Some kids like to play with toys and gadgets, others simply love the outdoors. They are drawn to the garden, they dig and pull-out weeds, and occasionally eat the mud too, but they always manage to pick out a flower or two for mum. Some will even create a patch to plant the pips from the fruit they just ate, and water it expecting Jack’s beanstalk to sprout immediately. These are our special little green thumbs.
As a parent, when you realise that your little one is interested in plants and nature, what better way to keep them occupied than to start gardening with them. Planting a fruit or vegetable garden is not only a great way to ensure you eat organic, but it also provides an exceptional hands-on learning opportunity for the kids. Take the chance to teach them healthy habits and environmental sustainability while reaping the benefits once the produce grows in.
How to get going
Besides having fun and spending time together in the garden, your biggest goal will be to encourage healthy eating. To get started, make sure you have the right tools on hand. The Woolworths catalogue currently has a Discovery Garden collection of pot plants and it also includes kids aprons and bucket hats for $8 each, and a 2 pack gardening tool kit with gloves for $5.
Once you have the accessories, choose 5 seed types or seedlings to narrow down your search with the little ones. Cherry tomatoes are a smart pick, they grow faster than ordinary tomatoes and they also make for a good snack. Lettuce grows pretty fast too and you can pick it more than once, just like spinach. Let each child pick out their seed and let them know they will be responsible for its growth and upkeep. This will surely get them all excited and raring to go.
Responsibility is key
Let the little ones identify where they want the garden to be so that they have a sense of ownership. Garden maintenance requires more than just planting the seeds. The upkeep of watering, weeding and harvesting will help you teach them about responsibility. Also, let them take the lead so that they become more interested in the garden’s outcome. If they are old enough, put them in charge of remembering to water the plants. This is a sure way to instill a feeling of responsibility.
Once the plants have germinated and they’ve started flowering, now is the chance to talk about the plant parts, photosynthesis and soil nutrients, if you have kids who are able to understand the science. When there is fruit, your picky eaters will be more encouraged to eat what they toiled for.
Gardening will get your hands dirty but smart kids and healthy fruit and vegetables are worth it, enjoy the process.
The Reggio Emelia approach suggests “if children are placed in a beautiful environment, with stimulating materials to work with, they will be motivated to explore and respect the environment.” The new OFG Kindergarten hub is an embodiment of the impact the classroom environment can have on the learning of each child. Learning spaces provide a physical framework for high quality teaching inspiring our students to flourish academically.
Classroom environment has long been shown to influence student mood and the ability to learn effectively within a safe and caring environment. The OFG purpose built learning spaces encourage curiosity, self-discovery, event and play-based learning structured upon a whole school inquiry-based learning approach.
Opportunities for children’s voices to be considered in the design of the spaces leads to greater student ownership and underpins our school values. Head of K-2 and Kindergarten teacher Mrs Karen Rose says, “Students have agency over the environment by having flexible spaces and furniture, as well as varied and flexible materials to explore their ideas. Our team is thrilled to utilise these new spaces to explore age-appropriate risk taking, trial and error and challenge through a wider range of materials and activities now on offer.”
Oxford Falls Grammar offers a balanced education through the explicit teaching of Literacy and Numeracy foundation subjects combined with a variety of specialist subjects taught by specialist teachers including Languages, Music, Drama, Art, Christian Studies and PE. Experience the OFG facilities through a virtual tour or book a bespoke small group tour of the junior school at www.ofg.nsw.edu.au/book-a-tour.
Roller skating has recently made a comeback from its heyday in the 90s. What was once considered slightly dated has been given new life in recent years, with children and teenagers all around the world lacing up their roller skates and taking to local parks and recreation areas to have a bit of healthy outdoor fun.
As a parent, you may naturally worry about your child’s safety while skating (how could you not!), but thankfully we’re here to alleviate your worries. In this article, we look at 6 skate safety tips that will give parents peace of mind, so read on to find out more!
Don’t Size Up!
