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Vol. 3 • No. 1 • Jan/Feb 2 011

Back to School Special High Hopes for High School Why Further Education? Preparing Your Child for School Weight Wise Kids

An Interview with

Susanne Gervay


Jan/Feb 2011


This Month’s





Editorial Your Letters


Spotlight An Interview with Susanne Gervay Back to School


An Interview with Susanne Gervay Get Ahead Kids® © MAP Marketing 2010 Publisher MAP Marketing ABN 38 003 493 007 Villa Franca, 2 Scott St. Newcastle NSW 2300 P: 02 4929 7766 Managing Editor Maria Charlton MAP Marketing ABN 38 003 493 007 Villa Franca, 2 Scott St. Newcastle NSW 2300 P: 02 4929 7766 Graphic Design Katie Hurst MAP Marketing P: 02 4929 7766 Advertising Maria Charlton MAP Marketing ABN 38 003 493 007 Villa Franca, 2 Scott St. Newcastle NSW 2300 P: 02 4929 7766

Preparing Your Child for School


Back to School


High Hopes for High School


Weight Wise Kids


Why Further Education?


Giveaway Australian Reptile Park & Wildlife Sanctuary Health


Caring for Your Child’s Smile - What Every Parent Needs to Know: The Changing Smile - The Arrival of Permanent Teeth


Is 20/20 Sight Good Enough?


A Mother’s View on the Benefits of Ballet


Advertorial Famous Aussie Gets New Lease on Life News


Reunifying Separated Siblings


Get Authors or Illustrators for Your Next Event


New Hunter Wetlands Education Centre


Giveaway Taronga Zoo, Sydney


Book Reviews


Advertisers Index


Activity Zone

Get Ahead Kids® is published by Marketing Advisers for Professionals Pty Ltd T/A MAP Marketing. The views expressed in this publication are not necessarily those of the publisher. The publisher does not accept responsibility for the opinions, errors or omissions.


Editorial In the Jan/Feb issue, we offer Back to School information for the entire family from pre-schoolers right through to school leavers. Marianne Schriever’s article on ‘Preparing Your Child for School’ is a great article that also has an invaluable checklist for parents of school ready children. Rev. Dr. Kim Miller’s story on ‘Back to School’ is a heart warming account of the challenge of going back to school after the long summer break. Aleesah Darlison provides important insights for children going to high school for the first time.

‘Keeping a Holiday Journal’ had very inspiring ideas to help my kids and I share the wonderful times in the holidays together. Great magazine! K. Walker, Belmont NSW

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Get Ahead Kids® Jan/Feb 11

‘Holiday Fun... Don’t Be a Spectator’ gave me some ideas about other things to do when it is either too hot or too wet and we both need something to keep us occupied and happy - particularly as I approach my second trimester of pregnancy and madam 3½ anticipates becoming a big sister and all the responsibilities that it entails.

Although there are over 978,000 students enrolled for university studies, we pose the question whether this is the right course of action for your child. This issue marks Get Ahead Kids’ 2nd birthday. It has been an exciting 2 years and I am so grateful to our contributors, advertisers, NCP Printing and my wonderful staff for making this publication such a success. Maria Charlton Managing Editor P: 02 4929 7766

‘Holiday Fun... Don’t Be a Spectator’ is a great article. We as parents need to be involved in our childrens lives in every aspect and to be a great role model for them as well. M. Roberts, Belmont NSW

The article I most enjoyed from the Nov/Dec issue was ‘Behaviour’ by Dorte Bladt. Why? I am a primary school teacher and this article allowed me a greater insight into the reasons why some children display challenging behaviour and also ideas about where to and who to go to for help - just added a few extra tools into the toolbox! Thanks. G. Baker, Bolwarra Heights NSW

B. Townsend, Mayfield East NSW Please send letters and stories with ‘Behaviour’ by Dorte Bladt is very informative and offers good advice worth remembering when dealing with my grandson. Very interested in the lasting effects of difficult birth the success of chiropractic therapy. S. Joyce, Mayfield NSW

your name and contact details to: Get Ahead Kids® Villa Franca, 2 Scott St. Newcastle NSW 2300 F: 02 4929 7827


An Interview with

Susanne Gervay How do you contribute to the education of kids? Relating to stories and becoming emotionally engaged can facilitate learning, personal growth and development. Readers can become fellow travellers in the story journeys. My stories draw teachers, young people, parents, bystanders and the community into unique experiences that can empower them to understand and work towards a positive future. My books explore into important areas - school bullying in ‘I Am Jack’, blended families and aging grandparents in ‘Super Jack’, breast cancer in ‘Always Jack’, disability in ‘Butterflies’, youth male culture in ‘The Cave’, and father-daughter relationships in ‘That’s Why I Wrote This Song’. These books feature relatable characters, strong narratives, search for identity and invite readers into new experiences that may empower them to make new choices.

My books are endorsed by organisations including Room to Read, bringing literacy to children of developing countries, the Children’s Hospital Westmead Sydney, Life Education Australia, The Alannah and Madeline Foundation, and the Cancer Council Australia. ‘I Am Jack’ is widely used in antischool bullying programmes throughout Australia and is beginning to be used internationally. My young adult novel ‘Butterflies’ is recognised as outstanding youth literature on disability. I was flown to New York to speak at the World Burn Congress 2009 about the power of ‘Butterflies’ to partner young people on that great challenge of growing up with severe burns. Where did you go to school? I attended Daceyville Public School in the Eastern Suburbs of Sydney. In high school, I went to SCEGGS Darlinghurst Sydney.

Tell us about your family. My parents were post war Hungarian refugees who found a home in Australia. My parents escaped from Hungary with my older brother when he was a baby. My younger sister and I were born in Australia. My parents worked very hard to rebuild their lives. They wanted us to get a good education, because that is something no one can take from you and education allows you the best opportunity to be all that you can be. My brother became an engineer, my sister became a special education teacher and I became a teacher, educational consultant and eventually an author. What are your hobbies? My hobbies include reading, going to the theatre, walking, seeing friends and family, going out for massages or to the movies with my daughter.

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Spotlight What was your first job? My parents had a clothing factory. My mother did the fashion designs and my father did the business. The hours they worked were really long and most weekends, so my sister and I were often in the factory. My first job was working for my parents. There were thousands of dresses, skirts, tops hanging in racks in the factory. I was eight years old and paid for every label I looped onto the dresses. What are your career highlights? There are so many highlights and these are not always related with winning awards although I have been honoured with multiple awards. My highlights are those powerful experiences of reaching readers through story and partnering them in their lives. I was honoured by the New York Presbyterian Hospital, Weill Cornell Medical College, the New York Firefighters Burn Foundation and The Phoenix Society for burn survivors who flew me to New York to speak at the World Burn Congress about the power of my young adult novel ‘Butterflies’. Speaking at the World Burn Congress was one of the great moments of my life. I am a confident speaker who has addressed major conferences and festivals throughout the world, but I was nervous. How could I address this audience? What if ‘Butterflies’ did not capture their journeys? After my one hour talk, a line of people wound around the room with ‘Butterflies’ to sign. They wanted to touch and connect with me. The moment when a girl with facial reconstruction spoke and told me ‘I’m 15, nearly 16’ with her softly spoken voice and we touched hands, nothing more had to be said. It was powerful - she wanted to know if there was a future for her, and there is.


Get Ahead Kids® Jan/Feb 11

The adaptation of ‘I Am Jack’ into a play by Monkey Baa Theatre for Young People as been an extended highlight with its first season touring NSW and the Outback in 2008 and its second season touring the Eastern States in 2009. It will do a national Australian tour in 2011. Being involved in the back of theatre has been an insight into the wonderful world of creativity with talented set designers, technical designers, production managers and of course the brilliant creative team of Monkey Baa Theatre, Eva Di Cesare, Sandie Eldridge and Tim McGarry. The audience responses are a continual highlight from outback indigenous community shows to the theatre at the Seymour Centre Sydney. My collaboration with my talented song writer daughter Tory Gervay to create an integrated experience of story through video clip, film, lyrics, music, performance and text resulted in our book ‘That’s Why I Wrote This Song’. Seeing her perform her songs at the launch of ‘That’s Why I Wrote This Song’ at Bondi Pavilion overlooking the beach and ABC TV’s RAGE playing the video clip of ‘Psycho Dad’ were special highlights for me as a mother and author. Receiving the Lady Cutler Award for Services to Children’s Literature was especially meaningful to me, as it was from my peers and a validation of my commitment to youth literature.

