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Acacia Hill turns 30 – Hip, Hip Hooray

Acacia Hill turns 30 – Hip, Hip Hooray



It has been a wonderful milestone to achieve.  Our little family business that started out with 2 migrant sisters settling in Perth, Western Australia taking on a small yet quaint 23 place childcare centre in the Western suburbs to the well-known, respected and experienced, business Acacia Hill is today.  



In the early days, Jean and Catherine (along with their husbands Hugh and Robert) put all their blood, sweat and tears into creating a home away from home for many children whose families wanted that personal touch when it came to the care and education of their young.  Humpty Dumpty (the first centre they opened in 1992) set a standard in the industry that the business still thrives on today.  With the core values of Learning, Caring and Sharing although only coming to fruition in words in the last 5 years, have been the underlying values Jean and Catherine implemented back at the beginning.



In 2002, Jean and Hugh’s son Martin and his wife Fiona became directors in the family business. 



Over the last 30 years the family have owned 13 childcare centres with the sale of many of the centres in 2018 when Jean and Catherine decided retirement was calling.  Martin and Fiona continue to grow the business today with their passion for education, specializing in the areas of life skill development and resilience.



Over the years at Acacia Hill, we have embraced the educational philosophy from Reggio Emilia as we believe their child centred, play based approach to be best practice for young minds and bodies.  Delving deep into this approach has allowed us the opportunity to combine theory with practice in our Australian context and develop our own curriculum we implement and are proud to provide children in Perth.  



Looking forward to the next 30 years……. we will continue to build resilience by providing each child that walks through our doors the opportunity to experience risk in a very safe environment, gain age-appropriate life skills, learn and understand their Australian/Indigenous culture and understand why sustainability is important today.



As we have always done in celebrating each child, each of their cultures and what is important, today we celebrate Acacia Hill. The culture it has set up and provided for the children, families, educators and wider community over the past 30 years.



Happy Birthday Acacia Hill.


Getting Sick in Childcare

Getting Sick in Childcare

Is there truth to this assumption and what can we all do about it.

Why does it ‘always feel like’ when your child starts childcare they always seem to ‘get’ sick.

There seems to be a real stigma around this thought and for those of us who work in childcare it can sometimes be quite demoralising as we work hard not only educating your children but providing them a clean and safe environment.

So what truth is in this?

Yes, I do agree some children tend to get sicker than others and this can be a thing when children first start in care, but is it the cleanliness of the centre that causes this?  In some places this could definitely be a cause however with our strict hygiene and safety policies and procedures we are governed to follow, I don’t believe this is the reason.

So, what is it, I hear you ask that causes the sicknesses?

With any age group, babies, toddlers, school children and adults when they are grouped together in a space where they are breathing in and out the same air, and when they are sharing the same toys/ stationary / computers / facilities, germs are bound to spread. This is just fact.

We have all experienced I’m sure when the common cold goes around the office, generally the majority of the people in the office will catch the cold.  This is because we are sharing the same circulated air and equipment.  The same happens in childcare and schools, however as adults we understand not to share pens, or equipment with someone who becomes unwell, young children do not always remember this rule as much as we try to enforce it in the centre.

The other thing to remember, prior to your child starting in a childcare centre, they probably spent the majority of their time at home with you where they weren’t surround by another 10, 20 or even 30 other children and adults in the same room at the same time.  The more people they are around, the higher the chance of becoming sick.

Now this sounds all doom and glume I’m sure to you at home wondering why you have put your child in care.

Well, the good news is you are helping your child build their immunity to all these common illnesses.  At some stage in their life, they will be consistently surrounded by others at school, team sports, concerts, work etc and by placing your child in childcare now, this is step 1 to helping them build their immunity.

What else do we do in the centre to prevent the spread of illnesses:

  • We ensure every day the children have lots of outside play in the fresh air to limit the spread of germs in the air
  • When the temperature is between 16 and 30 degrees we have the children sleeping outside under cover and in the fresh air. (Sunscreen is applied prior to sleeping)
  • While the children are sleeping, they sleep head to toe to prevent them from breathing on one another
  • We have a ‘mouthed’ bucket in every room. Every time we see a toy mouthed by a child, we place it into the bucket to be cleaned and disinfected.
  • We have a cleaner in the centre every day who does a thorough clean of the rooms, bathrooms and equipment.
  • We rotate the equipment in the rooms on a weekly They are cleaned, disinfected and dried out in the sunshine when possible, to kill all germs
  • We have strict policies and procedures on contagious illnesses which allow us to send children home when we think they are contagious.

What can you do to help your child stay well in childcare?

