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Kath Dickson Family Centre

Serving, protecting and empowering families since 1975

serving, protecting and empowering families since 1975serving, protecting and empowering families since 1975

Kath Dickson Family Centre Blog

5 Easter craft activities for kids

Amy Dampney - Monday, April 03, 2017

Easter egg craftWith Easter falling later this year, there is plenty of time during school holidays to entertain the kids with some fabulous Easter craft.

Invest in some glitter or recycle what you have with these cheap craft activities that will provide hours of entertainment. 

Not just the kids, even Mums and Dads can indulge in these fun activities and hone their creative skills. From simple Easter egg paints to more personalised fun artefacts, there are quite a lot of Easter crafts to choose from.

Egg painting

Paint, dye, glitter or spray paint some boiled eggs for a striking Easter display. Painting eggs is a great craft for children of all ages and will help them discover their creative side. It’s also cracking good fun ...!

Bunny masks 

Making Easter bunny masks or ears is another great activity. Making masks is a fun activity that involves a little bit of cutting, colouring and gluing. Even if your child is not interested in wearing the masks, you can always use them as a part of your Easter decorations. 

Easter egg decorations

Children in our Occasional Care Centre loved creating the fabulous Easter eggs pictured in this post. Just cut out an egg in the shape of an egg and encourage your child to decorate the egg with different materials and textures. You could also head outdoors and decorate your egg using leaves, flowers or greenery. 

Food bunnies

Not strictly craft….. You can create bunnies with pieces of fruit for a healthy snack. Children can also get artistic decorating Easter biscuits or cupcakes or help you make this adorable Easter Cake. Hop to it! 

Easter wreath

Are you board bored of the same old flower baskets and bouquets? How about trying to make an Easter wreath.?  Easter wreaths can make a great gift for visiting friends and relatives, grandparents and loved ones.

We will be organising a lot of Easter craft activities for children at our Occasional Care Centre over the coming days. Our service is unique to Toowoomba being the only Centre in the Region region that offers child care by the hour, so please remember us if you need some help these holidays.

We currently have vacancies so if you are looking for child care with flexible contact Kath Dickson Family Centre today by phone on 1300 336 345, email us or visit www.kdfc.com.au/occasional-care-centre for more information. 

Books needed to create Lifelong Learners

Amy Dampney - Thursday, March 23, 2017

Linda reading a book to XavierKate Mason would like all children to have 1,000 books read to them by the time they are five – to create a generation of lifelong learners who are inquisitive, articulate and ready for school.

To do this she needs your help!

As Director of the Kath Dickson Education Care Centre, the passionate early childhood educator is calling for donations of books to create a family library. 

“We want to create an opportunity for families to read to their children and emphasise to families how important it is to read to your children during the first five years of life,” Kate explained.

“By involving the community, we are also hoping to enhance social inclusion and active citizenship and promote lifelong learning.”

Kate said reading equips children with vital skills needed for school and life success.

“Reading to children helps to develop oral language and listening skills and it increases their attention span,” Kate said.

“Reading also stimulates their imagination and helps children to understand and enjoy the world around them, by broadening their knowledge.”

The innovative educator has created an inviting, homely space for the family library.

“We wanted to create an environment where parents can sit down and bond with their children – a cosy space with a lounge, where families can read and interact,” Kate explained.

It is hoped families will be able to borrow a variety of books from the library.

“We are looking for books right across the board – nature books, children’s books and some novels that parents might want to pick up,” Kate said.

“A wide variety of books that all ages can enjoy.”

DONATION LOCATON: Kath Dickson Education Care Centre, 44 Gladstone Street (Corner or Bridge and Gladstone Streets)
 WHEN: 7am – 6pm Monday to Friday

Media Contact: Kate Mason, 07 4632 5284, Director Kath Dickson Education and Care Centre (Crn Bridge and Gladstone Streets)

Books will never be old-fashioned

Samfya Smith - Saturday, March 18, 2017
Reading to childrenWith all our 21st century technology such as smart phones, tablets and 24 hour children’s television it’s easy to think that reading stories and nursery rhymes to your child is old fashioned and outmoded. 

Nothing could be further from the truth. It’s the interactive and hands on experiences children have with their parents and other important adults in their life that best supports their development. 

Given that 50% of our language is learned by three years of age, the importance of reading with your children cannot be emphasised enough. By reading aloud to your young ones for just 10 minutes a day you are not only developing their language skills but also their social and cognitive development and overall well being.

Not sure where to start? Try some of these tips.

1. Have books available
Have a variety of books that suits your child’s age and have them were they can get to them. While you may have a few special books that your child can only have under adult supervision make sure you have plenty available for them to look at whenever they want.  Don’t be afraid that the books will get tattered and worn – that’s a sign they are well loved.

2. Have a reading routine with your child
Choose a time and place that best suits your family. It could be the last activity at night while snuggled up in bed or it could be in the middle of the day at the park. What is important is that it suits your family, you are both comfortable and there are no distractions such as a television or radio on in the background.

3. Make it fun and interactive
Become the characters. Use different voices and expressions. You may even like to get adventurous and use some puppets. If you can, try and relate the story to your child’s experiences and ask questions such as ‘what do you think will happen next?’ and ‘How do you think they are feeling?”

4. Look at the pictures
There can be lots to explore in a picture and it can give another exciting dimension to the story.

5. Be prepared for repetition
Repetition is how children learn so be prepared to read the same story over again and again. It may be driving you crazy but it’s actually helping your child’s development.