What do you value most in life? My children, family and the legacy left by my parents are deeply valuable in my life. However I also value being useful in whatever I do - creating an arts and literary life at The Hughenden Hotel, promoting youth literature as a board member at The NSW Writers Centre, nurturing new writers and illustrators, writing stories that empower and offer positive choices for young people and adults, being a good friend, being there for my family, taking care of my aging mother, engaging in the great debates of the world from climate change to racial equality and hoping to make a small difference. What is your most unforgettable personal experience? My beloved father was a guiding light in my life as a man of courage and integrity. When he died I did not know you could have that much pain and live. I remember being in the hospital and gasping for air as if my life force has been sucked out. However my father gave me his gift of courage. Today his memory has settled inside me now with love. I know that he is proud of my writing. What is your favourite Australian destination and why? I love every part of Australia from the open red desert of Western

Spotlight Australia, the Great Barrier Reef with its teeming sea life, Sydney’s magnificent harbour, the small towns in inland Victoria on that drive from Sydney to the Great Ocean Road. As an author I have travelled Australia extensively speaking in remote outback towns to the Gold Coast for festivals with sun and sand to Byron Bay with its alternative lifestyle to the wild and rugged Blue Mountains. I love it all. My favourite, if I have to be pushed would be home in Sydney overlooking Bondi Beach. I love the ocean, beach, the cultural diversity; the cliff walks on the edge of Australia, the community experiences from music at Bondi Pavilion to the Festival of the Winds with kites filling the sky. What is your best overseas experience? Speaking at the UBUD Readers and Writers Festival in Bali, was one of the best overseas experiences I have ever had. The Festival was under the auspices of the non-profit Saraswati Foundation for the Arts, a Bali-based organization devoted to literacy education and the cultivation of artistic and cultural collaboration between east and west. This Festival brought together nations and organisations committed to literature in its role in the promotion of understanding and tolerance. With the second Bali bombings, the festival was even more important. Those supporting the festival included United Nations through its HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) programme, which has been actively supporting young Indonesian artists and writers; Australia-Indonesia Institute, Australia Council, Indonesian Government, Royal family of UBUD as well as others. The closing ceremony held at Agung Rai Museum of Arts was a highlight where cultures,

generations, organisations united in celebrating children as our future writers and readers. It was a special moment when Booker Prize winner Michael Ondaatje handed each child their award and a fitting finale to a celebration of literature. What do your books offer readers? I hope my books not only include but go beyond literacy, into personal growth and development from readers in their search for meaning. Please tell us about your latest book ‘Always Jack’. ‘Always Jack’ is the third book in my Jack book series. It is a warm, loving, funny and quirky story of a family with Nanna who loves buying bargains, Mum who does star jumps, the sister Samantha who loves dogs, family, friends and of course Jack. Jack’s a photographer and loves experimenting. He’s creating a new vegetable called a Ponto and he tells lots of jokes. His best mate is Christopher whose parents came from Vietnam. Jack is a regular kid, but life isn’t regular. His Mum is

marrying his soon-to-be step dad and there’s his son Leo to contend with. Love is in the air between Jack and Anna. But, everything comes to a standstill when Mum is diagnosed with breast cancer. It’s a child’s worst nightmare that something could happen to their parents and this becomes a reality for Jack. ‘Always Jack’ covers kids’ fears and hopes, the ways they react with a parent being sick. It gives a voice to kids, understanding of what’s happening and positive ways they can deal with it. Breast cancer is viewed as an adult issue. It’s more than that. It impacts on the whole family, especially kids. This book touches kids and parents. Always Jack was launched during Breast Cancer Awareness Month in 2010.

More Information

Always Jack Author: Susanne Gervay Illustrator: Cathy Wilcox Life is finally better for Jack; he has a happy family life, enriching friendships, inventing the ponto and the beginning of sexual awakening when he is with Anna. But trouble looms on the home front as Jacks’ mother is diagnosed cancer. This is a heart-warming tale on the effects of breast cancer on family life. Susanne’s gifted writing style allows readers to appreciate the seriousness of this disease without allowing it to become the depressing read.

Thumbs up for Susanne who survived cancer and can write it in a highly readable way from Jack’s point of view. Age Guide: 8-13 years Extent: 160 Pages (Paperback) ISBN: 9780732290207 Price: AU$14.99 Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers P: 1300 551 721


Preparing Your Child for

School By Marianne Schriever

Some parents think that if their children are bright, they’ll be able to cope, but in reality, coping with school is as much about survival in the playground, as it is doing well in the classroom. A child, who can’t cope socially, finds it hard to concentrate on schoolwork, while feeling isolated from others. We must remember that we are all basically social creatures and our happiness depends on how well we can negotiate our style, values, attitudes and beliefs within the social network rather than opting for isolation. For this reason, the social learning that takes place outside the classroom has no parallel and is indispensable in a society geared to age differentiation, competition and co-operation.

The readiness of any child for pre-school and school must be considered on an individual basis. The most important aspect to consider is to think about how your child is developing, more than the date of birth. The timing of entry to pre-school and subsequently school is your choice and responsibility as a parent. Ensure that the decision you make has been made in the best interest of your child and not for other reasons. Over many years I have seen children suffer extreme hardships and anxiety during their first years at school, because they were not physically, socially and emotionally ready.

Research indicates that children school readiness is critical to their confident start and their success at school. It is never too early to prepare your child for school. Parents can help prepare their children by being aware of the skills needed for entering school. Then parents need to be conscientious and deliberate in providing opportunities for their children to develop these skills. The best training for school is a happy home where children have learnt to laugh, cuddle, talk, play, be active, help, wait, watch and above all believe in themselves. The next best training is time in a program such as Gymbaroo, where researched programs and specially designed equipment encourage critical skills for early learning, especially literacy.

FIRST CLASS IS FREE FOR BABIES & CRAWLERS • Research based programs • Professional qualified instructors • Parent information & home activities • Movement, music & specially designed equipment • Encourage critical skills for early learning & literacy Over 30,000 Aussie mums, dads, babies and children enjoy Gymbaroo every week. A 100% Aussie owned program leading the world and recognised by the world’s top experts in early childhood development.

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Get Ahead Kids® Jan/Feb 11

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Back to School Sensory motor stimulation through movement, massage, songs, games and dancing enhances the child’s brain development. Children learn climbing, jumping, swinging and ball skills, as well as balance, co-ordination, spatial and temporal awareness. These are all crucial pre-requisites for formal learning at school. Time at pre-school will help them learn to cut, draw, construct, listen, share, write, stack, pack and most of all help them to participate and manage without mum. School readiness is not just educational, it needs to be combined with a preparedness of the body, soul, mind and ego. In general, children are ready for formal learning, when they have most the skills in the checklist below. They are all set to have fun and enjoy their education. If they are struggling with many of these skills, then don’t rush school entry. Seek advice from your Gymbaroo or pre-school teacher or consult a specialist in the area of total child development. Preparing your child thoroughly for school will make a huge difference.

School Readiness Checklist Social Skills ❑❑ Able to trust & relate to other adults ❑❑ Able to take directions from other adults ❑❑ Able to go to pre-school without tears ❑❑ Able to mix happily with other children at pre-school ❑❑ Able to take turns & share ❑❑ Has begun to have friends over to play ❑❑ Has special friends & can talk about them in conversation

❑❑ Speech is understandable to tell about experiences ❑❑ Can follow two simple instructions ❑❑ Can understand most concept words ❑❑ Enjoys looking at pictures & talking about them ❑❑ Enjoys listening to stories ❑❑ Can remember parts of favourite book or story ❑❑ Can repeat some nursery rhymes or finger plays ❑❑ Can sing some kindergarten songs ❑❑ Knows basic colours

Emotional Skills

❑❑ Can draw people with three or four recognisable features

❑❑ Able to separate from parent easily

❑❑ Has some control over pencil while colouring

❑❑ Has confidence in own abilities

❑❑ Holds pencil correctly

❑❑ Able to participate in activities by self

❑❑ Attempts to write

❑❑ Able to participate in group activities

❑❑ Shows curiosity

❑❑ Able to exercise some self control ❑❑ Able to take responsibilities for getting started, packing up

❑❑ Can count own fingers ❑❑ Wants to learn by asking questions ❑❑ Able to attempt to solve simple problems

❑❑ Able to concentrate for short periods up to 10 minutes

This article was first published in First Steps #58, Oct 2007. It is reprinted with permission from Toddler Kindy GymbaROO.

Physical Skills


If children are not ready for school, they get off to a bad start. It is very difficult for them to catch up and no matter how much is done from the sidelines by parents or teachers, the children often give up the fight. If they happen to have a strong ego, they are most likely to write off school and give teachers a hard time. If they are less confident, they are more likely to write themselves off and give themselves a hard time.

❑❑ Able to take personal care of eating

Keep in mind that your children’s school experiences will be their launching pad into life. How well we can prepare them for it and then help them to cope with the challenges on their minds, hearts, bodies and souls will be the best legacy we leave for our children.

❑❑ Has developed fine motor skills to manage equipment in the classroom

Marianne Schriever has been active in education for over thirty years as a principal, teacher, tutor and educational consultant in local and overseas schools. She is currently a neurodevelopmental consultant, and teacher trainer for GymbaROO. She also assists primary schools in establishing the GymbaROO Sensory-Motor-Perceptual activity program, a program designed to assist children in ‘catching up’ developmental immaturities that are ‘road blocks’ to learning.

❑❑ Is aware of other children’s needs

❑❑ Able to take personal care of dressing ❑❑ Able to take personal care of toileting ❑❑ Has developed a preferred hand, eye & ear ❑❑ Has developed gross motor skills to manage equipment in the playground

❑❑ Can cut & paste with ease Educational Skills ❑❑ Can talk in sentences, not just in two or three words to express own needs

More Information Toddler Kindy GymbaROO P: 03 9817 3544


Back to School

Back to

School So we’re talking about going back to school. I think my Mum had the right idea. When kids are going back to school they need something to get them over the emotional speed bump that comes at the end of holidays. So she would round us all up and find the lists of what we needed for the new school year (the one we got as we went on holidays last year and now it’s lost) and we’d spend up at the stationery counter of our country town newsagent. There’d be exercise books, pens, pencils, new rulers and pencil sharpeners, the whole deal. Somehow spending up like this would slow down the anxiety that was trying to sneak in the back door. The anxiety of a schoolboy - What if I forget everything I learned last year? What if the new teacher doesn’t like me? What if my mates end up in a different class? A few other ‘what ifs’ in there rounded out the package. To keep my mind distracted I would spread out the new gear and check it all. Yep, it was still all there. It was still new and unused. Still waiting for me to carve off the end of the pencils to write my name on the soft wood, and to write my name on the exercise books – the neatest writing I would do all year. You know the drill, you’ve all been there in some measure!

