cranky monster at Bed Time? Do you want a happier bed time for your children?

Bed time routines are one of those times in the day when everyone is tired, the children are tired, I am tired, your partner is tired, and quite often you feel like a single parent even if you aren’t.

The key to unlock happiness at bed time is “routine”. This is ever so important if your partner works shift work, if you rely of friends or family to help out on occasions at night, or even want your partner to be able to help out at bed time.

At bed time tonight, sit down with a piece of paper and write down your bed time routine. Then write down all the questions and antics that your children try to delay bedtime with. I also want you to “time” how long this process takes once the light is out.

This is your starting point for your new routine. You need to take into consideration what you wrote on your piece of paper.

Your routine might look a little like this: quiet activity or helping with dinner, dinner, bath, quiet activity, (snack if tea is early), teeth, drink of water, toilet, 2x stories, bed, lights out.

Quiet activities may include: puzzles, Lego, construction, train track, dolls etc. Not riding bikes, jumping on the trampoline, nor wrestles with dad. Physical activity and boy stress play is very valuable but not a part of a happy bed time routine.

Once you have decided what you can manage and what you want to achieve, get the camera out, take a photo of each step and have the children in the photos. Take a photo of some quiet activities that your children enjoy and print these out. About ½ the size of a standard photo. Buy some cardboard and cut it in two, length ways. Stick it together so you have a long piece of card. If you are able to laminate it at this stage it will last a lot longer. Laminate your photos too, if you can with a label underneath. You can get velcro dots from your local supermarket.

Now you are ready to start your happy bed time routine.

Step 1: Display the routine in the children’s room or kitchen.

Step 2:  Add all your steps so that the line is full including specific quite activity. The velcro will allow your children to take them off when each step is done.

Step 3: After each step, go back to the list to see what is next. The children need to see each step to better process and acknowledge the process.  

Step 4: Ensure that you show others how this works and set it up before you leave for the evening.

If this is something you really want to achieve a “Happy Bedtime Routine” we are happy to help, advise, laminate, print, etc. Then you don’t have to be the “Cranky Monster” at bedtime.  I guarantee after 1 week your bed time antics will be reduced if you do this every night. Let me know how you go. What to do when your child gets out of bed next week.

Are you stifling your child’s ability to learn?

19/8/13. 

Do you stop your child because they might hurt them self?

Do you do things for your child because IT'S quicker?

Learning happens from taking risks, making mistakes, making a mess and getting it wrong.

My son on Sunday morning made his own breakfast. He chose a mixture of Weetbix and Sustain, not to my liking but I let him go as I was not eating it. He poured the milk in. He chose a measuring spoon from the draw, “I am using this one” he declared, “OK” I responded. I thought to myself “well that won’t work”,  but I let him go. He scooped on the sugar, only using one teaspoon measure, using the spoon he had chosen. Then he was ready to eat. He tried to chop the weetbix with his spoon, “This spoon does not chop too good Mum, where does it go”. Flynn bought me the spoon as I was packing the dishwasher. I pointed to where the cutlery went, he put it in and chose another spoon from the draw. I finished packing the dishwasher and he ate his breakfast.

I could have put the cereal in the bowl, then I would not need to sweep up the bits he spilt. I could have poured the milk but he has done this many times and will ask for help if it is a new bottle. I could have put the sugar on but he has worked out that it does not taste real good with a quarter of a cup of sugar on it. I could have swapped his spoon, then there would have been one less spoon in the dishwasher.  But now he knows that a measuring spoon will not chop his Weetbix.

Ask yourself;  how many things do you do for your child, that you know they can do them self?

Helicopter parenting behaviours were linked to higher levels of depression, decreased satisfaction with life and lower levels of perceived autonomy, competence, and ability to get along with people.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2278596/Children-controlling-helicopter-parents-likely-depressed.html#ixzz2cNuauUJc

Better parenting tip: Can I find enough quality time for my children?

I will be the first one to admit that I don’t spend enough quality time with my children.

Quality time with our children is so much fun and strengthens the relationship that we have together. This is ever so valuable if we want our children to talk to us when things go wrong, for example they get in trouble at school, they are being bullied or many other little things that are important to them. If we want our children to confide in us we must have a good relationship with our children. Step one is quality time.

Most of you would know I have four children, one doing the HSC this year with the youngest about to turn five. Life is very busy and I often find myself after work thinking “great he wants to watching ABC kids, I can water the garden in peace, get the washing off the line, unpack the dishwasher and pack in the breakfast dishes, throw another load in the washing machine, start cooking dinner, scrub the pretty coloured mould off the shower” and the list goes on, you get the picture.

I know if I say to him, let’s go and collect the eggs and pick the radishes, see how big the pumpkins are now, bake some cookies or help me cook tea tonight, he will eagerly be my little assistant.

What children learn from making a batch of cookies is endless and the relationship that we establish now with our children is priceless. Enjoy quality time with your children this weekend.

  • Bed time routine
  • Visuals
  • Reward charts
  • Happy meal times
  • Dealing with demanding children
  • Sibling rivalries
  • Consistency between parents
  • Separation anxiety