Education and Care
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Bringing families together The opposite of play is not work Understanding social media risks
EarlyEdition SPRING 2017
Cover Photo: St Andrews Lutheran College ELC
Location: 11/6 Vanessa Boulevard, Springwood Mailing: PO Box 137, Springwood QLD 4127 Telephone: (07) 3808 2366 Fax: (07) 3808 2466 Toll Free: 1300 365 325 (outside Brisbane) Web: www.qld.childcarealliance.org.au Email: email@example.com
ACA Queensland President’s Report
ACA President’s Report
Education and Care
Disclaimer: Articles published in this magazine are published as a service to readers and should not be substituted for specific advice in relation to any issue. While advertising in this magazine is encouraged, ACA Queensland accepts no responsibility for the contents of the advertisements. Advertisements are accepted in good faith and liability for advertising content, goods or services supplied is the responsibility of the advertiser.
Bringing Families Together: Our Mini Marketta
Educator in Profile: Gilda Rolston
To eat or not to eat…
The opposite of play is not work. It’s depression.
Craigslea Sensitivity Unit Excursion
Why children who make their beds are forming a powerful habit for success
Understanding social media risks
Technology, Love it, Hate it, Tolerate it
Educator Connections, Be your own super woman
Get to know your committee Rosa McDonald
Associate Member Directory
MANAGEMENT COMMITTEE Executive
ACA Queensland Office
President - Majella Fitzsimmons
Gwynn Bridge AM Rosa McDonald
General Manager - Brent Stokes
Vice President - Brent Stokes
Office Manager - Jen Smyth
Treasurer - Linda Davies
Office Admin Assistant - Letitia Murphy
Acting Secretary - Louise Thomas
Project Officer - Claudette Cabilan
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ACA Queensland President’s Report Welcome to the Early Edition Spring issue! This year is moving very fast and soon it will be getting ready for end of year celebrations. We hope you had an amazing Early Childhood Educators Day celebration! Australian Childcare Alliance Queensland (ACA Qld) launched Early Childhood Educators Day six years ago to raise awareness and support for the valuable work of early years’ educators in educating and caring for tomorrow’s leaders. Thank you to all the services who participated in our Facebook photo competition! We loved all the photos that were submitted, they all showed what educators do best: educating and caring for Australia’s children. Congratulations to our winner, St Andrews Lutheran College Early Learning Centre on the beautiful entry which is this edition’s cover. Like you, I am a proud early childhood educator so make sure to save the date for next year’s Early Childhood Educators Day: Wednesday, 5th September 2018. Thank you to all our members who attended our recent members’ meetings across the state. It’s always a pleasure to meet our members in person and hear about the issues they are going through. If you haven’t attended a members’ meeting in the past, make sure you do. It’s a great way to broaden your network.
hours under the Children’s Services Award. While refusing the Union’s fourhour minimum engagement claim, the Commission has flagged an intention to insert a two-hour minimum engagement clause into the Teachers Award. As president, I am consulting with government on communication methods in relation to the Jobs for Families Package and the new Child Care Subsidy (CCS) format. The ACA National committee members have been asked to join other industry leaders in these consultations so that we can ensure our members are well informed and we are still consulting as much as we can on what is important for children.
Please remember that you are always welcome to contact our office if you have any issues that you would like to discuss. Call us on 07 3808 2366 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Conference 2018 planning is well underway and the conference committee is hunting down the very best presenters they can and ensuring that we have a fun filled conference with lots of learning and networking. I would like to thank every person who works tirelessly on our committee, giving up time every day to ensure all early childhood education and care services across our state are represented.
Like always, our committee is ensuring that we support our members and would like to include some of the issues we are working on, on your behalf: • Jobs for Families implementation
Majella Fitzsimmons ACA Qld President
• Equal Remuneration Order (ERO) • 4-year Modern Award Review • Early Childhood Teacher requirements including working towards qualifications • National consistency including ratios
There have been a lot of highlights these last few months in the early childhood education and care world with our national body, Australian Childcare Alliance (ACA) that is made up of all ACA states including ACA Tasmania, lobbying and advocating for the best interests of all children including the potential push down of 3.5 year olds into school setting in Tasmania. The Community Child Care Fund (CCCF) was also a win and many small private services are still able to apply for this funding. ACA successfully argued against the Union’s claim to increase the minimum engagement from two hours to four
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• Affordability for families with balancing accessibility / supply issues (planning) • Standardised school starting age across all states
ACA Qld team celebrating
< ACA Qld members' meeting
ACA President’s Report Early Childhood Educators Day 2017 was a moving event Australia-wide – we hope you enjoyed the celebrations! ACA National has been busy organising the resource materials for Early Childhood Educators Day, while at the same time focusing heavily on government lobbying with two very positive outcomes. First to the fun stuff… we hope you enjoyed Early Childhood Educators Day this year! We had a great time checking the photos and feedback about the celebrations. We saw some fantastic appreciation trees, delicious cakes and food spreads, some hilarious activities such as the Hungry Hippos game, and some thoughtful hand-made gifts from families to their educators. We hope you enjoyed the “Early Childhood Educators Day – We say thank you” video, to help show your appreciation to staff, as well as the collective appreciation of the Australian community. More importantly, we hope you enjoyed the generous and festive spirit of Early Childhood Educators Day and that your early childhood educators felt appreciated. On the lobbying front, ACA’s first win this quarter was the Federal Government’s change in the application criteria for the new Community Child Care Fund (CCCF), which is part of the new Child Care Safety Net under the Jobs for Families Child Care Subsidy system. The CCCF aims to provide targeted assistance for disadvantaged communities and vulnerable and at-risk children and their families to address barriers in accessing child care. When the government announced that this funding would not be made available to privately-operated Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC) services, ACA sought feedback from our members, prepared a position paper and presented the case that this new policy shift would effectively shut the door on those children most in need of quality early learning, further widening the equity gap Australia-wide.