10 Get Ahead Kids® Jan/Feb 11

So my question is, why do we remember these things so well? It’s a whole new spin on the theme, ‘Going back to school.’ These new beginnings, they stick in our heads, don’t you think? School experiences are hardly up there in significance like the birth of our children and yet it takes only a slight reminder and out comes all those memories. But would we want to go back there? That ‘back to school’ thing, it gets to us. I suppose it’s because so much of our lives are forged in school. We become who we are in our school years and we’re pretty well stuck with being that person for the rest of our life. But, there is often a yearning for yet another new beginning. We hear this when somebody says, ‘If only I had my time over again…’ It’s the admission that there is something about us that we’d like to change, and the only way to change it is to go back to where it all began and do something differently. Would I go back and do it differently? Perhaps - I might not spend such energy on flicking spit balls up to the ceiling, something I gave up as I left year nine, having developed some considerable expertise at it over five years. Maybe I’d choose more productive skills second time around. Still, a good spit ball well placed is not too bad! Would I want to go back to the chemical warfare of high school testosterone? We enter high school as nice enough kids and by year nine we’ve morphed into complete idiots. Would I go back to that? Nah I remember it too well.

The school yard strut as some boys grow unfairly faster than their peers the embarrassment of a body that does things of its own accord at all the wrong times and places - the fearful reshaping of boy/girl relationships. Think I’ll give that one a miss, thank you very much. I did go back to school for a while. I took on coaching my son’s cricket team. Thursday mornings early at the nets, Saturdays playing cricket. Another Dad joined us, but only one. We were a good team, two Dads and a dozen boys every week. There should have been more Dads. The community of school is enriched when parents go back to school in this manner. Fathers seem a rare commodity in schools. Recently I had the pleasure of reading Susanne Gervay’s new book ‘Always Jack’. Jack has an infectious sense of silliness, but he’s a little kid facing a big issue. His mother is diagnosed with breast cancer and his quirky jokes suddenly go dry. My son was in that place at a similar age. He was ten years old and I would walk with him to school and home again in the afternoon. My wife was in hospital with breast cancer and between home and school he would share his fears. She had months of surgery, radiation and chemo-therapy. So we would walk along the footpath, the two of us, other kids passing in their groups and laughing with each other, and he would say ‘Is Mum going to die?’ It’s not really a school question, is it? But his questions were surrounded by his school experience. Would the teacher see the extent of his fear?

Back to School

Would she understand his lack of concentration? Would the other kids give him space? Would the bullying kids pick up on his vulnerability? What if somebody laughed at him?

But it’s not all serious stuff. If you want to know how to get somebody to eat a can of dog food, Clem lets you in on the secret. OK, I admit it, there’s still a bit of year nine in me.

School is such an energised environment. Bad things can seem worse, but good things can be enhanced. That is the power of this place where we spend so many hours of our younger life.

Good things, bad things, wounding, healing - these are all so possible in schools.

I wrote a book about a boy in school. It’s a young adult novel called ‘They Told Me I Had To Write This’. The character, Clem, is in Rocky Valley High, a school for boys who do not fit normal school, or as Clem says, ‘The boys who are too hot to handle’. I had to invent the school for the book but I hope something similar is out there. Things happen differently in Rocky Valley. It’s where Clem finds healing for the abuse that happened to him some years earlier, ironically when he was in ‘normal’ school.

If I was to go back to school, I think I’d choose Rocky Valley High. Maybe that’s why I wrote the book in the first place. It’s my attempt to ‘go back and do things differently’ in my own life. If you are reading this magazine you are probably a parent of a child in a school. My advice is, go back to school. Get deeply involved with your child’s school. Immerse yourself, jump right in, feet first, boots and all. It will not only help you to better form the lives of your children, it will also give you the chance to revisit some of the things you could have done better the first time round.


More Information

Rev. Dr. Kim Miller P: 02 4962 4774

They Told Me I Had To Write This Author: Kim Miller


It has been widely recognised that creating a solid educational foundation in the junior years of schooling is fundamental to overall success in later years. Due to the increase in demand for enrolments in 2011, additional classes have been added to various year levels. Places still available.

CALL NOW Newcastle Grammar School p: (02) 4929 5811



Back to School

High Hopes for Transitioning from primary school to high school is a huge step for any child. For some it’s an opportunity for a fresh start, to make new friends and embrace new experiences. For others it’s a daunting, unsettling time. Emotions can swing from excitement at the potential high school holds to terror about getting lost or not being liked. One parent told me, ‘My daughter was terrified at first. They go from a secure, familiar environment to an enormous campus with huge kids everywhere. That can be threatening.’ As your child approaches the transition, things will certainly go more smoothly if both you and they are open minded and prepared. Some of the most critical issues facing children during the transition period include: 1. New friends The single most pressing issue for many children and parents is social acceptance: the desire to fit in and form friendship groups that may last a life time. Making friends should be one of the most enjoyable aspects of high school. Encourage your child to join clubs and interest groups if they’re so inclined. Tell them to have fun and be themselves. Make your child aware that their friendship groups may change. While they might start high school with many primary school friends, they usually end up in different classes. When primary school friendships wane children may wonder where they stand. Reassure them that it’s a natural part of life and growing up.

12 Get Ahead Kids® Jan/Feb 11

High School

2. New teachers

5. Uniforms

With the wider range of subjects available at high school, including English, Maths, Science, Human Society and Its Environment, Creative Arts, Languages, Health and Physical Education (PDHPE) and so on, some students may have up to eight teachers plus another one for roll call.

Ensuring your child has the correct school uniform and the right equipment from the start will give them a sense of belonging and will help them fit in. Most schools have a new and used uniform shop.

It’s common for Year 7 students to feel anxious about this. Let them know that the teachers are there to help them and that they should never be afraid to ask for advice or assistance. 3. Timetables Each high school lesson or period, lasts for around 45 minutes. Sometimes students will have double periods. To keep track of their subjects, students will be given a timetable. If it helps, highlight the lessons they need to attend. Keep copies of your child’s timetable handy at home and in their school bag. Make sure they’re familiar with the room locations where each class will be held. Help your child check their timetable each night before school so they know what books and materials to take the next day. 4. Travel passes With a new school, often there are new travel arrangements. Application forms for train, bus or ferry passes are available from your child’s high school in Term 4. Sometimes these forms are mailed to you with the enrolment information. These should be returned to the high school before the close of school to ensure passes are available for the start of the next school year.

6. The potential for bullying Every parent wants their child to learn in a happy, safe and non-threatening environment. Most schools are good at managing bullying, but sometimes teachers aren’t aware of it or children don’t tell anyone that it’s happening. One parent reported that her two sons had vastly different experiences when starting high school. Her ‘sporty’ son was accepted instantly. Her ‘musical’ son, on the other hand, settled in with the teachers easily, but had a rough couple of years with other students. ‘After being pelted by sandwiches most afternoons as he walked to the station (for being different) the sandwiches turned into rocks. He took to staying in the library for refuge and found others there who became great friends. The bullying stopped when he proved himself a major musical force in the school.’ If you suspect your child is being bullied discuss it with them first to see whether you can resolve the issue. You may also seek out your school counsellor, the principal, assistant principal or year advisors. The mentor scheme employed by some schools where a Year 11 student will ‘buddy’ a Year 7 student can be highly effective in helping younger students settle in and gain the confidence they need to be happy at high school.

Back to School 7. Students with special needs

Top 10 Checklist

Various education options exist for parents and carers of students with disabilities or learning difficulties. These may be in the form of regular classes in regular schools, support classes in regular schools or schools with specific support services. If your child does have special needs, you should discuss the options with your principal as soon as possible.

❑❑ Let your high school principal know if your child has an allergy, medical condition or special needs.

Your children’s experience at high school will be unique to them. But there are ways you can prepare both yourself and them for the changes their life is about undergo. Reassuringly, our worries and fears are often unfounded. Still, it doesn’t hurt to be prepared. There are many useful websites where you can obtain further advice on the transition to high school. I find one of the most helpful is the NSW Department of Education and Training’s website: www.schools. It includes videos, fact sheets and a comprehensive Ready for High School Checklist.

❑❑ Ensure travel pass documents are organised & that your child knows the transport ❑❑ Teach your child how to read the bus, train or ferry timetable. ❑❑ Ensure you have the correct uniforms & supplies, such as school bag, shoes, drink bottle & house key ❑❑ Make sure your child has copies of their timetable, that they know how to read it & where classes are located ❑❑ Find out how your child can be involved in the school & meet new friends ❑❑ Discuss emergency & safety issues with your child & give them your phone numbers & emergency money ❑❑ For girls make sure personal hygiene items are organised in school bags

❑❑ Provide the school with your current contact details ❑❑ Explain the before & after school routine to your child so they know what is expected of them ❑❑ Make sure your child has a desk or quiet work area where they can do their homework.

Biography Aleesah writes picture books and novels for children. She also reviews books for The Sun Herald. Aleesah’s publications include her picture book, Puggle’s Problem, and her series for girls aged 7 plus, Totally Twins. Aleesah travels internationally presenting talks and workshops on writing and marketing.

