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If you have a little one starting school, it’s important to make the transition as smooth as possible – for both of you

Whether your child has been in organised day care five days a week, or has been at home with a parent, they are bound to feel nervous about the challenges of a new school. As a parent, you are also bound to feel apprehension about how they will settle in, or how you will manage the logistics of school drop off and pick up. Whatever you are concerned about, it’s normal! Below, we have compiled a list of top tips to make the transition as easy as A, B, C…

Getting ready for school:

 

Talk about school together.

Don’t push it, but encourage your child to talk about school. What do they think it will be like? What were their favourite parts of orientation? Is there anything they feel worried about? Take the time to have these conversations, being mindful not to dismiss or belittle their feelings whilst also not creating a lot of emotional fuss.

There are some great books which address the topic of starting school and many are available through the library.

Older siblings.

If you have older children, include them in the school preparations for their little brother or sister. It is hard for other children when they are not the centre of attention and including them makes everyone feel part of a team. Having a chat with older siblings about how they talk to younger ones about school is also a great idea. You don’t want your kindergarten child to be terrified by stories their big brother or sister told them!

Let your child wear their uniform and school shoes at home.

 When the big day arrives, you want your little one to be comfortable in their uniform. If it is familiar it will help them feel a little more secure during those first few days. Plus, you will get advance warning of any itchy labels or shoes that might rub.

Practise going to the toilet!

Even if your child has been successfully potty trained for many years, let them practice going to the toilet when they are wearing their uniform. This is especially important for boys who may not be familiar with the fastening on more formal school shorts. It’s also a good idea to pack a spare pair of pants and socks in their school bag just in case. Schools often have spare uniform, but having their own underwear to change into might comfort a child of they have an accident at school.

Use their lunchbox at home.

If you have bought a new lunchbox for your child to use at school, just make sure they are familiar with how to open it and they can manage it on their own. Children love to feel that they are ‘big’ and being able to open their lunchbox and packets by themselves is a great little confidence booster. That said, Kindergarten children will often eat lunch with a Year 6 buddy and so help will be readily available for those first few weeks.

Label their things!

 School is an opportunity to develop responsibility for possessions but it is likely to take some time. Label things that are easily lost like hats, jackets, drink bottles and lunchboxes. It’s up to you whether you choose to label uniform items like dresses, shirts and pants which they won’t be taking off but it is sensible to label shoes! Black school shoes look surprisingly similar when they are all piled up by the sandpit or in the corner of the classroom!

Pack the school bag together.

 It’s a good idea to get your child involved in packing the school bag as it builds a sense of responsibility. They won’t need much at first since most schools provide equipment, but your child is likely to be very excited to pack their sunhat and jacket as well as their lunchbox and drink bottle. Consider popping spare underwear in as well, and letting your child know it’s there. A little bottle of sunscreen is a great idea, and some schools allow children to personalise their bags with keyrings.

The big day:

The first morning of school.

Don’t rush. If that means setting your alarm an hour earlier then do that, but the likelihood is your child will be up early with nervous excitement. Stay calm and focused and get to school at a reasonable time – not too early and definitely not late! Try to get your child to eat a good breakfast, they may not each much lunch!

Take a picture!

Don’t forget to capture this iconic moment! Some parents like to take a picture of their child with a sign saying which year they are in or what they’d like to do when they grow up. You can buy custom signs, but a printed piece of paper works just as well.

Saying goodbye.

 Your child might be super keen to start school, or they may be more reserved and feeling nervous. The same goes for you! Whatever dynamic you are dealing with, make sure you say goodbye with a hug and a smile on your face. This shows your child that you are happy that they are starting school and reassures them that it will be ok and probably a lot of fun! 

What if my child doesn’t want me to leave?

It’s heartbreaking when a child cries and clings to you when it’s time to go in to school. Rest assured that Kindergarten teachers are experts at dealing with this and at helping your child to settle in to their new school.

Some people suggest sneaking out when your child is busy, but this has the potential to cause further separation anxiety and erode the trust between you and your child. The best thing you can do in this situation is get down on your child’s level and reassure them that they are going to be ok and you will be back to collect them in the afternoon. Make sure you give them a big hug and a smile before you leave them with their teacher. In a few minutes it is likely they will have calmed down and will be settled in the classroom engrossed in an activity – you might take longer to recover!

However you feel, don’t hover outside the classroom and try not to let your child see you if you are emotional. When children see that you are worried, it undermines their self-confidence as it sends the message that you think they cannot cope. Loitering around the classroom just drags out the separation process and prolongs the emotional upheaval. A swift, positive goodbye is the best way to give your child the opportunity to develop confidence and resilience.