Following our advice on this matter, the Department of Education and Training (DET) reconsidered their position and amended their application criteria to allow privately-operated services to apply for the various grants under the new CCCF program, subject to a list of criteria that all applicants need to comply with in order to be successful in the application process. This was wonderful news for those families expected to be adversely affected by this policy, and fantastic news for the ECEC sector. The second, more recent win relates to the Tasmania Government’s plan to lower the school age to 3.5 years. ACA was concerned that lowering the school age to 3.5 years would have a devastating effect on Tasmanian children, given all the research data indicates that 3.5 years old is too young for children to start in a formalised school environment. To counter this policy the ACA established a state body in Tasmania, consulted with the local ECEC sector, and proceeded to lobby the Tasmanian Government and the Members of the Legislative Council. Following our engagement with the Tasmanian Government, Education Minister Jeremy Rockliff announced that the school starting age would not be lowered, and the funding will be redirected to provide an additional year of free preschool education to Tasmania’s 3 year old children from disadvantaged and vulnerable backgrounds. This change of heart is a monumental victory for Tasmania’s youngest generation. It serves as a very powerful precedent for other state government decisions concerning their frameworks around the school starting age and quality early childhood education and care.
Finally, as the new Child Care Subsidy under the Jobs for Families package is expected to commence in July 2018, the Federal Government is in the process of developing the new software, preparing guidance for ECEC service providers and their families for the transition period, and consulting with the ECEC sector. According to the latest fact sheet from DET, the new integrated Child Care IT System will be built in the SAP environment, and will support reforms by: • providing a simpler user interface for families and child care services; • simplifying, streamlining and automating administration of child care payments and programs; and • ensuring effective compliance and minimising fraudulent misuse of taxpayer funds. As these changes will affect more than 17,000 service providers across Australia and over 1.2 million families with children attending early learning services, ACA is working hard to provide meaningful, practical advice to DET on behalf of our members and the ECEC sector. Our feedback aims to support the transition to the new system and, hopefully, overcome and minimise any problems during the transition process. We will remain engaged with the relevant government departments during the rollout of the new child care rebate system, to keep you and your families informed of how it will affect your services and what is required of your business under the new regime.
Paul Mondo National President Australian Childcare Alliance
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CA TO R
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BIG THANKS! To all the dedicated and passionate early childhood educators, thank you and we hope that Early Childhood Educators Day was a wonderful celebration of your achievements and hard work. Early Childhood Educators Day is held every year on the first Wednesday in September, and next year's Early Childhood Educators Day will be held on Wednesday, 5th September 2018. Thank you to everyone who participated in our Early Childhood Educators Day photo contest! We received amazing photos of educators doing what they do best: educating and caring for Australiaâ€™s future leaders.
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Who gets your super? If anything were to happen to you, who would you want your super to go to? Over your life you will likely accumulate a substantial superannuation balance. In addition to this you may have death insurance. To make sure this goes to the right person, nominate or update your beneficiary today.
Weâ€™re here to help 1800 060 215 childcaresuper.com.au
This document contains general advice only and doesnâ€™t take into account what you currently have, want and need for your personal circumstances. It is important for you to consider these matters and read the Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) before you make a decision about a superannuation product. You can get a copy of Child Care Super PDS by calling 1800 060 215 or by visiting childcaresuper.com.au. You may also wish to consult a licensed or appropriately authorised financial planner. Guild Trustee Services Pty Limited ABN 84 068 826 728 AFS Licence No. 233815 RSE Licence No. L0000611 as Trustee of the Guild Retirement Fund ABN 22 599 554 834 (which includes GuildSuper and Child Care Super) MySuper Authorisation No. 22599554834526
Education and Care Jay Gomez > Triumph Early Learning Centre Management & Professional Development
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Many in our profession would agree that the National Quality Framework and the Early Years Learning Framework have forever justified the distinction between the terms ‘educator’ and ‘childcare worker’. For the sake of clarity, most of the people I speak to in my usual interactions with early learning centres would identify the term ‘educators’ as the employees who are seeking recognition as professionals through development of their pedagogical practice, always working towards bettering their practice to deliver stronger learning opportunities to children. The term ‘childcare worker’ applies to those who work day-today, seeing to the safety of children, offering little more to children outside of what can reasonably be expected from babysitting. As you can imagine, there is a considerable difference in the expectations of the two different terms. I would argue that the terms are mutually exclusive. An issue with these polarizing terms lay not so much with those that would identify as a childcare worker, for they would surely be happy to reap the rewards of being labelled a professional. The issue lay with the early childhood educators who are regularly burdened by the under performance of the childcare worker. While the early childhood educator requires a knowledge and skill level that can, at the very least, meet the requirements of the standards and elements of the seven Quality Areas of the National Quality Framework, the childcare worker thrived in a time that this outstanding document did not exist. A childcare worker was required to have a rudimentary understanding of education, programming and practice, but the measure of this understanding was based on inconsistent and quite often arbitrary learning outcomes that varied from childcare company to childcare company and between childcare service to childcare service. When there are no measurables, it is easy to appear competent. The EYLF is the document that helped unite the profession, and when the
NQF was introduced, the landscape changed even more significantly. The measurables for the performance of a childcare worker became consistent and a common language was given to the metrics to gauge the performance of the service of a centre. These focus areas were no longer arbitrary. The Early Years Learning Framework was created through extensive research and reflection into the way children learned and developed and the National Quality Framework was developed to ensure that national legislation supported this quality education-and-care focused directive. So where does the childcare worker fit in this model? As mentioned, prior to the creation of the EYLF and NQF, centres were populated with childcare workers. Of course, there were exceptions, many exceptions to this statement and I am certainly using a broad stroke of the pen when I say this. The justification for my statement is that as capable as some childcare workers were, there was simply no consistent, officially recognized standard by which to measure their performance in pedagogy against. Also, prior to the introduction of those official early education, some childcare workers may have been able to take children to great heights, but there were many, many others that did not. This was a time when people would enter the childcare workforce with no real skill and while they may have been enrolled, the training organisations lacked any firm followup on the progress of their students. I can plainly remember childcare workers that jumped from RTO to RTO as they avoided progressing in their studies. Worse still were the childcare workers that simply stagnated, taking years to complete even a handful of modules. This is not a hallmark of professionalism. People would enter the childcare workforce, seeing it as
