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Life Skills at Acacia Hill

Life Skills at Acacia Hill

At Acacia Hill, our educators play an important role in assisting the development of life skills in all the children that come through our doors every day.  We believe it is important to share this with you so we can work together as a team to support your child.

As we know, the first five years of a child’s life is very important. During this time, their brains are developing at a remarkable pace, laying the foundation for future learning and success. Life skills are at the heart of this development, shaping how children navigate the world around them and interact with others.

We provide a rich and stimulating environment where children can explore, discover, and learn through play. From sensory activities that engage their curiosity to puzzles that challenge their problem-solving skills, every moment is an opportunity for growth. By encouraging children to ask questions, explore new ideas, and think critically, we’re helping them develop the skills they need to succeed in school and beyond.

Emotional development is another key focus in our curriculum, as we believe helping children understand and manage their emotions is essential for their overall well-being. Through activities like storytelling, role-playing, and mindfulness exercises, we encourage the children to recognise and express their feelings in healthy ways. By fostering empathy, resilience, and self-regulation, we’re laying the groundwork for positive social and emotional development that will serve them throughout their lives.

Physical activity is an integral part of each day at our centre. Whether children are climbing on the outdoor play equipment, dancing to music, or engaging in sensory exploration, they’re developing important fine and gross motor skills that will help them succeed in tasks like writing, drawing, and self-care. We provide plenty of opportunities for movement and active play, recognising physical development is essential for overall health and well-being.

Learning to interact with others is a fundamental part of early childhood, and our rooms are designed to support social development in meaningful ways. Through group activities, shared games, and daily routines like mealtime and our mat sessions, the children are learning important social skills such as sharing, taking turns, and listening to others. We create a warm and inclusive environment where every child feels valued and respected, fostering a sense of belonging and community that lays the foundation for positive relationships throughout their lives.

As educators, we are committed to working with you, the parents, to support your child’s development in every way we can. By providing a safe, nurturing, and stimulating environment where children can learn and grow, we’re helping to lay the foundation for a lifetime of success.

At our centres, we believe every child deserves the opportunity to thrive. By focusing on the development of life skills in the early years, we’re helping to set your child on a path to success in school, relationships, and life.

Understanding and Managing Challenging Behaviours in Children 2-3 years

Understanding and Managing Challenging Behaviours in Children 2-3 years

The 2–3 year age range is a period of rapid cognitive, emotional, and physical development.  Toddlers are learning to walk, talk and navigate their emotions which can lead to a range of behaviours.

Challenging behaviours in children are a normal part of their development, but they can be perplexing and stressful for both families and educators.  These behaviours can vary depending on the context, and sometimes, you may notice a child exhibits challenging behaviours primarily in childcare settings but not at home, or vice versa.  Understanding the reasons behind these differences and collaborating effectively can make a significant difference in helping children develop appropriate social and emotional skills.  Here we explore the reasons behind context-specific behaviours and offer guidance on how families and educators can work together to support children’s growth and development.

Reasons influencing challenging behaviours.

  1. Social Dynamic Influences
    • Children often behave differently in group settings like childcare due to unique social dynamics.  They may experience competition for attention and resources, face sharing challenges, or attempt to fit in with peers.  As a result, behaviours that aren’t typically seen at home may arise.
  2. Environmental Differences
    • Childcare and home environments have distinct physical settings, rules, and routines.  Children may react to these differences with behaviours that seem out of character.  Different expectation in these environments can prompt children to test boundaries or act out.
  3. Peer Influence
    • Children are highly influenced by the behaviours of their peers.  If they observe challenging behaviours in their childcare peers, they may be more likely to imitate these behaviours.
  4. Transitions and Changes
    • Transitions from home to childcare can be challenging for some children.  They may grapple with adjusting to a different environment, separating from parents, and dealing with different routines, leading to temporary behavioural challenges.
  5. Attention Seeking
    • Children may employ challenging behaviours to gain attention or express their needs.  In a group setting like childcare, children might perceive these behaviours as more effective in getting attention from caregivers / peers.
  6. Peer conflict
    • Conflicts with peers can arise in childcare settings, potentially resulting in challenging behaviours like aggression or defiance.  Such conflicts may not be as frequent or intense at home, where there are fewer children to interact with.
  7. Stress and Fatigue
    • The demands of the childcare environment can lead to stress or fatigue in some children, contributing to challenging behaviours that are less evident at home.