After school:

Don’t overschedule.

 Your child will be exhausted during the first term of school, so be careful how much extra-curricular activity you schedule. Many schools suggest that Kindergarten children do not do any after school classes for the first term. Even if your child is enjoying school and is settling in well, they are still exerting a lot of effort to manage their emotions, social expectations and a steep academic learning curve throughout their school day. They may burst into tears after school and not know why. This is often tiredness and it happens to most Kindergarten children in the first term – it’s usually nothing to worry about!

Set up a sensible bedtime routine.

You may already have a solid bedtime routine, but giving it a little refresh after a long summer break is bound to lead to a happier household. Make sure you have set a sensible bedtime for your children and build in some time to wind down before it’s time to sleep. It won’t be long before home readers and homework has be to factored in so taking some time now to cement your routine will be well spent.

Screens stimulate children and using them in the hour before bed can make it hard for them to fall asleep, so turn them off in plenty of time. Try to include some time for a chat before bed or to enjoy a book together if you can.

Questions to ask instead of  ‘How was your day?’ 

Ask any child how their day was and you are likely to get a one word answer: Good. Since you probably want more information than that, here are a few ideas of some questions that might spark a conversation:

  • What was your favourite part of today?
  • What did you learn today?
  • Who did you sit with at lunch?
  • What didn’t you like today?
  • What was the hardest thing you had to do today?
  • Did anything funny happen at school today?

However you and your child are feeling about school it is bound to cause some challenges. Whether this is the first child you are sending off to school or your fourth, it is often a bittersweet moment for parents as they say goodbye to the preschool years and embark on the primary school journey. It is indeed the end of an era, but it’s also the start of a really exciting one.

Good luck!

Deciding on a school for your little ones can be daunting! With so many options, all with their own pros and cons, it can be overwhelming. So how can you weigh up which is the best option for your child?

Choosing the most suitable school for your child can be a big decision. In addition to finding an education style that fits our child, as parents, we also want to ensure our kids’ learning environment is safe, fun, stimulating and nurturing.
Offspring explores some of the benefits of the education options available in Australia.

GOVERNMENT/PUBLIC:

For many parents, the local public school is their go-to, close to public transport, in their local community and often where past family members have attended. Government/public schools are a popular option in Australia.
Government schools have a guaranteed place for a child if the school is in their local catchment.
However, if you would like to send your child to a public school outside of your area, there is not a guaranteed spot. For your child to attend a Government school they must attend an interview with the principal and there is a voluntary small fee.
Most public school’s fees cost between $50-300 and payment plans are sometimes available for low-socioeconomic areas and families.

INDEPENDENT/PRIVATE:

Independent and private schooling is an umbrella term that covers all independent and private schools, such as Catholic, Steiner and Montessori schools.
For many parents, private education is a great way to find a school that can tailor to your child’s spiritual and learning needs.
If parents decide to choose a private school for their child, they must allow considerable time to apply for various schools as no places are guaranteed, also extra fees and tuition prices must be considered also.

RELIGIOUS:

Religious schooling is a popular option in Australia, with Catholic schooling being the second most popular choice by Australian parents after Government and public schooling.
Religious schools require a meeting with the principal, with all students accepted at the discretion of the school.
In religious schooling, it is most likely families of the church that are accepted first, however many schools do not require your family to be a part of their religion.

There are many different religious schools in Australia, such as Catholic, Jewish and Baptist, providing more options for parents who want their child to be schooled in a religious environment.

STEINER:

Steiner schooling or Waldorf schooling follows a curriculum based upon the teachings of Rudolf Steiner, an Austrian philosopher and social reformer. Steiner schools have been operating in Australia for 60 years and are growing in popularity, with statistics from Steiner Education Australia showing that 87 per cent of parents are happy they chose to send their children to a Steiner school.
Steiner schooling is a holistic approach to learning where the children are discouraged from using modern technology whilst at school.
At Steiner schools the teachers stay with the same class not just for one year, but for the student’s entire time in primary school.
Steiner schools base their learning largely on communication and forming strong bonds between child, family and teacher.
Steiner education focuses on moral growth and aims to let their students learn artistically, spiritually and practically, cherishing childhood. As with many private schools your child’s entry is dependent on the school itself and fees apply.
For more information about Steiner schooling go to: www.steinereducation.edu.au

TIP: Have a budget for your child’s schooling fees, uniform and other related costs and try to stick to it!