the easy option, simply because they ‘loved children’, or so they claimed. Fortunately, these days are long behind us… or are they? Although we have officially recognized standards to work against, our profession is still largely referred to as ‘childcare’. Media such as television news, magazines, newspapers and so on, continually refer to our profession using the term ‘childcare’. Families refer to our profession as ‘childcare’. Quite often, educators refer to their profession with the same moniker as well. How can we change this? I believe the answer starts with us. Early childhood educators must continue to work vigilantly to further distance themselves from the banner of the childcare worker by working towards exceeding the professional standards of early childhood education and continue to invest in their own development as pedagogues. Early childhood educators must constantly strive to help children reach their potential by utilising a thorough understanding of how learning works and what it looks like in the earliest years of life. Early childhood educators must continually raise the bar of their own performance and be proud of their progress, building an understanding of what it is they do in families and their communities through the relationships they build. Vigilance will pay off, but commitment is a must. Early childhood educators have come a long way, but there is still so much further to go. It is up to us to persevere, and that perseverance will be recognised. After all, educators and families are concerned because we are all here for the same reason, building better outcomes for children in their earliest years of life. www.triumphearlylearning.com.au
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Bringing Families Together: Our Mini Marketta Bright Buttons Team
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Bright Buttons Little Meadows only opened in June of last year, but they are already making an impact on local families and the community! In term one, the educators, children and families at Little Meadows began preparing for their first big event of the year…their Mini Marketta! The Marketta was to be held at the end of March and would encompass two aspects: stalls full of goodies made by the children to be sold, and a special art gallery display showcasing the children’s recent project work and learnings (NQS element 1.1.6). The team worked together with the children to decide what types of goodies they would like at their stalls, and once the plan was set, they started gathering resources and co-constructing with their educators to make the items for the stalls. The families at the service helped by donating items, such as glass jars, that could be transformed into candle holders to sell at the market.
On the day of the Mini Marketta, each room had their own stalls set up with all the things the children had made. Everything at the Marketta was priced from 5 cents to 50 cents and there were ‘currency’ labels on the tables, so the children could match their money to the label to make sure they had the right amount of change for their purchase (EYLF outcome 5.4). The children were so excited to see their handmade items being sold and most of them had saved up their own money to spend on the day and loved being able to use their purses and wallets! For morning tea, there was a Fruit Art competition. Some of the talented families from the service created an interesting range of animals that were made entirely out of fruit and after the judging was complete, everyone was able to devour them!
There was also a great amount of effort put into the Art Gallery items which reflected the learning that took place in each room throughout the term. The Little Lions room had been reading the book Owl Babies and created a large feathered owl for the gallery (which the babies and toddlers really enjoyed making!). In the Zany Zebras room, they had been discussing Alexander’s Outing and learning about families and being part of a group, and they worked together to create a collage version of one of their favourite pages from the book (ELYF outcome 4.1 and 4.3). This was great fun as the children got to experiment using different textured items for different parts of the collage.
The children were so excited to e see their handmad d items being sold anved most of them had sa to up their own money an y spend on the da tod loved being able use their purses and wallets!
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The Gentle Giraffes room (kindergarten children) had been exploring the concepts of self-confidence through the book Giraffes Canâ€™t Dance. For their art gallery items, they made clay figures of their favourite animals from the story, took photographs of themselves acting out the illustration on the front cover and they also worked together to create a very impressive, giant papier mĂ˘chĂŠ giraffe (which was almost too tall to fit in the room!). Finally, the Eager Elephants room (our school age children) took self-portraits
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to a whole new level by doing life size drawings of themselves to display around the room (EYLF outcome 1.3). Everyone who attended the Mini Marketta community day was invited to vote for their favourite artwork and to leave a message for the children who made it. This proved to be a wonderful opportunity to provide children with positive feedback about their artwork and creations, thus showing appreciation for their effort and commitment to their learning (NQS element 1.1.1).
The community day was a great success and a fantastic opportunity for the families of Bright Buttons Little Meadows to come together in a relaxed environment, engaging with other families from the local community (NQS element 6.3.4). Thank you to all our wonderful team and families (and children!) for supporting each other to ensure the success of this event.
no butts about it Weâ€™ve implemented a portfolio-wide tobacco exclusion. Has your super fund?
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“My goal is to help prepa re the children f or the world of learn ing that they are yet to face.”
Educator in Profile: Gilda Rolston Gilda Rolston is a toddler educator at Bright Beginnings in Chermside West. Gilda recently celebrated 22 years of being a part of the Bright Beginnings family! Congratulations Gilda! What inspired you to forge a career in early childhood education and care? What inspired me to forge a career in early childhood education and care is the ability it gives me to influence young children’s lives, to support their learning, their development and their health and wellbeing. It’s satisfying to know that by teaching and engaging with the children, I can influence who they are or who they will become later in life. It gives me immense joy and happiness to know that I have been a part of their lives even though it is only
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a brief time. I am happy to know that I have been able to build a connection and positive relationships with the children and their families throughout my career. Why are you passionate about early childhood? I am passionate about early childhood because I enjoy working with young children; I love the way they look at the world and their individual and unique characters. It is such a pleasure to know that I have been a part of some of the most important developmental moments in their lives.