More Information Aleesah Darlison



Totally Twins #2 Model Mania

Easy, permanent, cost effective identification for schoolwear, workwear and sportswear.

Author: Aleesah Darlison Illustrator: Serena Geddes

RED, BLUE or BLACK lettering woven into white tags.

Identical twins Persephone and Portia Pinchgut may be identical in appearance but they are different in personalities. Portia is showy and in this diary written by her twin, she is after a modelling career. Persephone thinks she is kidding herself. ‘Totally Twins - Model Mania’ is a funny and poignant story that provides insights into the modelling world, family dynamics, friendships, the successes and challenges of growing up in a modern family and changing world.

P: 02 9699 8805 E: This book is a great read for preteens/teens and the black and white illustrations add to the reading experience. Age Guide: 7+ Years Series: Totally Twins Extent: 160 Pages (Paperback) ISBN: 9781921042409 Price: AU $14.95 Publisher: New Frontier Publishing P: 02 9453 1525

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Back to School

se Weight Wi


By Dr. Kim Chilman-Blair

Media attention on the topic of weight is growing and reports highlight children, as young as two years old, being overweight. Such labels can be detrimental to self esteem especially in children. Overweight children, unfortunately, face prejudice by peers and occasionally adults making an already difficult period of life more complicated. Bullying can lead to forms of depression and stress. As eating habits are learnt, it is important to teach children how to make healthy choices when choosing their meals. Promotion of healthy living is essential for parents by way of example to children. Undesirably the culture of busy families means preparation of healthier home-cooked meals is rapidly being replaced by fast foods and processed meals. The culprit of overweight families and in particular overweight children not only lies with a lack of healthy eating but also in the lack of activity. Many children do not spend enough time exercising, instead more time is dedicated in front of the TV, computer or games console. It is not always understood why the weight problem exists. Most assume what goes in is what comes out, this is not true. To maintain a healthy body weight, the body follows a simple concept energy in = energy out. Energy in is the food we eat and energy out is the amount of energy the body uses. Consumption of unhealthy foods and a lack of activity tips this balance in favour of individuals being overweight.

14 Get Ahead KidsÂŽ Jan/Feb 11

What is happening to the energy if it is not all coming out? Once inside, the body begins to process the food into smaller molecules. Food is broken down into 3 forms of energy the body can use; protein, found in meat and fish, carbohydrates, found in bread, rice and pasta, and fats which are found in butter, cakes, chips and fried foods. All three are needed for healthy living, however, the proportions of each type should not tip the balance into overweight. Protein is mainly used within the body to fight infections, heal wounds and build muscle. Carbohydrates and fats are the main energy providers. The body is designed to store carbohydrates and fats in fat cells until they are needed. There are a set number of fat cells all over the body. If the energy is not used the fat cells will just get bigger. As these cells grow the person becomes more and more overweight. Letting this energy build up can increase the risk of serious and more permanent problems such as heart disease and diabetes type II. In the case of heart disease, if too much energy is stored as fat, it can to stick to the blood vessel walls and prevent the blood from flowing properly. This means not enough blood gets to the heart. Type II diabetes is another permanent problem caused by excess energy. Carbohydrates and fats enter the cells of the body using insulin. In type II diabetes the cells become resistant to insulin which means the energy can’t get to the cells. This can lead to other problems with the eyes, kidneys and legs.

To avoid such problems it is vital to give your body the type and amount of fuel it needs to stay healthy. Most packaged food will provide details of the nutrition values of the food. Calories are the measurement of energy. If the food is unpackaged it is possible to look up standard food lists which will provide you with this information. Children should consume approximately 1,800 calories a day, teenage girls and women should be consuming approximately 2,000 calories a day and teenage boys and men should not be consuming more than 2,500 calories a day. While calories are a way of measuring the energy in, it’s also important to have the right foods to provide vitamins, minerals and all the things your body needs to work properly. To do this you should follow the healthy plate or pyramid. A healthy plate of food will contain the right balance of the five main food groups; fruits and vegetables, carbohydrates, dairy, meat or fish and sugary and fatty foods. There should be more fruits and vegetables on your plate and only a small amount of sugary/fatty foods. Remember to prepare your food in a healthier way. It is better to bake, grill or steam food instead of frying. This not only keeps the calorie content down but the food also keeps in essential vitamins and minerals. Positively preparation by these methods is also less time consuming. Whilst food prepared at home is healthy it is important to be aware of portion size. Children naturally will require a smaller serving. Undesirably many parents tend to overestimate servings for children providing them with adequate energy for an adult. If unsure it is possible to look up ideal portion and serving sizes for both adults and children. Alternatively talking to a dietician may help.

Back to School

Changing eating habits to maintain a healthy weight should be coupled with releasing the energy consumed. Exercise is thought of as a scary word, being associated with a difficult session at the gym. It doesn’t have to be that way and can actually be quite the opposite. Starting with simple activities like walking instead of using the car, where possible and taking the stairs instead of the lift, is a good start. Other activities such as playing games outside such as football, basketball, dancing and even walking around the shopping centre can not only release the stored energy but also serve as fun family activities. Small changes in eating habits and the amount of physical activity is all that is needed to avoid the potential label of overweight or worse still obese and the potential for other long term diseases in the future. So the message to take home is “Play Hard” and “Eat Healthily” to avoid being overweight.

Checklist for a Healthy Lifestyle ❑❑ Swap less healthy foods for healthy foods - eat vegetables with lunch & dinner ❑❑ Eat fresh fruit every day ❑❑ Get active - involve your family it’s easier & more fun in a team ❑❑ Save high energy foods like chocolate, cakes & chips for special occasions ❑❑ Don’t overeat - remember portion control

Biography Dr Kim ChilmanBlair is the Founder of Medikidz, a series of medical comic books to help children understand what is happening inside their bodies and lessen the fear that comes with a diagnosis. Medikidz now has over 20 titles, including Type 1 Diabetes, Epilepsy and Depression. MediKidz aims to change how children receive information and support about their conditions.

Samaritans’ Children’s Services

Our range of Children’s Services include: • Samaritans Early Learning Centre Newcastle • Samaritans Early Learning Centre Woodberry • Samaritans Family Day Care Singleton, Dungog and Cessnock • Samaritans In Home Care • Samaritans Out of Home Care / Foster Care • Samaritans Kinship Care • Samaritans Parents as Teachers • Samaritans Supporting Children with Additional Needs.

For information about opportunities to become a carer and available vacancies for your child Ph: 4922 1500 or email

More Information

What’s Up With Paris? Medikidz Explain Childhood Overweight Author: Dr. Kim Chilman-Blair & John Taddeo Illustrator: Liquid Comics The Medikidz are a group of five larger-than-life cartoon super heroes who live on Mediland - a planet shaped just like the human body. In this book the Medikidz heroes guide Paris & readers on a journey through Mediland to explain the role of the three food groups on the body, what causes kids to be overweight and useful tips on how to remain at a healthy weight.

This carton book is to be applauded because it adopts a non judgemental approach to overweight kids and provides an informational guide to the causes of being overweight and strategies for bringing weight under control. It is an essential book for every medical practice, household and school.

Age Guide: 7+ Years Extent: 36 Pages (Paperback) ISBN: 9781906935023 Price: AU$14.99 Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers P: 1300 551 721


Back to School

Why Further

A university degree has become part of the path to success for an increasing number of Australian school leavers see the table below.

For the many high school students who have just finished school, the big decision is whether to continue on in higher education such as university. Some students have a clear education plan and others may not have a clearcut plan. Some students may want a gap year to travel or have adventures before making the higher education decision. It is important for us as parents, to set 1 year as a deadline for making this decision to avoid the gap year becoming many years of indecision. If your child decides that further education is not for him/her, encourage him/her to get a job or start a business. If these don’t work out he/she can easily change their mind and start at a later date. Further education is something that your child can carry through life! It can further careers and develop a better rounded individual. Completing a degree shows the child has determination and commitment to learn and apply information to achieve goals in a chosen career and in personal life.


A major reason for completing a university degree is so it adds substance to your child’s resume. For example when employers receive numerous job applications, a university degree especially if it’s a job prerequisite, is a popular way of filtering applicants. This may not seem fair but that is the way things are done. Research studies show that having the right degree allows a graduate to earn significantly more than someone without one. With a degree, your child can gain job security, be in the frontline for a promotion and find it easier to negotiate the five different careers most people have over their lifetime. For children interested in a vocational career such as accounting, law, physiotherapy or engineering, then they should study a degree in the relevant subject. For example, a degree with a major in anthropology or history does not provide entry to a career in accountancy.

For those without a clear career direction, it is important to weigh up the costs and benefits of being happy with the chosen subjects, and their potential employment opportunities. Apart from career training there are many skills that students develop by being a university student. These include teamwork, research, problem solving, presentation and analytical skills. Many who attend university expand their range of interests through participation in sports, hobbies, cultural activities and travelling.