MONTESSORI:

Montessori is an education program that focuses on developing the ‘full human being’ and providing education that is an aid to life, based on the teachings of Dr Maria Montessori, a physician, anthropologist and teacher.
The Montessori schooling program focuses on children taking their time to complete their schoolwork and having their own independence to work at their own pace.
The Montessori schooling program is growing in Australia, with over 300 schools and centres nationwide.
There are many programs available, starting from as young as 18 months old to adulthood, with the aim of providing a whole life of support for their students.
As with most independent schools your child’s entry is dependent on the school itself and extra fees apply.
For more information about Montessori schooling go to:

COMMUNITY/ALTERNATIVE/OPEN LEARNING:

Community/Open learning education programs and schooling is often referred to as alternative schooling, where the school commonly creates its own curriculum.
These schools are very small, independent and often hold a close- knit community, sometimes running out of community houses.
These learning facilities are targeted at all ages but are especially valuable for children who have different interests or a learning style that doesn’t fit into mainstream curriculums.

HOME SCHOOLING:

Home Schooling is now a viable schooling option used by many, not just families living in remote areas. Home Schooling allows parents to spend more time with their kids and tailor their learning to suit their child’s needs.
Lots of families choose to home school for various reasons such as bullying, disabilities or even their child being gifted.
Each state has its own registration processes, with Home Schooling open to any child aged 6-17 years Australia wide. To register, one must have their child’s birth certificate and have made a learning plan or rough lesson plans to include.
Home education is different to distance education, which follows the national curriculum and is supplied to parents, primarily used by families in remote locations who can’t access their nearest school easily.
For more information about home education go to your state’s registration and qualifications authority.

Take a look at the benefits ‘Learning Through Play’ could have for your child!

If it sounds too good to be true, it usually is… UNLESS you’re talking about Learning Through Play! In fact, research into quality, play based learning has shown that learning through play encourages:

Communication – play allows children to develop their speech, language and listening. A child’s language and communication skills develop by listening, reading, music, rhyming etc. so the more they play with their friends and listen to adults the more advanced these will become. 

Cognitive development – (imagination, problem solving, math and science) play encourages children to develop their natural curiosity, create all kinds of scenarios and solve any problems that they encounter all by using their imagination.

For example when a child is taking part in water play and tipping water from a measuring jug into a cup, the educator can stretch their thinking by asking questions such as how much water do you think will fit into the cup, will you have any left, what else can you tip the water into…? This stretches thinking and builds on maths, science and problem solving skills. 

 

Relationships (social skills, friendship and resilience) – play supports children as they create the bonds of friendship and build their understanding of social situations. The more children play with one another, the more they learn to communicate in a social setting and the bigger their friendship circle becomes.

Balanced with child-directed and educator supported play, a quality play based Early Learning Program will closely align with Australia’s Early Years Learning Framework. Children should be able to learn through play in a variety of activities designed to spark their curiosity, individual interests and create an open ended learning experience.

In 2018, Australian researchers advised that 15 hours a week in a quality, play-based three year old pre-kindy can greatly support a child’s learning and development. With pre-kindy attendance showing consistently positive short and long term advantages in the lead up to kindergarten and into higher education. To support these findings, the Australian Government has put their money where their research is and committed to providing universal access to Early Childhood Education. Every child now will now be supported to access a pre-kindy program in the year before they enter school for 15 hours a week.

Where to from here?

Deciding if, when and where to send your child to pre-kindy is one of the biggest decisions you will make in their early childhood. You find yourself balancing the options near you. Should I send my child to a high end early learning school with better educators, fancy facilities and higher ratings? Or should I send them to the more affordable local community pre-school with lovely welcoming staff, small group sizes and a nurturing learning environment?

via GIPHY

At Meerilinga, there’s no need to choose between quality and inclusivity – AND it won’t cost you an arm and a leg. Meerilinga is home to a wide range of children from diverse families and backgrounds who share a common goal of wanting the best for their child. Supported by over 100 years of experience, working with toddlers and training quality educators, Meerilinga’s skilled early educators enthusiastically teach children about the world around them.

Your child is gently introduced to the life-cycle through community led chicken hatching programs; learning about sustainable practices through environmental awareness activities, recycling programs and harvesting from their bush tucker gardens.

Meerilinga children are celebrated as capable individuals, with their interests, strengths and challenges identified and fully supported to develop their confidence, learning and development. All of which are shared throughout the day, week and year with parents through a specially designed communications app.

The entire family is supported with access to free parenting support services, community events, street & toy libraries, school holiday activities, play groups and seniors groups. At Meerilinga you’re more than just a number, your family. To join your local Meerilinga community, find a centre near you or contact your local Centre Director.

Castelmaine Steiner School is located in Muckleford, VIC and offers education from kindergarten to class 8 and is growing fast.