How would you describe your early childhood philosophy? My goal is to help prepare the children for the world of learning that they are yet to face. Teach them to have great patience and the ability to adapt quickly to situations. Develop and create activities and experiences that are developmentally appropriate for children. I try to offer a flexible and stimulating environment where the children can be engaged in learning through interacting with materials around them. I try to form close partnerships with the childrenâ€™s families and I believe that collaboration between families and educators is vital and greatly benefits the children as well as being a vital part of my program. What is your biggest challenge as an educator? What strategies do you put in place to manage these challenges? The biggest challenges that I find in working in childcare are paper work and forever trying to slow down my day. It is difficult to balance the work time and spend more quality time with each child in my group. I am blessed that I have a very supportive team whom I can share some of my paperwork with. Recently, I have attended a workshop that helped me and my colleagues to try and cut the workload required for paper work and learn to balance our day. By running an indoor/outdoor program as well as being very organised helps me slow down my day as well as giving me the opportunity to spend more quality time with the children. How have the challenges you faced helped you to grow as an educator? I take these challenges and learn from them and put extra time and effort to achieve a positive outcome. By changing my mindset and the whole outlook of my practice, and by learning to be able to balance work and play, it has taught me to be more flexible and manage time more effectively.
What role do families play within the program you deliver? How do you engage them? I engage them by inviting parents to come in and spend some time with us, sharing their special talents with us, helping us with certain projects and/or reading stories. Every day the parents can visit our closed Facebook page where they can see what we have been doing, photos of their children, messages from me and my colleagues as well as asking parents if there are any topics they would like to incorporate in our program. What do you find rewarding about working in the early childhood sector? It is rewarding as it gives me the opportunity to make a difference to the lives of the children I look after. I enjoy playing and watching the children grow and be involved, extending their interests, educating them on a daily basis as well as guiding their behaviour. I love providing a stimulating and fun environment as well as developing a great relationship with families and children. What is the most important skill you hope to develop in the children you care for? I hope for children to develop their positive social relationships with others such as dealing with conflict and disappointments, showing concern when someone is sad and have the confidence to interact and be socially involved. What advice would you give to someone who wishes to start a career in early childhood education and care? My advice would be that if you enjoy working with children, have an important level of dedication and have a genuine passion and love in helping children develop and grow I say go for it! It is a very rewarding career.
ve an Do you ha tor story u g ed ca outstandin t to share? you wan story to Email your iance.org.au careall qld@child
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To eat or not to eat… or to eat someone else’s That is the question! Caitlyn Osborne - Student Dietitian, Deb Blakley - APD > Kids Dig Food
As an early childhood educator, spending so much time with little people is an opportunity to observe eating behaviours close-up. Most services will have regular timing for meals and snacks or perhaps a more relaxed eating schedule. Either way, during these times you’ve probably witnessed children trying to swap or share food, or sneak something from their neighbour’s lunchbox or plate! So how can you and should you intervene? And what if a child doesn’t seem to want to eat at all? I don’t want to eat There are many reasons why children may choose not to eat. In most cases, break times are for kids to eat and play. More time playing is often far more appealing than sitting and eating! Other reasons a child might not want to eat:
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• Feeling unwell • Big emotions - Upset/scared/angry/ worried/anxious • Bored of the same food each day • Don’t feel like eating what’s on offer • Teething • Not hungry
Not eating or eating little at certain times isn’t necessarily a cause for concern. We expect that kids’ appetites will fluctuate from hour to hour, day to day and week to week. They can be eating you out of the house one moment and surviving on air the next. But what do we do if a child is regularly leaving food uneaten? This then calls for a more in-depth discussion with parents.
Helpful questions you might ask of parents are:
• Too engaged in another activity
How well does “Joseph” eat at home?
• Over or under-stimulated
What are “Sienna’s” best and worst times of the day for eating?
• Tired/sleepy • Nutritional deficiency e.g. children with low iron or anaemia can present with poor appetite, which corrects when iron status is improved
Together, you and parents might be able to figure out whether any of the above factors are at play?
Parents, kids, educators – keep talking, keep communicating
what is offered, some food detective work might be needed.
Pressure – “You’ve hardly eaten
What do parents expect their children to eat while at childcare? Usually, their own lunch or what is provided to them. Each family has their own food rules which may reflect religious beliefs, food allergy or intolerance, cultural practices or personal preferences.
I’m exploring – We LOVE food
The balancing act
It is important that early childhood educators understand each child’s eating habits, rituals and needs. These must always be respected even if they’re different to yours. In some cases, eating someone else’s food can have severe consequences. This is the reason that high-risk allergy foods such as peanuts are excluded in early childhood education and care settings. Children may need to be reminded of their family’s food rules or food needs e.g. “Remember “Charlie”, you get a sore tummy when you eat cheese.” I’d rather eat someone else’s lunch Teach kids that eating food from their own lunch box or plate (and not someone else’s) helps keep us safe. It can be difficult for small children to understand why they can’t share someone’s food or swap food with a friend. They may be very used to sharing food within the home and we’re always encouraging children to “learn to share” with others. Aside from family food rules and individual child health needs, sharing food can also heighten the risk of infection sharing isn’t always caring! Reasons why fingers may be wandering to another lunch box…
I want what you’ve got! – Kids
are naturally curious. Sometimes what other people are eating just seems way more delicious, right? Communicate with parents if a child has been particularly interested in another food. It might help them expand food variety at home.