It’s no secret that kids grow, and boy do they grow quickly! This can sometimes be a reason for why parents are wary of buying roller skates for their children… I mean, who is to say they’ll fit into the same pair in 6 months? Whilst you may get away with sizing up when it comes to sneakers and sandals, we highly recommend abandoning this method when buying skates. Ideally, you’ll want to measure your child’s foot and purchase a pair of skates that fits them in the current moment. Sizing up can lead to skate boots that are too loose and may cause your child’s foot to slide, chafe and even blister. Doing this may cost you a little more but no price can be put on a child’s safety.
Safety Gear Is Non-Negotiable
Safety gear is an absolute non-negotiable when it comes to keeping your child safe on their roller skates. Sadly, kids can be mean and it’s no secret that there may be situations in which your child is taunted or made fun of for wearing a bulky looking helmet and knee pads. Luckily, a few prominent skating figures have now started wearing helmets in a bid to encourage youngsters to follow suit. If you’re having trouble trying to get your child to open up to the idea of safety gear, we highly recomment having them watch a couple of videos to open his or her mind to the idea of wearing a helmet, knee pads and elbow pads.
Encourage Light Stretching
Just like any activity or exercise, failing to do your stretches at the beginning and end of every workout can prove to be a painful experience. This is why parents are encouraged to incorporate light stretches prior to a skate session and right after. Stretching will help loosen those muscles, increase flexibility and greatly reduce the possibility of injuries or falls. Some experts even recommend incorporating a few yoga poses and stretches into your child’s routine in order to further strengthen their bones, muscles and joints.
Skate In Safe Zones
You probably already know this, but ensuring that your child skates in a “skate friendly” safe zone is imperative. Thankfully, there are now many parks with designated skating areas where you can feel safe knowing that your child isn’t in harm’s way. Roller skating should never be done on sidewalks or pavements, or even worse, on open roads. This is especially important if you have a young child or a child that is brand new to skating. Better safe than sorry, so to the skate park we shall go!
One of the best tips we can give parents is to get involved in your child’s skating journey. By getting involved and researching on moves, tips and tricks, you’ll be able to teach your kid safe skating from the get go. Tagging along and even picking up a pair of roller skates for yourself to join in the fun is also a fantastic way of getting involved without seeming too overbearing. If you’re there and aware of basic skating techniques and safety, you’ll be able to prevent injuries or accidents from happening.
Enrol In A Class
Last but not least, enrolling your child in a skating class is probably one of the best ways to ensure that they learn all the necessary techniques to keep themselves safe while roller skating. An added benefit, your child will be able to mingle with like minded peers who may very well end up becoming their friends. You will also have peace of mind knowing that your child is in the hands of a professional, which is always handy when dealing with potentially dangerous sports and situations!
Roller skating can be an amazing activity for kids that gets them active, out of the house and in great health. By ensuring that you take all the recommended precautions and instilling some good safety habits, you’ll be able to rest easy knowing that they’re enjoying themselves and out of harm’s way!
Amrita is a writer, blogger and content creator hailing from Melbourne, Australia. With a penchant for research and exploration of esoteric topics, Amrita is always on the lookout for more pointless things to get excited about.
NSW Education authorities are now making an assessment for phonics compulsory for 2021 Grade 1 students. It’s about 20 years late!
Frankly it’s ridiculous. The evidence cited by Sarah Mitchell (State Minister for Education) has been available since the 1970s. Clearly an assessment for phonics sensitivity is required but most so-called education experts do not appreciate that, while phonics awareness is a necessity, it is NOT sufficient for the beginning reader. One wonders how it is possible that a government isn’t up to speed on the research.
The reason is that the Department of Education doesn’t follow the research. Remember how it wasted $450 million on the failed system called ‘Reading Recovery’, which didn’t recover many participants even though a plethora of vocal teachers lauded it. It was applied because of political pressure from a minority of interested parties without the benefit of any supportive data.
This new ‘initiative’ from the NSW Dept of Education won’t hurt. Bu it will mislead parents and teachers into believing that, by returning to a phonics inclusive approach, the solution will be found. The Department is playing catch up, again!
Phonics alone is NOT an effective way to teach reading.
Applying phonics as part of the learning process is clearly an improvement on whatever failed systems the Department currently applies, but it does not teach children how to read. Why the Department continues to trot out simplistic non-existent solutions beats us. Do they think that parents will blindly accept their poorly thought-out approaches?