In the childcare setting, educators have a significant role in guiding the children’s behaviour through –

  1. Observation – paying close attention to individual needs and behaviours.
  2. Structuring environments – creating stimulating environments to encourage exploration and learning.
  3. Modelling behaviours – modelling appropriate behaviours and social skills.
  4. Teaching conflict resolution – teaching conflict resolution skills and guiding sharing and turn taking.
  5. Collaborating with families – maintaining open communication with families.

Educators and Families working together to guide challenging behaviour is the best approach to correcting the behaviour in a calm and empathetic manner.  This can be achieved through:

  1. Communication – educators and families communicating openly about the child’s behaviour, sharing observations and strategies that work.
  2. Consistency – Ensuring behaviour management strategies are consistent across the home and childcare setting.
  3. Positive reinforcement – praise and reinforce positive behaviours to encourage their continuation.
  4. Problem-Solving – educators and families working together to address specific challenging behaviours, develop strategies, and set realistic goals for improvement.
  5. Professional guidance – seek professional help if challenging behaviours persist despite collaborative efforts.

Challenging behaviours in children can vary between childcare and home due to a range of factors, but understanding these differences and acknowledging they are age appropriate, and part of development is significant in supporting the children.  By working together, educators and families can provide a consistent and supportive environment for children to learn appropriate social and emotional skills.

Life Skills 0-5 years at Acacia Hill

Life Skills 0-5 years at Acacia Hill

Our approach at Acacia Hill with your children is to assist them to develop skills for life, skills that we as adults can take for granted.  As skills are developed, the children use them, store them, and constantly refer to them when faced with new challenges. 

By focusing on life skill education in children 0-5 years we are assisting them in developing

  • Interpersonal relationships
  • Emotion
  • Problem solving
  • Decision making
  • Creative thinking
  • Critical thinking
  • Self-awareness and management
  • Communication skills
  • Empathy
  • Resilience
  • Independence

Children must be socially and emotionally ready to take on academic knowledge, so it is imperative in these early years we work hard alongside families in developing life skills.

At Acacia Hill we have a defined list of life skills we help your child develop at every stage of their journey with us. 

For further reading, please click this article out of Europe

https://www.theguardian.com/society/2021/apr/23/let-children-play-the-educational-message-from-across-europe?fbclid=IwAR3J_VJmmD1XliBP3cnrGeCZuXhkOPZItXvLQmAazfuAzZzI3NGdt7u6iuE

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: www.careforkids.com.au/child-care-articles/article/584/immunity-boosters-for-kids-in-care)

Getting Sick in Childcare

Playdough Recipe

Playdough Recipe

AT HOME PLAYDOUGH RECIPE

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 cups plain flour (all purpose)

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil (baby oil and coconut oil work too)

  • 1/2 cup salt

  • 2 tablespoons cream of tartar

  • 1 to 1.5 cups boiling water (adding in increments until it feels just right)

  • Food colouring (optional)

METHOD

  1. Mix the flour, salt, cream of tartar and oil in a large mixing bowl
  2. Add food colouring TO the boiling water then into the dry ingredients
  3. Stir continuously until it becomes a sticky, combined dough
  4. Allow it to cool down then take it out of the bowl and knead it vigorously for a couple of minutes until all of the stickiness has gone.

* This is the most important part of the process, so keep at it until it’s the perfect consistency!*

If it remains a little sticky then add a touch more flour until just right

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