I’m still hungry – If a child is constantly sneaking food from others, are they getting enough to eat? Growth spurts can increase appetite. Could it be that they need to be offered more food or parents pack more from home? My food isn’t appealing to me – It can be tempting to offer the same foods or bland foods to children. If a child is regularly not interested in
exploration! Can you think of ways to help children explore different foods in a safe way? How can I support positive food experiences at childcare? Educators can lead positive lunchtime discussions that drive curiosity and interest in expanding food variety. We can begin by asking some of the following questions… • ➢‘What have you enjoyed most about your lunch today?’ This can drive a sense of pride and ownership for the child. • ➢‘Did you see something in someone else’s lunch that you thought looked delicious?’ • Provide kids with the opportunity to share their food-making experiences from home and diverse cultural cuisines – for example, talk about what they may have helped make for dinner the night before. • The old quote of: “Don’t do for kids what they can do for themselves” is certainly true of food and eating. Encourage children to be as independent with eating as possible. This continues to guide their food exploration and cultivate curiosity. • Use positive language around meal times and when discussing food. Avoid words such as ‘yuck’ or ‘hate’ as children are still developing their food preferences. Instead: “You’re still learning to like (broccoli)” is a wonderful way to acknowledge that the child isn’t quite eating a food yet, but you believe that one day they will!
anything. Just take a few more bites.” Early childhood educators, you are in a unique position to promote positive and safe mealtime experiences with the children in your care. It’s a bit of a balancing act but possible to respect family food rules, encourage kids to eat the food that is theirs (their plate, their lunchbox) and encourage curiosity of other foods. Regardless of whether your early childhood education and care service provides meals or they are supplied by parents, you can still use the Division of Responsibility in Feeding to guide you. In other words: 1. offer a variety of delicious and nutritious foods for children to choose from or encourage parents to provide variety in food choices from home 2. provide structure and predictability for the when and where of eating, including a calm and happy space for eating and enjoying food 3. understand and respect that each child is responsible for how much and whether they eat from what is on offer at any given meal or snack time Healthy food relationships are cultivated in familiar environments where there is respect, patience, understanding and curiosity. When you provide opportunities for the children in your care to express joy and love for their food, their fingers become less likely to wander to another lunchbox, plate or bowl. Eat happy! www.kidsdigfood.com.au
• Share your food and cooking experiences with the children in your care. What do you love to cook? What foods would you like to try? What isn’t helpful Talk about Good & Bad foods - Singling children out as having “good” or “bad” or “healthy” or “unhealthy” food in their lunchboxes, since children rarely have control over what is packed
Comparison – “Thomas, why don’t
you eat your banana? Eliza is eating hers!”
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“A little nonsens now and e is cherish then, ed by wisest me the n.”
Roald Da hl, Charlie a nd the Gre at Glass Elev ator
The opposite of play is not work.
Understanding the link between play and family wellbeing. Laurie Morrison > Co-Founder Bare Hands, BHSc (Comp Med)
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“The opposite of play is not work. It’s depression.” (Brown, 2010) Does that surprise you? You may have heard the saying that “All work and no play, makes Jack a dull boy.” Perhaps we could add, “All work and no play, makes Jill feel exhausted and overwhelmed.” Do you see evidence of this in the families you work with? Play is an antidote for depression The value of play and play-based learning for children is well recognised by Early Years educators who are encouraged to know the families in their community and plan activities that will help them meet the Early Years Learning Framework guidelines. (Barblett) Play is also essential for families and ‘plays’ a key part in the wellbeing of each individual in the family: mentally, emotionally and physically. Now, more than ever, we need to remind parents and care givers about the importance of play and encourage them to take time out of their busy week to connect with one another in simple, fun-filled activities. Family fun is certainly not a new idea but many people believe that they no longer have time for fun. It’s important for educators and health professionals, who have important influence on the family unit, to actively advocate for the need for play. Walt Disney was originally told that his idea for Disneyland was unrealistic and would never take off but he clearly understood the importance of families playing together. He said in later life, “We believed in our idea – a family park where parents and children could have fun together.” (Encyclopedia of World Biography) Believing in the importance of families having fun together is the starting point! What do you remember from your childhood? Was there time spent camping, fishing, playing board games, swimming, playing tiggy, water fights...?
The list of possibilities is endless and mostly very inexpensive. When you look back at your fondest memories, you may find they are often memories of times when you played. Times when you found yourself having a good belly laugh, when you played games or did something enjoyable with others! Each person has their own memories and those happy, playful times interwoven into the day-to-day stuff of life, add interest and vitality. Children are wonderful teachers and they are programmed to come along when adults most need to be reminded to take time out from the responsibilities of living, earning and raising their family. So many opportunities for connection are missed when children are told, “We’ll play later” or “There’s no time right now”. Playtime creates connection Encourage the families in your centre to put a play date on the calendar this week and plan one for yourself too. Decide on an activity and honour it as a top priority. Perhaps it will be a picnic on the weekend, making a game out of the veggie prep or spending an hour playing games with the family. Whatever it is, it will be time well spent and will create connection! What can educators do? Get five FREE sample articles, including Make time to play, to share with your community by visiting www.barehands.com.au/families. Laurie Morrison, co-founder of Bare Hands, has co-developed Resilient Families, to share straight talking common sense strategies and skills for happier, more harmonious families and bring clinically proven early intervention within reach of every family.
Some key facts about depression:
• Depression is a common mental disorder. Globally, more than 300 million people of all ages suffer from depression. • Depression is the leading cause of disability worldwide, and is a major contributor to the overall global burden of disease. • More women are affected by depression than men. • At its worst, depression can lead to suicide. • There are effective treatments for depression. (World Health Organisation, 2017)
More than ever, educators need to remind families about the d importance of play an the implications for healthy minds and bodies for each family member.