Research has identified a number of necessary variables that are required as part of the English language acquisition process and phonics is clearly one of them. Phonics is basically the ability to associate a sound with a written letter. There is also the assumption that those tested will somehow have no difficulties processing the sequences of sounds/letters. This is false because many children will easily follow this approach innately without appreciating their actual cognitive activities.
We know from intensive research into reading acquisition that, irrespective of the instructional methods used by teachers, some 60% of children will learn how to read. So this means, that irrespective of the teaching methods utilised by their teacher, around 60% of students will work out for themselves the nature of the alphabetic principle, how to access phonemes, how to process a sequence of phonemes into co-articulated utterances, and more.
When you understand that schools currently claim a 60% success record in literacy, you will see how meaningless this claim really is. Alarmingly, the remaining 40% are then generally noted as having some kind of learning difficulty – or, as teachers frequently tell parents, “He/she will come good later.” This is not true, and the failure rate of children learning to read can be attributed to the instructional inadequacy of the teaching.
This is not the fault of the teachers, but of the way in which they, themselves are being trained.
We have no aim to be inflammatory, or political here – we are simply driven by our passion for the subject and our work of more than 20 years, built on solid research that the Department of Education chooses to ignore.
The unique I Can Read system has taught nearly half a million children to read since 2003 and has never had a failure with its core programme. The I Can Read methodology is completely driven by research and was created by Australian registered educational psychologists.
Prize winner will be announced on Wednesday 31st of March on our Facebook Page and in our Facebook Group. The winner will also be contacted directly.
The prize will be dropped off on Thursday 1st of April in time to enjoy over the Easter weekend.
Carolyn Ziegler is co-founder of Dreambaby, the child safety brand as well as an international child safety expert and advocate. Here she talks about the benefits of using a play-pen for young children from the moment they start to roll over.
“There are many reasons using a play-pen can be beneficial and here are some top tips on when and how to use a play-pen,” says Carolyn:
Play-pens can help protect little ones from over enthusiastic older siblings and favourite family pets. “While a hug from a big brother or sister is lovely, it can actually be dangerous for a newborn or very young child as they are still very delicate. As for the many YouTube videos out there showing a baby being licked and petted by the family dog, this may be cute, but it is very dangerous and a child could even be smothered. It is highly recommended to avoid exposing your newborn human baby or toddler to your fur baby unless they are separated from each other by a play-pen, gate or one or the other is firmly in your arms and remember, nothing replaces adult supervision,” says Carolyn.
Play-pens can help prevent accidents in the home. “How? Well take Christmas for instance. It may have just past but remember for next year – always put your Christmas tree inside a play-pen if you have young children in the home. You don’t want your child to accidentally pull over a Christmas tree with all those glass ornaments that can break into shards. Even if they pull at just one ornament it can be very dangerous if it breaks. A play-pen helps families avoid this risk but allows them to still enjoy their Christmas tree.”
“I often tell new parents to get down on all fours and look at the world from the view of a child,” says Carolyn. “It may sound a little extreme, but you will be amazed at the hidden dangers you see – like accidently dropped coins, medicines or small toys parts or puzzle pieces. Also, a living room or any room come to that can be full of sharp corners and other dangers. A play-pen means you can help limit your child’s exposure to these dangers and rather help create a safer area for your child to play in – it’s a smaller area to fine-tooth check after all.”
“Home renovations are also popular at the moment. Renovating with small children in the home is a big challenge, so I always advise among other things to keep children completely away from the area being renovated in another room and under supervision. The extra protection of a play-pen can be lifesaving, helping to ensure there are no surprise visits to the building works.”
“Play-pens can help allow for more independent play- a key element of any child’s development. They can play with age-appropriate toys in a suitable and safer environment, giving parents peace of mind,” says Carolyn.
One last thing advises Carolyn is to make sure you do your research and buy the right play-pen. A recent report by CHOICE highlighted numerous design and manufacturing faults in many popular play-pens in the Australian market. They gave a glowing recommendation to Dreambaby’s Royal 3-in-1 Converta® Play-Pen Gate though, of which we are very proud. This multi-purpose play-pen converts from a play-pen to a wide barrier gate to a fire place barrier providing multi safety solutions in the one product.