6. Read everything
Let your children read the recipe you are using to make dinner tonight. Let them see your shopping list or newspaper. Read the street signs out to them.  This way your child can see how important reading is in everyday life.

7. Let your children see you read
You are your child’s most important teacher and role model so if they can see you reading and enjoying it then they are more likely to want to read themselves.

Still wanting a bit of support?

Come along to one of our Kath Dickson Family Centre playgroups and see us in action with story telling and singing in a fun environment. Our staff would be only too happy to talk to you and help you feel comfortable with a reading routine with your child. 

How to inspire wonderful childhoods

Amy Dampney - Monday, March 13, 2017
Child climbing a treeClimbing trees, building forts and riding your bike until dark are almost a thing of the past, with the vast majority of kids now spending more time playing indoors.

More than 40 early childhood educators were challenged to consider the implication of this shift indoors during a recent professional development seminar on ‘Risk Rich Environments’, organised by the Kath Dickson Family Centre. 

Experienced educator, Cathy Cahill from Family Day Care Association Queensland, opened the engaging session by asking her colleagues to reflect on their own childhoods and how our attitudes towards risk have changed significantly in one generation.

“There has been a huge shift our approach to risk,” Cathy explained. “Risk was just a part of daily life when I started in childcare – there was real grass, kids played with water and rocks. Now swings have been taken out of playgrounds and trees have been cut down.”

The mother of three said children need to encounter some real risks so they can respond positively to challenging situation and learn how to deal with uncertainty. 

“Children need to learn how to accept responsibility, build risk management strategies and develop a respect for danger, hazards and experimentation,” Cathy explained.

“Playing outside makes kids happier, healthier and smarter – they need free time, play time, exploring time and quiet time. How do we enable children to reflect and create secret places?”

The well-documented Swedish approach to risk and play was also hotly discussed, with Cathy sharing stories from European childcare centres.

“There is a German kindergarten where you can drop your child at one coordinate and they have to hike, with their own backpack, to another coordinate to start their day,” Cathy said.

“In places like Norway and Sweden, where it snows, kids play outside all year round.”

This contrasts starkly with Australia, with a Planet Ark (2013) study finding that 13% kids now spend more time playing outdoors than indoors. Watching TV, video games, lack of supervision and homework were other barriers to outside activity.

“Crime and safety concerns are keeping children indoors – that fear of who is out there and keeping children safe,” Cathy explained. “But there is no evidence to say that children are more likely to be kidnapped than they were a generation ago.”

Cathy referred to author of “Barefoot and Balanced”, Angela Hanscom, and one of the United Kingdom’s leading thinkers on childhood, Tim Gill, during her presentation.

“I highly recommend their books to parents who are wanting learn more about the importance of playing outdoors and taking risks,” Cathy said.

“Angela is an occupational therapist and mother who promotes the sensory benefit of unrestricted outdoor play and Tim believes that it is natural and healthy for children to take risks, make mistakes, have everyday adventures and test themselves and their boundaries,” Cathy said.

The session ended with educators examining photographs of children playing in potentially risky, outdoor activities.

“When you look at these photographs I want you to examine the perceived risks, but also the benefits,” Cathy said.

“We as educators need to be aware of the National Quality Standard we sit under, but we also need to be able to look at the risk/benefit of a situation, rather than just focusing on the risks.”

Benefits of outdoor play include hand-eye coordination, spatial awareness, balance, problem solving, strong gross-motor skills and creative thinking.

“The benefits of exploration are enormous and, as educators, we need to value those risks and ask yourself, ‘How are you inspiring wonderful childhoods?’” Cathy said.

Kath Dickson Family Centre runs regular professional development sessions for early childhood educators and parents. 

Help your child prepare for school

Amy Dampney - Tuesday, February 21, 2017
Kate MasonParents can learn how to best prepare their children for school, during a free information afternoon at the Kath Dickson Education and Care Centre next Tuesday. 

Newly appointed Director of the Centre, Kate Mason, said the event will focus on how the Kath Dickson Education & Care Centre Kindergarten program is a high-quality early learning program delivered the year before a child starts school.

“We will focus on the importance on just how much this year is a crucial year where children are equipped with the vital skills needed for school and life success”, Kate said. 

“The Kindergarten program helps children develop foundation literacy and numeracy skills and supports their social and emotional wellbeing  – preparing them for a successful transition to school. 

“We will continue partner with local schools to help tailor our delivery of service to support each individual child to transition smoothly.”

A passionate childhood educator, Kate has 13 years’ experience in the childcare sector.

“When I left school I travelled overseas for a while and when I returned I was looking for work that inspires me,” Kate explained.

“I realised that is children – I have a real passion for promoting lifelong learning and an interest in childhood development.”

As a mother of three children, Kate is also passionate about play-based learning.

“The importance of play is so fundamental to support children later in life – supporting children through spontaneous, structured and play-based programs, while recognising children’s individual learning styles,” Kate said.

With one of the largest playgrounds in the local area, the Kate Dickson Education and Care Centre offers a sensory, physical and play-based approach to early learning.

“We often say the parents are the first teacher, the educators the second and the natural environment is the third,” Kate said.

“Children should be given the opportunity to learn through investigation, discovery, exploration and following their own natural enquiry. And we see our role in supporting their second educators – helping parents to help their child grow and develop.”
WHAT: Kindergarten Information Night 
WHERE: Kath Dickson Education and Care Centre (Crn Bridge and Gladstone Streets) 
WHEN: Thursday 21 February 2017, 4-5pm