Completing a Degree Checklist ❑❑ What is your Australian Tertiary Admission Rank (ATAR )? ❑❑ Is a degree qualification essential to your career path? ❑❑ Do employers in your selected career require formal qualifications? ❑❑ Are you academic in orientation? ❑❑ Are you planning to start your own business? ❑❑ Could you study on the job or complete an apprenticeship? ❑❑ Are you an inventor or entrepreneur that may not benefit from further education? More Information

Selected Higher Education Statistics (DEEWR) Commencing Students 2008

% Change


All Students 2008

% Change























16 Get Ahead Kids® Jan/Feb 11


Australian Reptile Park & Wildlife Sanctuary This premier tourist attraction was established in 1948 by Australia’s first naturalist, the late Eric Worrell. For the past 50 years, the Reptile Park has had a Venom-Milking Program. It is the sole Australian supplier of a variety of venoms that are used for snake and funnel-web anti-venom that save over 300 lives each year. The Reptile Park features: • Mammals such as the unique platypus, koalas, wombats, Tasmanian devils, echidnas, dingoes & of course friendly hand-fed kangaroos. • Some of Australia’s largest reptiles, such as massive American alligators, giant tortoises & huge pythons live at the Park. • Many birds & Australian wildflowers • Enter the mouth of a 20 metre long crocodile to view the mystical Lost World of Reptiles exhibit. • See giant animatronic models of some of Australia’s deadliest spiders in Spider World.

At the Australian Reptile Park, school groups and families can choose from any interactive, fun and handson programs with reptilian favourites as well as cute and cuddly creatures of the Australian bush. Other educational activities include: • Learn how the Reptile Park is helping to save the Tasmanian devil • Discover frogs, their lifecycle & the dangers they face from the environment • Find out all about the eightlegged friends-the spiders • Get your photo taken with the baby animals More Information Australian Reptile Park P: 02 4340 1022

5 Passes to Giveaway! With a special thanks to Australian Reptile Park, Get Ahead Kids® has 5 Family Passes to the Australian Reptile Park valued at $64.00 each to giveaway! Each family pass allows entry for 2 adults and 2 children (3-15 years). Visit and follow the giveaway link for your chance to win.


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For details Call 4979 1402 or 0437 448 432 MA10135



Caring for Your Child’s Smile What Every Parent Needs to Know The Changing Smile - The Arrival of Permanent Teeth By Dr. Helen Cornwell As our children start school many changes happen, one of which is the appearance of wiggly teeth followed be the eruption of adult teeth. This, third article aims at describing the changes to the mouth happening for infants/primary school aged children as well as answer some common questions. Loose teeth Baby teeth can start to get loose from around 5 years. As long as there is no pain or swelling your child should be encouraged to “wash their hands and wiggle their teeth”. The best chance for adult teeth to erupt into a good position is to have the baby tooth out of the way. There will always be a drop or two of blood when a tooth “comes out”, if necessary your child can bite on a clean handkerchief to stop any bleeding. Timing & sequence of adult tooth eruption The first adult molar teeth and 8 incisor teeth erupt at between 5-7 years for most children. There is then a break until approximately 9-10 years when the adult canines (eye teeth) and first pre-molar (bicuspid) erupt. The last baby tooth is lost at 11-12 years with the second permanent premolar (bicuspid) and second permanent molar teeth erupting. Wisdom teeth can start to erupt as early as 15-16 years but often do not emerge until the late teens or early 20’s.

18 Get Ahead Kids® Jan/Feb 11

How are these teeth ever going to fit? Baby’s faces take up a relatively small part of the head. As newborns the space required for the brain and eyes means that the mouth and jaws make up only a small proportion of their head size. Growth of the mouth and jaw (maxilla and mandible) does however continue until well after puberty and in males into their early twenties. This means that as teeth erupt they often look crowded and take time to “unravel”. By 9-10 years your dentist can, in conjunction with a screening x-ray give you advice as to the likely spacing/crowding your child may have. Most orthodontic work wont start until your child is in high school, when all the adult teeth are in the mouth. There are, however some circumstances that you may be advised for early or interceptive orthodontic treatment based on the need to reduce the risk of damage due to a poor position or for psychological reasons. My child’s new teeth look different or have holes The permanent teeth can start to arrive from 5 years. The first permanent molars are often the first through and erupt without parents noticing. Adult teeth are not as white as baby teeth due to a difference in their size and proportions. Significant differences in colour however are an issue as

these teeth may be poorly formed in up to 12-15% of children, described as hypoplastic, hypomineralised or as “cheesy molars”. This is due to an issue with formation, often related to a childhood illness or severe trauma or damage to a baby tooth. These teeth can be very sensitive and difficult to treat. It is extremely important to maintain visits to your dentist every 6 months so that any problems can be detected early. Should I still be brushing & cleaning my child’s teeth Until a child has the dexterity to tie their shoelaces they probably will not be able to clean all areas of their mouth and teeth. It is important for children to have a turn at cleaning as this will help them develop the skills to clean but it is still the parent’s responsibility to supervise and “have a turn”. As children enter their primary school years checking at least a few times per week is very important. Flossing may be advised by your dentist or hygienist and will probably require parental support until late primary school. A word on fluoride As permanent teeth erupt your dentist may advise you to change to adult-strength toothpaste. Newly erupted teeth take up fluoride into their crystalline structure to afford them protection against food acids and attack by decay-causing bacteria. If your child does not like the taste then try a gel and mix a small amount with their previous toothpaste.

Health Poorly formed teeth

“Cheesy molar” tooth

Risks to Teeth As children grow up so does their appetite. High sugar foods are often sought to provide children with a sugar-hit they may desire. With pocket money and a growing independence children may make choices that can be hazardous to good dental health. Acidic food is also a significant risk to children and damage to teeth can be irreversible. Try to limit food consumption to 5-6 small meals per day with water only in between and avoid flavoured drinks. Habits Oral habits are common in children, particularly thumb and finger sucking. As school starts many oral habits will simply disappear, however if still present then discuss this with your dentist as it is best that these are stopped prior to the arrival of the permanent teeth. Trauma As discussed on our article on dental first aid, dental injuries are very common in infants and primary school-aged children. If your child is engaged in sporting activities, even in infant school, consult your dentist for the best sort of mouthguard. Mouthguards can protect the yet to erupt adult teeth by protecting the baby tooth.

Baby Teeth

Adult tooth damaged by trauma to baby tooth

Tips For Looking After Your Infant/ Primary School Aged Child ❑❑ Maintain regular visit with your dentist ❑❑ Watch for loose teeth & encourage wiggling ❑❑ Watch for any different looking teeth & see the dentist early ❑❑ Discuss moving to an adultstrength toothpaste with your dentist ❑❑ Remember mouthguards for sport ❑❑ Continue to supervise toothbrushing Dr Helen Cornwell is a Paediatric Dentist and Conjoint Senior Lecturer at the University of Newcastle. She is the inaugural president of the Australian and New Zealand Society for Sport Dentistry and Trauma and has lectured internationally on the subject of dental trauma in children.

More Information Dr. Helen Cornwell BDS(Adel), MDSc(Melb), FRACDS Paediatric Dentist Conjoint Senior Lecturer University of Newcastle 40 Brown Rd. Broadmeadow NSW 2292 P: 02 4962 7300

Adult teeth

Rejoice in Your Kid’s Smile Providing specialist dental care for infants, children, adolescents and those with specialist needs.


Ring for an Appointment

4962 7300

40 Brown Rd, Broadmeadow 2292

DOES YOUR CHILD HAVE DIFFICULTY WITH READING? Some children experience reading and learning difficulties as a result of visual perceptual problems caused by

IRLEN SYNDROME Irlen Syndrome can cause Dyslexia and difficulties with Spelling, Writing, Comprehension Concentration

IRLEN DIAGNOSTIC CLINIC Suite 2/136 Nelson Street WALLSEND 2287 Ph: 4955 6904 Email:




20/20 Sight

Good Enough?

By Susan Walton, B Optom FACBO

Did you know that children with learning difficulties often have 20/20 sight!! So as parents, we can’t just sit back and assume that because it appears that our kids can ‘see’ things OK, that they do not have any eye problems that may be affecting their learning. And with this being the beginning of the school year that our “Early Entry” or new “Kindy’s” have eyes that are fully developed and ready to go in the fast paced classroom into which they are about to be launched. Our children have to learn to co-ordinate their two eyes to interpret the information coming in and this may not be complete until closer to 7 years of age - well after they begin their literacy and numeracy in Kindergarten. Kids with an inefficient or immature visual system tend to have to concentrate simply to look at books or white/smart boards. For those with efficient visual systems, these skills are automatic and they are free to concentrate on the task at hand, such as learning to read and write. The visual system is a significant part of how we process information and a key factor in how we learn. 80% of what you perceive, comprehend and remember depends on the efficiency of the visual system.

20 Get Ahead Kids® Jan/Feb 11

Vision allows us to take what we see and process the information so we can: • Identify what we see by where it is, how far away it is, how big it is, how fast it is moving, what texture it has, etc • Store this current information for future retrieval • Integrate the sight information with all our other senses - touch, hearing, taste & smell • Compare this information to previously stored information in order to confirm prior experience or reconstruct a prior experience if necessary • Derive meaning from both the new information & past information • Decide the relationship between where we are & where it is, or find out where we are in space • Act on this new meaning • Use this new perception to direct movement or thought Visual skills are important in academic performance. Vision is there every step of the way when you learn and process information. If vision does not develop efficiently, even a bright child can have difficulties with reading, writing, spelling and math. Getman, a renowned USA behavioural optometrist, stated, “Vision is the dominant mode in the development of intelligence.” The more efficient a person is, the higher their score on many intelligence tests. This is why IQ scores can change after vision remediation.