Three tips for families
Plan a weekly play date
Make it simple and inexpensive so no one is left out
Let the children lead the way, at least some of the time
Works Cited Barblett, L. (n.d.). Why Play Based Learning? Retrieved May 12, 2017, from Early Childhood Australia: http:// www.earlychildhoodaustralia.org.au/our-publications/every-child-magazine/every-child-index/every-childvol-16-3-2010/play-based-learning-free-article/ Bare Hands. (2015). Make time to play. Resilient Families , Sample article (1). Brown, B. (2010). The Gifts of Imperfection. Hazeldon Publishing. Encyclopedia of World Biography. (n.d.). Walt Disney Biography. Retrieved May 12, 2017, from Encyclopedia of World Biography: http://www.notablebiographies.com/De-Du/Disney-Walt.html
(Bare Hands, 2015)
World Health Organisation. (2017, Feb 01). Depression Fact Sheet. Retrieved May 12, 2017, from World Health Organisation: http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs369/en/
EARLY EDITION > SPRING 2017
Craigslea Sensitivity Unit Excursion Michelle Stanley (B.Ed), Teacher at the Prince Charles Hospital Early Education Centre
Our excited school readiness cherubs visited the amazing Craigslea Sensitivity Unit today. Opened in 1983, the Sensitivity Unit offers a unique and inspirational educational program to provide children and adults with a greater awareness of the needs and challenges faced by people with disabilities. Today our children, educators and parents learned about empathy, respect and acceptance, which is highly significant and beneficial in this day and age. Our morning began with a big discussion about safety, listening ears, and using our best manners. Hand in hand we boarded our bus and headed off on our adventure. Following our arrival, and with many of us moving to Prep next year, we were filled with wonderment as we walked through the big school
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grounds, observing children in their uniforms and using our quiet footsteps so that we didnâ€™t interrupt the big kids learning. When we arrived at the Sensitivity Unit, we were greeted very warmly by Miss Sharlene, who has a long history with the school and surrounding areas. We were welcomed to sit on the mat and show we were ready for learning. The children were all so focused and engaged as they learned about people who have very different needs to our own, often needs that we take for granted, and how people with different needs function in the world. Our children were fascinated and intrigued, and they learned that it is okay to be friends with children with different abilities, and we can even help them too!
After a quick morning tea, we moved into our small groups with our wonderful parent helpers and educators, and we embarked on a very enlightening learning journey. One of our activities included walking bravely through a special tunnel which was completely dark inside. With some of us holding hands, we moved through the tunnel, feeling our way around inside so we could get to the other side. The tunnel helped us to use our other senses, and give us some understanding of what it would be like to have no vision at all. On the wheelchairs, we learned to use our arms and not our legs, to coordinate and manoeuvre our bodies around the concrete, demonstrating the barriers that someone in a wheelchair would encounter in the community, especially having to
negotiate concrete edges and steep inclines. Some of us tried playing basketball in the wheelchair, as well as learning to turn with one hand and move backwards to get ourselves out of corners. The children also participated in activities that involved wearing special goggles that were specially designed for children to understand severe vision impairment. The goggles were either blocked out with tiny holes, or clear with black dots painted right in the middle. Some were also blacked out halfway across from the outside in, or inside out which made vision very challenging. These goggles showed us just how restricted people with vision impairment are. When our children had their turn to wear the goggles, they attempted tricky activities such as the balance beams in the obstacle course as well as using the wheel boards to throw balls into a net.
They also enjoyed the beautiful sensory garden where they used their sense of smell, sniffing different herbs and flowers. Further activities involved wearing blindfolds to match shapes, attempt puzzles through touching and feeling the shapes, and different types of games that are played by people without vision impairment. The children also had the amazing experience of learning about Braille, and how words are created with tiny dots that vision impaired people can feel with their fingers when they read. Another super activity had many children stepping right out of their comfort zone, as they wore black masks to walk across a floor with a very soft and uneven surface. This showed children what it would be like to have very low muscle tone, and how legs/muscles feel when they walk normally, which is very different to how we feel when we walk on solid ground.
Some children also had a go at writing and cutting with their non-dominant hand, which was very challenging and required great focus and skill. Our learning journey today was absolutely amazing and really beneficial for our children to experience being in the shoes of someone who has a disability. When we returned to our centre, we talked at length about what we learned, and how much this visit to the Unit has changed our perspective on life. Thank you to wonderful Sharlene Emanuel, Unit Coordinator at the Craigslea Sensitivity Unit, and her incredible volunteers, for this wonderful and insightful learning experience. We recommend it to everyone! Send an email to Sharlene at email@example.com.
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Why children who make their beds are forming a powerful habit for success Deanna Bax > Daughter of Linique Co-Founder Erika Bax
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“But mum, do I have to…?”
It establishes routine
As a young child, I remember being stubbornly resistant to making my bed in the morning. It seemed a rather pointless task, in my young five year old mind, considering I would be snuggled back in its covers that very night. However to my mother’s credit she persisted and eventually, though reluctantly, I started to pull up the covers and arrange my teddies in a neat row.
Perhaps the reason I resisted pulling up my covers, was I knew it was cutting off the option of jumping straight back into bed and snuggling up in my warm blankets. In this respect, my mother was creating a morning routine for my siblings and I, in which making our bed signalled the start to another day. As children, we thrived on the consistent rituals and despite our family having various sporting and school commitments our mornings were mostly smooth and efficient. Consistent behaviours such as making the bed is an easy and consistent task that can help children to establish routine and time management.