  • Ensure your child eats a variety of healthy foods – include vegetables, fruit, breads, cereals, dairy and protein. Care for kids recommends the following immune boosting foods
    • Almonds (age appropriate); berries; low/no sugar yoghurt; salmon; eggs; broccoli; spinach; sweet potato; seeds and oats.
  • Ensure your child is getting adequate, quality sleep
  • Ensure your child gets enough exercise
  • Ensure your child is up to date with their immunisation
  • Encourage good health and hygiene practices
(June 2020:

Getting Sick in Childcare

Keep childcare costs down

Keep childcare costs down

With many families needing help with the care of their children while they’re working/studying and the biggest choice being paid care, this can be a big expense and added pressure to many families. While the care is necessary, families should be aware of what is available to them in keeping their childcare costs as low as possible.

The following list is a great start in helping reduce those costs

• Ensure before you start looking for childcare you have been in contact with Centrelink to register yourself and your child. You will be provided with a customer reference number for yourself and your child which you will need to provide to the childcare service upon enrolling.
• Ensure your child’s immunisation is up to date. To receive assistant with childcare fees, your child must be fully immunised in accordance with the National Immunisation Programme Schedule.
• Ensure your Child Care Benefit (CCB) and Child Care Rebate (CCR) is paid directly to the childcare service your child is enrolled. This will reduce your weekly out of pocket expense.
• Know your childcare services’ conditions of enrolment. Most services require 2 weeks written notice when you are planning to leave, so by ensuring you plan for this, can reduce costs when you leave.
• Enquire at your childcare service about holiday discounts. Many services offer a discount when you plan on taking holidays which makes a big difference to your weekly out of pocket expense when you are not attending.

7 Tips to settle your child in childcare

Any child at any age can be ready for childcare. It depends on how we as adults approach the situation. If we are going to be anxious, nervous, upset and clingy with our child, then we need to expect our children to display these same behaviours.

Always make the transition to childcare a positive experience in the way you talk about it to your child and others (in your child’s hearing range) before, during and after the event by

1. If possible, try and have your child attend the centre for a minimum of 2 days per week. This allows them to become familiar quicker with the new environment (younger children can forget from one week to the next, so it is like they are starting all over again if they only attend 1 day a week).
2. Get your child a ‘childcare’ bag and hat, so they can get excited about it. It also provides them with a belonging they can have with them at the centre
3. Be positive about the new venture with your child. If you are excited about it hopefully they will be as well
4. Visit the centre prior to them officially starting so they know the environment and have meet their caregivers
5. Have a routine from day 1 when dropping your child off at the centre, so they always know what to expect. This could include putting the bag away, reading a story together or doing a puzzle and then leaving.
6. ALWAYS say good bye to your child even if they have a few tears. Let them be aware you are leaving otherwise they can feel forgotten. They need to know you are leaving and you will be back.
7. Be open with the educators. Provide information about how your child’s morning has gone prior to arriving at the centre, and the educators will ensure they take this information into consideration in helping them settle.

Give your child a few weeks to adjust to the big changes in their lives and hopefully this will see you all sailing with your new childcare adventure.

Benefits of Childcare

Childcare for many parents comes with the feeling of guilt for leaving your child or children in care instead of at home with you where all children should be……… so some people believe

Childcare can provide many benefits.

The top 10 reasons for your child to attend childcare include:

For the children

1. Relationships with other children their own age, educators and materials
2. Control over the direction of their learning
3. Vast array of educational resources and experiences of touch, hearing, seeing, listening and tasting
4. Educators with extensive up to date knowledge in the development of birth-5 year olds
5. Environments designed for different types of play and learning with many opportunities to express themselves
6. Links to the wider community
7. Ability to form independence

For parents

8. Ability to continue with their own career path
9. Assurance your children are being provided with early education
10. Respite (we all need a bit of that every now and then)

Western Australia now has its first National Curriculum for birth-5 year olds, there is no better time to consider childcare.

For more information about the curriculum visit

5 Tips to choose the right childcare centre for you

Selecting the right childcare centre for you and your family can be a difficult and scary challenge. As a mum myself, I know how it felt leaving my children with the educators, and that was in a centre I owned, where I knew the staff.

To help you on your journey in searching for what suits your family best, I have come up with 5 suggestions to make your starting point a little easier.

1. Look for childcare close to home – the last thing you want at the end of a work day is to be stuck in peak hour traffic with a tired child. Google childcare in your area and have the names of 3 or 4 centres to contact.

2. Have a list of questions important to you to have answered for example
– What will my child do throughout the day?
– What are the centre opening and closing times?
– What is the daily cost to me?

3. Make initial contact with the centres – Give all centres a call. 1st impressions in childcare are generally made within 3 seconds according to ‘Care for Kids’ 2011. If the centre representative is willing and able to answer all your questions the centre is probably worth pursuing with a visit.

4. Follow your gut feeling when viewing the centres – If it feels right, it probably is. Ensure you are given the time and attention to view the centre and have all your questions answered. The way the physical centre presents itself and the engagement you receive from staff gives you an initial impression of trust.

5. Stop – Evaluate – Decide – Once you have visited the centres, compare the pros and cons and decide on the centre that best suits your family’s individual needs and circumstances.