One out of four children has a vision problem which interferes with their ability to learn efficiently and achieve in school. Since 75-90% of classroom learning comes through the visual system, poor visual skills can affect a child’s performance. It takes more energy to use a faulty visual system than it does an efficient one. So it is important to take note of how tired your child is at the end of their school day! If ADD is suspected, you should also get a comprehensive vision evaluation. Signs and symptoms of visual problems often mirror Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD). In fact, 15 out of the 18 signs and symptoms used to diagnose ADD are the same as visual inefficiency problems.  For instance, if you have trouble with your visual focus, or actually making the words clear for a long period of time, it is more difficult to keep your attentional focus on them. Vision problems can be remediated. Treatment for inefficient visual skills can be in the form of spectacle lenses (mostly used for schoolrelated tasks), developmental guidance or an individualized vision therapy treatment program.  Vision therapy re-organizes neural pathways by building new synapses, thereby affecting the patterning of the brain.

Health Ask your eyecare professional if they evaluate at least the following visual skills:

A significant investment of time and effort is required by the parent/child team to participate in vision therapy programs to remediate vision and sensory integration difficulties, however the results gained can well be worth the effort.

• Eye tracking (eye movement control) • Focusing near to far • Sustaining clear focus up close • Eye teaming ability • Depth perception • Visual motor integration • Visual form perception • Visual memory • Visualisation

The best way to treat a problem is to prevent it before it occurs. A developmental vision problem can be diagnosed during the pre-school or early school years and can often be corrected before the child enters school or supported in their first learning years at school, though it is never too late to treat.

If your eye care professional does not evaluate the above skills, or offer remediation programs, find a behavioural optometrist in your area who does.

Children do not grow out of vision problems. Children with vision problems become adults with vision problems.


Children’s vision should be examined before the age of 1, again at age 3 and 5 or before starting school. Thereafter, everyone should receive regular eye exams. A child does not need to know letters to have their eyes tested. Remember, not all eye care professionals emphasize the function of vision. You want to be tested for both “eyesight” and “vision” to determine not only eye health, how clear you see and if you need glasses, but how efficient your visual system is working. 

Susan has been an Optometrist for over 30 years and in her own practice in the Newcastle CBD for 25 years. She became a Fellow of the Australasian College of Behavioural Optometrists in 1988 and specialises in behavioural optometry working with children with learning difficulties, people with special needs and sports vision, as well as general optometry. She is the Australian Director for the Special Olympics Opening Eyes program, volunteering both here and overseas since 1995. Susan is also the Sports Vision Consultant to the Hunter Academy of Sport. Her daughter Hannah has just joined

her and is in training as a Vision Therapist so they can work together on programs for children (and adults) to remediate visual function difficulties (like eye movements and convergence) as well as visual perception and sensory integration problems.

More Information Susan Walton B Optom FABCO 245 King St. Newcastle NSW 2300 P: 02 4926 4799

Play Discover Learn KU is Australia’s leading provider of community-based, not for profit early childhood education and care. With over 100 years experience in the Hunter region, we are committed to providing high quality, affordable preschool and long day care. Enrol your child now and experience the KU difference for yourself.



A Mother’s View on the Benefits of

Ballet By Kate Dundas

Any committed parent wants their child to have every available opportunity to develop and grow into the best person they can be. This becomes more urgent when we consider the current health challenges facing our children. Two major issues are the small screen culture and energy dense/ low nutrition foods that impact our children’s development and learning. When I became a parent I was aware that my children were genetically predisposed to be musical - I spent the first 18 years of my life dedicated to piano, flute and international tours with local school bands. But, I was also passionate about them playing sport and swimming. From the time my first was born, I was a devoted ‘Gymbaroo’ and ‘Parents as Teachers’ participant. When I saw an ad in the local newspaper about ‘Baby Ballerina classes’ the photos of little pink princesses in tutus, tiny stockings and wispy baby hair, my heart just melted and I enrolled my 2½ year old girl.

Six years after her first lesson, I am still very much a devoted ballet mum. Ballet is an excellent consistent discipline for your child’s future. I consider ballet an important tool in education, rather than an extracurricular activity. It is about art, learning and discipline. Learning is a lifelong adventure and for some, discovering the discipline of ballet can be lifechanging! Taking ballet at a young age has important benefits for a child’s physical, emotional and spiritual health. When a child is young, learning new things is easier for them. When a child begins ballet at an early age, they are learning a valued art form, they are getting trained for the life and gaining a confidence boost that can have positive impacts on academic and social activities. Research studies show that all parts of the brain are utilised in the practice of this dance form. We have two sides of the brain, one

Courtesy of Baby Ballerinas & Co

rational, the other emotional and each of these has its own skills and duties. During early development, children learn to connect those two brain parts via physical activity that uses both sides of the brain that in turn stimulates nerve growth between these two sides. For many children, poor nutrition and small screen activities disturbs the fragile process and the brain subsequently does not get enough input to stimulate the growth of these connections which are important for academic success. Ballet at a young age will help those nerves to grow and connect the left and right brain by the specific movements that ballet training can provide. Children as young as 18 months can learn simple ballet movements that stimulate the brain to develop these connections.

Baby Ballerinas is a unique pre-school dance program for 3-5 year old girls. It guides them through creative imagery and develops an appreciation of rhythm & timing, music, movement, grace, gross motor & social skills. Free Trial Classes • Morning Classes • Parents Able to Observe Classes. Baby Jazz is ideal class for boys and girls 3-5 years Central School of Dance is for kids 6 years and after & provides RAD based exams and Eisteddfod

Oakdale Studios, Unit 4, 9 Oakdale Rd, Gateshead NSW 2290 Ph/Fx: 02 4948 2953 •

22 Get Ahead Kids® Jan/Feb 11

2011 Enrolments Now Open

Health tap


Courtesy of Baby Ballerinas & Co

The physical activity of ballet impacts on kids’ physical, mental and social health. Physically, ballet is not only capable of giving a whole body workout but also flexes all muscles ensuring total flexibility. Flexibility is the key to a lot of other physical activities and workouts.

to-day life, ensuring good health and confidence. It also develops children’s balance, poise and grace in gesture and movement, plus a sharpening of vision, hearing and touch that will further enhance body awareness and contribute towards good health.

Children and adolescents need 60-90 minutes or more of physical activity each day. But guidelines from the World Health Organisation also suggest the following:

This is even more evident as children start work at the barre from the age of about 6 years. These exercises are repeated at every class to help build balance, strength and poise and form the basis of the Royal Academy of Dance Curriculum.

• Aerobic activity should make up most of your child’s 60 or more minutes of physical activity each day. 3 days of the week this should be vigorous-intensity aerobic activity. • Muscle & bone strengthening activities should also be part of a child’s for 60 or more minutes on at least 3 days per week. When children learn the 5 basic positions of ballet they are practicing anaerobic activity that gives strength and flexibility to make the skeletal and muscular system stronger. The muscle strengthening from ballet greatly enhances flexibility by working those muscles that are ignored by most other sports activities. Ballet has a great impact on good posture that is essential for good health. The basic requirement of ballet is “neutral stance”, which in simple terms refers to a straight spine and hips that are parallel on both sides. Regular practice of ballet ensures that this stance or good posture spills over into day-




hip hop

MORISSET / Phone: 4973 3133 Email: Web:

Benefits Checklist ❑❑ Facilitate communication & following instructions ❑❑ Provides sense of discipline through learning new skills ❑❑ Trains co-ordination, balance & how to control their bodies in motion ❑❑ Encourages rhythmic & expressive skills ❑❑ Promotes performing before groups/audience ❑❑ Allows classical music appreciation ❑❑ Furthers the joy of movement ❑❑ Encourages movement & creative expression

Biography Kate Dundas is a lecturer in the School of Medicine and Public Health for the University of Newcastle. Her specialist area is public health education and advocacy and has worked across Hunter New England Health and the Uni since 1994.


Famous Aussie Gets New Lease on Life In January 2009, the old Leyland Brothers site in Tea Gardens on NSW’s mid-north coast was tired, rundown, and in need of considerable refurbishment. It was then that family members and business partners, Sarah and Brad Love and Simone and Brad Higgins, purchased the site - which had been operating for over 25 years as an outdoor education centre - with the intention of rejuvenating the well known Great Aussie Bush Camp. With significant owner investment, the transformation began. Seven semi-trailer loads of waste were removed, four separate natural ecosystems within the area were fostered and developed, and the site’s facilities were dramatically revamped. Various boxes were ticked: previously absent OH&S

24 Get Ahead Kids® Jan/Feb 11

requirements and food safety systems were quickly put into place, while standard operating procedures were drawn up and aligned with the NSW Draft Activity Standards. Less than two years later, The Great Aussie Bush Camp has established itself as a leader in outdoor education within Australia, while simultaneously entrenching itself in the local economy. “It’s a good relationship we’ve developed locally,” says Sarah Love. “We rely on them, and it’s probably getting to a point now where a lot of the businesses rely on us as well.” With 35,000 children, as well as teaching staff, attending the camp in 2009 alone, The Great Aussie Bush Camp has invested in nearby

businesses to cater for basic needs such as food, drink and many local services, also providing job opportunities for skilled and qualified locals. The Great Aussie Bush Camp acknowledges the importance of building its business based not only on quality of service, but on the historical significance its location offers. This, in conjunction with the authenticity of the site, makes the camp unique among outdoor education service providers. The comfortable and inviting living quarters are not so removed from the natural surroundings that students miss out on the sense of getting ‘back-to-nature’. This is consistent with studies from both Deakin and Monash Universities, which show that

Advertorial students’ experiences and learning acquisition are enhanced by a more genuine ‘bush experience’ such as that on offer at The Great Aussie Bush Camp. Alternatively, those camps offering more lavish accommodation largely miss the intended benefits of outdoor education. A mother-of-two and former primary school teacher herself, co-owner Simone Higgins knows the demands placed on private outdoor education facilities. “Parents and teachers want essentially the same thing from a camping experience,” she says. “They want quality of service, they want to know their kids are not only as safe as possible, but enjoying a valuable learning experience, and they want the whole process to run smoothly.