Now twenty years on, I have begun to notice that this seemingly small task continues to pop up as being a key behaviour in establishing habits that lead to success. Most notably is Navel Admiral William McRaven’s famous commencement speech to the University of Texas, in which the former US Special Operations Commander states, “If you want to change the world, start off by making your bed.” Teaching children to make their bed is setting them up for powerful character Navel Admiral traits that will assist them in later life. Here’s how; illiam McRaven
“If you want to d, change the worl ing start off by mak your bed.” -
It teaches self-discipline
Learning to follow through with tasks regardless of how we feel is a critical skill in pursuing any difficult endeavour. Little did I know that by making my bed every morning I was practising the habit of acting on what was right over what was easy or what I felt like doing. Renowned author of the Four Hour Work Week and successful venture capitalist, Tim Ferris, praises making his bed as amongst his most important morning rituals. He claims that it reiterates the trait of discipline and starts off his day with accomplishment. By encouraging children early on to do the same it is using a modest task to build selfdiscipline which can be applied to larger endeavours when the time comes.
It reinforces care and effort Growing up I had a very influential teacher who told me that to be great we have to make excellence a habit. This meant putting care into the small things such as brushing our teeth and making our bed. Though mundane at best, over time consistent effort in the small things can amount to large outcomes. In an ever consumer driven world, teaching children to take care and pride in their possessions is an invaluable quality.
So despite my initial objections, I am glad my Mum insisted on this simple task. Nowadays I continue to start my day with this small win and enjoy the sense of pride and accomplishment it brings. I also plan on utilising this habit to emphasise discipline, routine and care with my own children someday in the hope that it helps them grow into successful adults. Linique is an Australian owned company who manufacturers customised sheets for childcare centres and Kindergartens. For more information about how you or your parents can get sheets specific to your beds see our website Linique.com.au Or contact us via: Telephone: 07 3162 3406 Facebook: www.facebook.com/liniquesheets
EARLY EDITION > SPRING 2017
Understanding social media risks The team at Guild Insurance
Social media use is an ever-increasing form of communication for many people in both their personal and professional lives. It presents people with many benefits in allowing them to communicate a variety of messages to many people with great speed and efficiency. However, those benefits need to be balanced with the many risks social media presents. There are endless examples where people appear to have not stopped and thought before theyâ€™ve posted on social media. Poorly considered social media posts can and do
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affect the personal and professional reputation and image of individuals as well as businesses; even if the post isnâ€™t directly related to a business.
The following tips will assist individuals and businesses manage their risks when using social media.
Have a business plan for how and why social media is to be used When deciding whether or not to create a business social media presence, it’s very easy to think ‘if everyone else is doing it, so should I’. However there needs to be greater thought put into this decision. The decision to use social media should be well thought out and based on a company’s needs and business plans; the benefits and risks need to be considered. Business social media should be based on business requirements, not personal views Business owners and managers need to be sure that when they make a decision on whether to use social media for their business, this decision is based on the needs of the organisation, not the owner’s/ manager’s personal views of social media. For example, a person who chooses to not use Twitter for personal use may still decide it’s a great tool for them professionally. Business decisions and personal decisions regarding social media use should be separated. Create clear business guidelines and processes regarding who is able to post on social media and how this is to be done Due to the risks associated with social media interactions, it’s very important that businesses have a clear process for who is responsible for posting on social media. The person undertaking this role needs to understand when social media is an appropriate form of communication and what sort of messages are to be shared using social media. This process should also provide guidance on how often social media is monitored and responded to and how to respond to negative comments. Consider training for those staff responsible for social media It’s often assumed that young people are well versed in social media use however this isn’t always the case. Also, not all users of social media
understand appropriate business use and its associated risks. Therefore, it’s worth considering training in social media communications and its risks for the responsible staff members. Understand the social media site you’re using There’s a wide variety of social media sites available to businesses, all providing similar yet different benefits. When a business is using any of these sites, it’s very important they understand the various functions within that site. Not fully understanding how a site works is going to increase the risks of using it. Consider what messages should be shared using social media All businesses have various ways in which they communicate with their customers and clients. Social media is generally designed for short sharp messages, yet not all information suits this style of communication. When businesses are communicating with their customers, they need to carefully consider how that particular message should be shared. Carefully consider the implications of engaging with clients on social media Professionals and businesses should consider if social media is an appropriate forum for them to be communicating with clients, both through business or personal accounts. Engagement through personal accounts can blur professional boundaries. When using business accounts, some conversations may not suit social media, especially if the conversation appears in a public setting. It’s important to consider what conversations are best had away from social media and when to take a discussion off line.
a personal social media account in their own time will have no bearing or impact on them professionally. However, this is not the case. Whether fair or not, professionals are always representing their profession and professional self and therefore this needs to be considered before any personal post is made. Don’t believe that any post is ever private Too often people post information on social media which they intended to remain private and not be seen widely. However social media can never truly be private. Many online groups claim to be private and state that members require approval. However non-approved users don’t need to be particularly savvy to access these groups and then share or copy information being posted. Professionals need to remember that if they don’t want their colleagues, clients or competitors seeing a social media post, it should never be posted on either personal or business accounts. Never post in haste, all posts need to be carefully considered As mentioned earlier, social media is designed for quick short messages to be shared widely. This means social media can encourage messages to be shared with little thought or planning which on occasions leads to poorly worded messages which are easily misinterpreted. It’s important to pause and think through a message before it’s shared. For more information, please Guild Insurance on 1800 810 213.
Understand that you can no longer separate personal and professional use Unfortunately, many people hold a view that what they write within
Guild Insurance Limited ABN 55 004 538 863, AFS Licence No. 233 791. This article contains information of a general nature only, and is not intended to constitute the provision of legal advice. Guild Insurance supports your Association through the payment of referral fees for certain products or services you take out with them.