Want to win a Dreambaby Royal 3-in-1 Converta® Play-Pen Gate valued at $179.95? Enter here.
April School Holidays – Royal Botanic Gardens
In an enchanting world of song and dance, the adventurous Tinkerbell meets up with the fairies from A Midsummer Night’s Dream flying into the Botanic Garden for the April School Holidays. Together, the cheeky Mustardseed, fluttery Moth, daring Cobweb and sweet Peaseblossom go on a magical quest with Tinkerbell.
The audience is invited to dress up and join in the fun! Come as a fairy, an elf, a Jedi, pirate or a superhero! Everyone is welcome to join this sparkling adventure with a special visit to ‘Bubble Land’ to help Tinkerbell and her new fairy friends find her lost wings.
Venue: Royal Botanic Garden, Mrs Macquarie’s Road
Season: Wednesday 7th of April to Sunday 18th of April, 2021
Six individual modular panels creates a wide gate including a convenient walk through gate. Converts quickly into a six-sided play-pen and can also be configured to help block off fire places to small children.
Made of a sturdy, yet lightweight metal construction.
Simple to construct and install – panels can easily be locked into place – and with its compact design, it folds down for easy storage.
Portable and packable to take away with you on your next holiday!
So easy to configure to suit individual layouts and needs.
Available in a choice of black or white to perfectly blend with any décor.
Terms and conditions: The winners will be chosen by Northern Beaches Mums, Friday 12th of March at 10am and contacted by email. If the winners cannot be contacted within 3 days another winner/s will be chosen.
Competition is open to SYDNEY residents only.
We sat down with Warren Jacobs, National Business Development Manager at Property Investment Consultancy Meridian Australia to see if residential property values really do double every 10 years.
Warren says, if properties doubled every 10 years that the property should increase by 7% per annum to adhere to the performance over 10 years.
So, is this true and will it apply to all property moving forward?
Past performance of residential property
The main reason most people invest in property is to achieve as much capital growth as possible, which allows compounding value to do its thing.
Historically around 50% of residential property in Australia has doubled in value every 10 years, whilst the other half have not.
Over the past 25 years, research house CoreLogic states that on a national basis, median house values have achieved an annual growth rate of around 6.8%, whilst apartments have returned an annual growth rate of around 5.9%.
What does the data mean?
The commentary and the collection of data speak in terms of medians, which does not show which markets, suburbs, or properties produced stronger results, and which have underperformed.
There are overachievers and underachievers, particularly when you compare regional areas with well-researched areas closest to major CBD’s.
In the years and decades ahead of us, it will be tougher to achieve the growth we have seen historically. We currently are living through some tricky times and irrespective of that, inflation is low, wage growth is slow, interest rates are at an all-time low, immigration has slowed and the economy has a lot of ground to make up.
In summary, doubling a property’s value over 10 years is going to be more difficult than it used to , so it’s more important than ever, to be working with people who can significantly improve your chances by applying a well trusted and successful methodology.
*Disclaimer: When considering purchasing property, it is always prudent to seek the advice of an appropriately qualified professional to determine which strategy is most appropriate for your circumstance.
We all know those inspiring people who go above and beyond to make a positive impact to their local community or environment… and we’re inviting you to help us recognise them and support their work to thrive.
Nominations to Westfield Local Heroes are open 16th of February to 15th of March, with more than $1.2 million in grants to be awarded. Westfield Local Heroes are nominated and voted for by their communities, with three finalists per Westfield centre each awarded a $10,000 grant for their affiliated organisation or group.
Now in its fourth year, the program has already celebrated more than 363 individuals and their organisations.
The successful heroes work in a diverse range of sectors and have a varied degree of experience. They include environmentalists, innovators, community volunteers and leaders, welfare service providers, first responders, essential workers, health and medical experts, educators, social entrepreneurs and intrapreneurs. At Warringah Mall we’ve had some fantastic local community causes that have benefited from the program including the Northern Beaches Clean Up Crew, mental health support groups Mr Perfect and Gotcha for Life and the Forest Men’s Kitchen.
It’s easy to recognise your hero and put them in the spotlight to potentially earn a $10,000 grant to help continue their work.