“What they don’t want is cost cutting. By that I mean a high teacher-student ratio, low quality and amount of basics such as food and drink, inadequate facilities, and poorly trained staff. While some budget outdoor education providers compete using low prices, The Great Aussie Bush Camp rejects this as a potentially dangerous practice. We’re committed to excellence in all these areas, more so than any other outdoor education provider in Australia.”

ecosystems within the area. With the owners boasting considerable experience in both childcare and business development, and the excellent results from its first 12 months of trading, it appears that this Aussie icon can look forward to even greater success.

More Information P: 1800 887 717

The size of the investment is indicative also of The Great Aussie Bush Camp’s intention to be a long-term leader in its field. The business is establishing on-site sustainability systems - both solar energy and sewerage treatment and is committed to maintaining

treating foot & lower limb conditions for your kids & you


News Through Camp to Belong, siblings are able to spend quality time together through a wide variety of recreational activities that are designed to challenge, excite and also promote teamwork, selfconfidence, communication and behaviour management skills. This camp has a number of signature activities specifically planned to sensitively support the development of positive sibling relationships. During the 2010 September school holidays, Lifestyle Solutions facilitated Camp to Belong (Aust) at Thunderbird Park on the Gold Coast. Lifestyle Solutions is a national not for profit organisation that facilitates the camp program to children and young people across Australia.

Reunifying Separated Siblings Brothers and sisters who have the luxury of ongoing contact would not be able to imagine the sadness and aloneness of siblings separated and placed in foster care often in different cities or different states. Separated siblings who live in foster care don’t get the opportunity to spend quality time with each other, share special memories, celebrate birthdays together and form close bonds that see them support each other through the hard times and laugh through the good times.

Sibling separation is a major cause of children and young people having trauma and attachment issues as they go through life. Separation without regular contact can create other issues that lead to marginalisation in later years. Camp to Belong is a unique program that reunifies siblings who have been separated through no fault of their own and placed in separate foster care placements throughout the state and in different states across Australia.

Get Authors or Illustrators for Your Next Event Ford Street Publishing has launched Creative Net, a unique agency that does not charge the librarian/event organiser to liaise with the authors or illustrators. Once you choose an artist, Ford Street discusses his/her availability, and once confirmed, both parties

26 Get Ahead KidsÂŽ Jan/Feb 11

are placed in contact with each other, thereby eliminating any agency fees. For Ford Street this is a great avenue for promoting its authors, illustrators and their books to children across the country.

This program promotes the importance of health and wellbeing for children and young people. In all our support services, Lifestyle Solutions design programs and activities that promote a healthy mind, healthy body relationship. More information

But, Ford Street has not restricted Creative Net to its stable of creative talent - it also represents authors such as Isobelle Carmody, Phil Kettle, Michael Salmon and many others. More Information Paul Collins Ford Street Publishing Pty Ltd P: 03 9481 1120



Hunter Wetlands Education Centre

Schools visiting the Hunter Wetlands Centre will enjoy a beautiful new architect designed education building incorporating sustainable design and offering the latest in education technology. The new centre will be available to students from all education sectors and will be an excellent addition to the Hunter Wetlands Centre. The public was invited to help the Hunter Wetlands Centre come up with a name for the building that promotes the place, the purpose and the partnership.

The criteria for the education centre naming included: • Connection to water, water life or living things • Catchy, easy to remember & build excitement for visitors • Avoid geographic location e.g. Shortland, Newcastle & the word ‘centre’ The building is the result of funding from the Australian Government and a partnership between Hunter Wetlands Centre Australia, NSW Department of Education and Training (Hunter Central Coast Region) and Catholic Schools Office (Maitland-Newcastle Diocese).

More Information Anna Ryan Ecotourism Manager Hunter Wetlands Centre Australia P: 4951 6466

VIDA4029 Photograph: C.Hensel

The new education centre for the Hunter Wetlands Centre is well underway and on track for opening in February 2011.

• School holiday program • Picnic/BBQ • Playground • Canoes • Feeding Talks • Café Nourish and much more… Off the roundabout, Sandgate Rd, SHORTLAND Phone 02 4951 6466 Email Web






Taronga Zoo, Sydney

5 Passes to Giveaway! With a special thanks to Taronga Zoo, Get Ahead Kids® has 5 Family Passes valued at approx. $109 each to giveaway! Each pass allows a family of 2 adults and 2 children a wildlife experience at either Taronga Zoo Sydney and Taronga Western Plains Zoo. Visit and click the giveaways link for a chance to win one of these fantastic passes.

28 Get Ahead Kids® Jan/Feb 11

Overlooking the scenic Sydney CBD profile, Taronga Zoo offers many opportunities to get close to the animals and find out how they live.

a Giraffe, meet one of our reptiles or book an owl encounter for the unique chance to take the bird on your wrist.

For more than 20 years, visitors have enjoyed watching the graceful seals show off their natural abilities including catching fish, climbing and diving and our current show has more than a few surprises in store.

Visit the Asian Elephants and their calves. The newborn female calf has begun exploring the exhibit with her mother Pak Boon, Aunt, Porntip and her calf, Pathi Harn, can now be seen for short periods during fine weather. To get the most from seeing our entire elephant herd try to catch a keeper talk.

At the Flight Bird Show you will marvel as birds swoop and dive against the backdrop of Sydney Harbour. Animal Encounters provide a unique opportunity to get close to some of Taronga Zoo’s most amazing animals. See a Koala close up, feed

More Information Taronga Zoo P: 02 9969 2777


Features include: • • • • •

Learning outcomes Popup notes Case studies Discussion activities Glossary of terms

Chapters Include:

Frameworks for Learning & Development Author: Karen Kearns Written to support delivery of units in the Diploma of Children’s Services in Australia, this text is the third in the series of award winning books that explore children’s development, and the skills and philosophies needed to design childcare programs.

• • • • • •

Frameworks Documenting Becoming Social Communicating Thinking Physical Development

• Additional Needs • Planning ‘Frameworks for Learning and Development’ is easy to read, comprehensive and engaging textbook. It is an essential reference for childcare workers. Category: Child Welfare Series: Working in Children’s Services

It is an essential reference for:

Extent: 470 Pages (Paperback)

• Day Care Centres - Study & Teaching • Child Care - Study & Teaching • Child Care workers - Training • Child Care, Child & Youth Welfare • Business Studies

Price: AU$71.95 Publisher: Pearson Education Australia P: 02 9454 2222

ISBN: 9781442514287

Legendary Journeys: Trains Author: Philip Steele This children’s fun book helps bring entertainment to learning about trains. It includes engineering facts, landmark inventions, social history, and global travel. This book is perfect for children who want to grow up and be train drivers but also helps them learn at the same time. Age Guide: 5+ Years Extent: 32 Pages (Hardback) ISBN: 9781921720048 Price: AU$39.95 Publisher: Walker Books Australia P: 02 9517 9577

Enrolment: Rolling enrolment! Begin anytime! Time: Tuesday Evening Class - 6.30pm - 8.30pm Duration: 1 year, 1 evening per week + distance education study + workplace experience Certification: CHC30808 Certificate III in Education Support Venue: ICCC, 146 Lambton Rd, Broadmeadow NSW 2292



Get Ahead Kids® Partners

Over 30,000 Aussie mums, dads, babies and children enjoy Gymbaroo every week.

Hazard River #1: Shark Frenzy Author: J.E. Fison Illustrator: Marc McBride Brothers Jack and Ben, with friend Lachlan discover the remains of a dead shark (minus its fins) on the banks of Hazard River. Convinced it is the work of pirates or perhaps a giant squid, the trio are determined to find out whether the shark died from a natural occurrence or was brutally murdered. The colourful, eye-catching cover from Marc McBride draws readers into the dangerous adventure tale. Fast paced and full of fun, the book makes young readers aware of environmental issues.


Pilates, Brass Band, Choir, Chess, Table Tennis, Judo, Akido Kickboxing Boxing, Gymnastics, Circus, Dancing, Fencing

P: 4961 4493 |

Age Guide: 9+ Years Series: Hazard River Extent: 86 pages (Paperback) ISBN: 9781921665110 Price: AU $12.95 Publisher: Ford Street Publishing P: 03 9481 1120

Isabella’s Garden Author: Glenda Millard Illustrator: Rebecca Cool This is a lyrical picture book that follows the format of the “The House That Jack Built.” Isabella’s Garden tells the tale of the impact of seasons on the growth and renewal cycle of the garden. The positive feel good story has childlike illustrations with stunning colours congruent to the seasons. This multi award book is a must read for young children. Age Guide: 5+ Years Extent: 32 Pages (Hardback) ISBN: 9781921150333 Price: AU$29.95 Publisher: Walker Books Australia P: 02 9517 9577

The Fidgety Itch Author: Lucy Davey Illustrator: Katz Cowley The team of expressive animals helps each other to get rid of an itch. This rhyming tale is accompanied by amazing illustrations and is great for reading aloud to young children 2-5 years old.