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Technology, Love it, Hate it, Tolerate it Our journey of transition towards a paperless community Lisa Deland > A Head Start Children’s Centres
In a world which is dominated by technology, it is a natural progression for working communities to embrace the challenges of establishing a comprehensive digital reporting and communication system. Within the early years sector there are many such programs available, presenting centre Directors with the challenges of not only overseeing the educational needs of the service, but the resulting technological demands. At A Head Start Children’s Centres on the Gold Coast we have accepted the task of modifying our practices to meet the needs of the digital world. Every change brings resistance, and obstacles inevitably emerged as documentation systems were remodelled. These were overcome as the benefits to practitioners and management became clear. Several educators embraced the challenge of mastering the online system, whilst others remained fearful of engagement due to a lack of understanding and interest in technology. Concise training sessions for educators, and personalised instruction for families were necessary to ensure success. Families adapted to a new, sophisticated and continuous method of sharing and collating information. Working as an educator, administrator and parent I have been able to evaluate our transitional period objectively. Problems included the provision of appropriate hardware for all learning areas. A range of modern, user friendly equipment, including computers and cameras was introduced. This worked well despite occasional unreliable internet connections to centres – an issue faced by many local businesses, but one which is constantly diminishing. For the educators, writing observations and daily diaries has now become a pleasure. Photographs can be constantly updated and stored, with observations set up in draft form enabling the development of lengthy observations over a period of time, or the creation of short observations to meet specific needs. A crucial element of any observation is the addition of photographic evidence – a tool which honestly portrays moments of learning and exploration. Images added to the child’s individual gallery supports a high-quality learning portfolio. One benefit is the compilation of the child’s memories, shared instantly with parents and relatives. More broadly, the technology adds to the learning outcomes of all children. It reinforces their sense of identity, fosters group and individual development, strengthens their sense of well-being and develops communication and learning skills. Centre news is also featured, together with the Calendar of Events, enabling families to plan ahead. The sense of fulfillment arising from the capture and sharing of special moments with families is rewarding. An efficient feedback loop supports constant communication and reflection between educators and parents. This twoway process is invaluable for all involved. There is an administrative advantage in that all evidence validating the updated National Quality Standards
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Assessment and Rating Process, and institutional compliance with the regulations is now easily collected and accessed. For example, during a recent Assessment and Rating of one centre, our online QIP and Strengths Report which had been accumulated over a period of time enabled the collation of evidence in a concise and timely manner. It is also obvious that an online compliance system provides a more efficient record than a paper trail. Despite a popular trend to blame technology for any shortcomings, the majority of errors are due to human shortcoming. Online systems, patience, training and experience provide significantly increased accuracy. Above all, our transition to online systems has enabled us to build and extend relationships between our centres and families, drawing together our early learning community in an efficient, paperless environment. This is in line with a recent move by our national authority AQECQA who are currently in the process of migrating towards the same trend.
Educator Connections Be your own super woman The Team at MyLife MySuper
Angela*, an early childhood educator, was 40 when she had a wake-up call about her retirement. Sure, it was a good 25 years away, but Angela saw how her 75-year-old neighbour Mary lived pension-to-pension and struggled to meet her every day expenses. Angela was managing reasonably well financially – but she wasn’t sure how she’d get by when she finished work. All she knew was that she didn’t want her retirement years to be a struggle. So she wisely took a fresh look at her super and found that just putting an extra $20 into super each week would make a huge difference when she reached retirement age.
Congratulations Gwynn! Our very own Gwynn Bridge has been appointed a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) in the General Division for her significant service to the community through leadership in the early childhood care and education sector.
There is a common misconception that super is a ‘set and forget’ investment. But it is vital that everyone, especially women, take control of their super as early as possible and empower themselves to shape the retirement they want. Because of lower salaries (on average) and breaks from the workforce to have children, women are retiring on far less than their male counterparts. According to the Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia (ASFA), the average superannuation account balance for women 60-64 years of age is $138,154 compared to $292,510 for men. Yet on average, women live longer than men. Women can expect to live 20 years past retirement age – that’s another quarter life! If you don’t want your retirement years to be a struggle, be your own super woman and put a little extra into your super. Every little bit counts. www.mylifemysuper.com.au
*Angela’s story is based on real life stories we’ve heard from our members. *Life expectancy information from the Australian Bureau of Statistics: ABS Life Tables 2013-2015
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Get to know your committee
Rosa McDonald Meet Rosa McDonald, ACA Qld committee member since 2015. I recognised the importance of Australian Childcare Alliance Queensland (ACA Qld) early on as a newly appointed approved provider in 2010 and valued their endeavours, support, lobbying actions and the annual conference held each year. I joined ACA Qld as a committee member because I wanted to support all approved providers and the early childhood education and care sector. I trust that my background in business management, early childhood teaching qualification and my experience and knowledge will support the rich blend of highly experienced professionals within the committee group. I am one of the newest members on the committee since joining two years ago. I am also a committee member of the Queensland Healthy Kids Advisory Group in coordination with the Health Department representing ACA Qld. I have recently become a board member for the College for Australian Early Childhood Educators (CAECE) which is your registered training organisation owned by ACA Qld. At times, I have been involved in state and federal government meetings and forums, which are high level discussions, decision making and acting roles, that not only represent ACA Qld, but have a voice for the entire industry. The committeeâ€™s annual conference is always the highlight of the year and is a great time to network and gain knowledge from the professional development opportunities. The committee meet each month and I am amazed at the level of dedication by everyone on the committee and the effect it has on many facets of the sector. I feel privileged to act in this role. If you are considering nominating for a position on the committee just take a moment to call our office to see how you can join. I am grateful for being part of the committee which has certainly developed me as a person both personally and professionally.
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