30 Get Ahead Kids® Jan/Feb 11

Age Guide: 2+ Years Extent: 32 Pages (Paperback) ISBN: 9781869439675 Price: AU $14.99 Publisher: Scholastic New Zealand P: 02 4328 3523


Aussie Heroes: Dame Nellie Melba Author: Gabiann Marin Illustrator: Rae Dale This easy to read book gives an insightful look into the life of Australia’s first great diva. Complete with colourful drawings and a summarized timeline, the story tells of how Dame Nellie Melba, born Helen Porter Mitchell, overcomes many hurdles to cement for place in the world of opera. A truly inspirational woman! This series is a great way to introduce young children to heroes that have made major contributions to Australian society. Age Guide: 9-13 Years Extent: 128 pages (Paperback) ISBN: 9781921042645 Price: AU$19.95 Publisher: New Frontier Publishing P: 02 9453 1525

Feathers for Phoebe

Poppy Wash

Author: Rod Clement Illustrator: Natalie Winter

Authors: Kerry Brown Illustrator: Michelle Pike

Phoebe is small, grey, and ordinary looking until she takes the advice of forest beauty therapist Zelda. Decorated head to tail, Phoebe bemoans that she still remains unnoticed and cannot fly as she is weighed down with adornments. It takes a surprise fall to get her noticed.

Poppy loves her job and loves dragons-every day she washes all kind of dragons at her Dragon Wash. But she would love a dragon to call her own-she visits the New Dragon Yard, the Used Dragon Yard and the Refuge. Will she fulfil her desire?

Similar to Rod Clement’s other books that include Olga the Brolga, each page is saturated with vibrant colours and stunning illustrations. The underlying message of the book is stay true to yourself if you want the right type of attention. This message will appeal to parents and kids. Age Guide: 4-7 years Extent: 32 page (Hardback) ISBN: 9780732289195 Price: AU $24.99 Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers

This is a sensitive tale of the emotional and business spinoffs of making dragons look good and feel good. It is an ideal first reader that is enhanced by the imaginative illustrations. Age Guide: 5+ Years Extent: 32 Pages (Hardback) ISBN: 9780733325212 Price: AU $24.99 Publisher: ABC Books P: 1300 360 111

P: 1300 551 721



Last Tree in the City Author & Illustrator: Peter Carnavas Edward would forget himself as he played in the last tree in the city but one day he arrives to find that it had been chopped. After some reflection, he finds a way to make things better. A simple tale with an environmental message in way children can understand. The colourful illustrations add greatly to this story. Age Guide: 5+ Years Extent: 32 pages (Paperback) ISBN: 9781921042218 Price: AU$24.95 Publisher: New Frontier Publishing P: 02 9453 1525

Violet Mackerel’s Brilliant Plot Author: Anna Branford Illustrator: Sarah Davis Violet Mackerel would like to own the blue china bird that she saw at a Saturday market stall. Throughout Violet devises a series of real and imaginary ways of being able to afford buying the blue china bird. This is a heart warming story of desire, mind games and family relationships. Young girls will love and relate to Violet. Age Guide: 6+ Years Extent: 112 pages (Hardback) ISBN: 9781921529177 Price: AU$19.95 Publisher: Walker Books Australia P: 02 9517 9577

Willbee the Bumblebee Authors: Craig Smith & Maureen Thomson Illustrator: Katz Cowley A rhyming tale that has being put to song in the accompanying CD. “And as Willbee flew away, he did not stop his jersey unraveled from the bottom to the top and when he realised this, he lost his hum... He was showing the whole garden his bare bum!” This is delightful, educational tale that is ideal for reading aloud. The imaginative illustrations will add joy to parents and children who read this book. Age Guide: 3+ Years Extent: 32 pages (Hardback + CD) ISBN: 9781869439439 Price: AU $16.99 Publisher: Scholastic New Zealand P: 02 4328 3523

More great book reviews at

Meteorite Strike Author: A. G. Taylor

32 Get Ahead Kids® Jan/Feb 11

Sarah and Robert are reunited with their father who has not been in their life for 8 years, after their mother’s death. On the flight from UK to Melbourne, their aeroplane crashes over the Australian desert. But this is no ordinary air disaster. A meteorite strike has impacted Earth, bringing with it a deadly alien disease. Thousands fall victim to the virus, falling into a deep coma. Luckily, Robert and Sarah appear to be unaffected - until they begin to exhibit some extraordinary psychic side-effects.

This is a multi dimensional, science fiction story of family relationships, secret agencies, superkids and a new world. It is a riveting story that will capture and hold the interest of kids and their parents. Age Guide: 9+ Years Extent: 335 Pages (Paperback) ISBN: 9781409508571 Price: AU$14.99 Publisher: Usborne Publishing Ltd P: 02 9871 8845


Ripley’s Believe it or Not! Special Edition 2011 Author: Ripley Publishing This special edition book reveals the weird and wonderful facts of the world. Filled with interesting images and stories this is a book both boys and girls will love. It also proves how there is nothing stranger than the truth. Divided into 6 different sections, each exposing shocking and almost unbelievable stories. This is a book that will really make you say wow! Age Guide: 7-12 Years Extent: 144 Pages (Hardback) ISBN: 9780545238007 Price: AU$19.99 Publisher: Scholastic Inc P: 02 9416 4000

Kingdom of Silk #5: Plum Puddings and Paper Moons Author: Glenda Millard Illustrator: Stephen Michael King When Scarlet, the oldest of the Rainbow Girls makes a new friend Anik, she discovers that the world is not as safe and sweet as her home. Anik and his family have been left devastated by the foreign wars. Upon learning this, Scarlet is determined to make difference and sets about declaring peace on Cameron’s Creek. This book explores how wishes can come true and discovering that even the smallest change can make a difference. The story follows the magic of being young to becoming older and viewing the world from a different perspective. Age Guide: 10+ Years Series: Kingdom of Silk Extent: 122 pages (Paperback) ISBN: 9780733328664 Price: AU$14.99 Publisher: ABC Books P: 1300 360 111

The Farmer’s Hat Author: Kim L. Barnes Illustrator: Andrew Joyner A story of a disheartened farmer who has lost his beloved hat and now relies on his farm animals to help him find where it has gone. A wonderful read about friendship and learning to not give up when the answer is not right in front of you straight away. Age Guide: 3-5 Years Extent: 24 Pages (Paperback) ISBN: 9781862918351 Price: AU $13.99 Publisher: Omnibus Books P: 02 4328 3523

“It does not cost any more to help our environment at NCP Printing.”

This is a great read and hits so close to home that it’s enough to make mothers blush! It is great story for reading out loud and will have enormous appeal to young boys!

Harvey, the Boy Who Couldn’t Fart

Age Guide: 2+ Years

Author: Matthew Johnstone

ISBN: 9781921529832

Everyone can fart, but not Harvey. This is quirky story that comes with a free fart machine!

Price: AU$19.95 Publisher: Walker Books Australia P: 02 9517 9577

Extent: 24 Pages (Hardback)

17 Arnott Street Newcastle West NSW 2302 Tel: 02 4926 1300 Fax: 02 4926 5557 Email: Web:

Cert no. SGS-COC-005911



Article Themes 2011 January/February

Advertisers Index

Back to School - Susanne Gervay Ad Booking Deadline Nov 5, 2010 Editorial Deadline Nov 12, 2010

March/April Physical Education - Shannan Ponton Ad Booking Deadline Feb 2, 2011 Editorial Deadline Feb 11, 2011


Alphabet Street 30 Arrendell Primary Education Centre


Baby Ballerinas 22 Bishop Tyrrell Anglican College


Fionas Studio of Dance 23 GENR8 Performing Arts 23 Great Aussie Bush Camp

2 & 24


8 & 30

Languages & Communications -

Hunter Wetlands Centre 27

George Calombaris

I Can Read System 30

Ad Booking Deadline Apr 8, 2011

INParenting 30

Editorial Deadline Apr 15, 2011

International Child Care College


Irlen Dyslexia Screening Service



KidsSmile 19

Learning Innovations & Technology -

KU Childrens Services 21

Dr. Chris Brown

Maitland Mutual Building Society

Ad Booking Deadline Jun 3, 2011

NCP Printing 33

Editorial Deadline Jun 10, 2011

Newcastle Family & Sports Podiatry


Newcastle Permanent Building Society

Study & Assessment - Mark Bouris

NSW DII Tocal 27

Ad Booking Deadline Aug 12, 2011


Editorial Deadline Aug 19, 2011

Samaritans 15

31 25

Newcastle Grammar School 11 36

Susan Walton Optometrist 21


Teachers Pet (Professional Education Theatre)


Summer Learning - Layne Beachley

TAFE NSW Hunter Institute


Ad Booking Deadline Oct 7, 2011

Wenona 5

Editorial Deadline Oct 14, 2011

Woven Labels Direct 13


For more advertising information please contact



® Vol. 3 • No. 2

• Mar/Apr 2 011

Maria Charlton | | P: 02 4929 7766

Advertisers media kit & booking form at

Celebrity Spotlight Shannan Ponton Personal Trainer on Biggest Loser Australia Physical Education Issue out

MARCH 2011 34 Get Ahead Kids® Jan/Feb 2011

Activity Zone

You’ve Got Mail

Santa has just finished delivering presents to all the good girls and boys around the world. He has sent you a postcard from his relaxing holiday.

Happy Holid


What will you be doing during the holidays? Design a postcard to send back to Santa.


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