Commencing as a Kindergarten in 1988 in the home of one of its students, The Castlemaine Steiner School & Kindergarten is now a thriving school of approximately 230 students. In 1995, the school moved to its current location, which at the time was 18 acres of flattened sheep grazing land. Today the site is a stunning sanctuary of indigenous flora and fauna, featuring a bush tucker island, beautiful walking tracks and is home to diverse birdlife. Situated approximately 7 mins drive from Castlemaine, the school has transformed itself with biodynamic practices and permaculture design.

“Steiner education is recognised internationally as a valuable approach to helping young people develop flexible, agile thinking, alongside an ability to collaborate and thrive in a 21st Century world,” said Principal, Brian Dodd.

The school offers programs from Playgroup to Class 8, following which, students can then transfer to the local Steiner Stream at Castlemaine Secondary College for Years 9 & 10. Many families begin learning about Steiner education and philosophy by joining the Playgroup program. It is a much-loved weekly 2-hour session for children aged birth to 4 years. It includes activities such as scone baking, outdoor & indoor play, crafts, and circle time for singing & storytelling.

The Early Childhood program continues into Kindergarten & Prep, where foundations are laid for later learning and healthy development, including life-long physical, social, emotional, intellectual, and spiritual growth. They believe an atmosphere of loving warmth and guidance provides the optimal environment for healthy development, and that educators have a vital role in modelling and scaffolding a child’s natural urge to explore and experiment. Young children are given time to play, enjoy childhood and build strong foundations skills before formal academic learning begins.

Acknowledging the Traditional Owners of this country, the school has strong connections to the local Dja Dja Wurrung people. Their culture and story is meaningfully woven throughout the curriculum and Outdoor Education program. The Outdoor Education program is designed to develop the student’s understanding of their place in the natural world, through immersion in it. As children develop their sense of adventure confidence develops, connectedness with the environment and a sense of stewardship toward the natural world.

Music is incorporated through all levels of the school, with formal tuition commencing with a stringed instrument in Class 3. Music tuition is compulsory and continues through to Class 8, with students encouraged by opportunities to play in ensemble groups and learn multiple instruments. The benefits of music are well documented and the school utilises music as further way to develop social learning, fine and gross motor skills, and build on maths concepts.

A new Scholarships program provides a limited number of partly or fully subsidised places for students who meet eligibility criteria, and is open to entry at any year level.  The school is committed to creating a socially inclusive and diverse community and via this new Scholarship program, is pleased to continue promoting and encouraging the benefits of Steiner Education across the region. Principal Brian Dodd says “We want to ensure that that the benefits of this schooling option are more broadly available to children in our regional community. This year we also introduced a 25% fee discount for families with a Health Care Card, and have for many years offered sibling discounts, fee assistance and bursaries to reduce financial barriers to enrolling in the school.”

The school welcomes visitors each week for tours with the Principal and offers free trial sessions within its Playgroup program to anyone interested in witnessing the benefits of Steiner education. Contact the Enrolments Officer, Tracey Robertson on 5479 2000 or Traceyr@cssk.vic.edu.au for further information.

“Those that teach Reading for Sure are rewarded everyday with smiles from students as these students learn that reading and writing well is possible for them.”

Literacy is a fundamental skill that everyone needs in order to access education, work and the community. With modern digital devices being able to read and write is now even more vital, not less as was once thought when computers first arrived.

Literacy is not an intuitive action, unlike walking and talking; it is a human construct that requires the building of new connections in the brain.

There are a variety of reasons why someone does not develop good literacy skills. The most commonly recognised cause of delayed or poor literacy skills is Dyslexia. Other learning difficulties also impact, and these include dysgraphia, dyspraxia, hearing issues, ADHD, Autism, Global Learning delay, short, and long term, memory problems etc.

A lack of good early play and language experiences impact on a child’s ability to cope with literacy, concentrate, sit at a desk and to write.

How a person is taught to read is slowly being recognised as significantly impacting on a person’s literacy development or lack thereof. Like all learning one size does not fit all.

Scientific studies tell us that the best literacy programs will develop a student’s ability to sound out and sound blend a word, ensure the student understands the meaning of all the individual words and derive meaning and information from the sentences formed from these words.

Learning to spell, read and understand words allows us all to communicate with others and to enjoy the wonderful stories and information available in books and other forms of text.

Learning to read and write English does not come easily for everybody as it involves many complex interactions in the brain. When foundation skills are missed it can cause significant difficulties later.

Students struggling with reading become anxious and can turn away from literacy and education as a result.  A student who struggles with literacy often begins to feel that they are dumb because they can’t read. Nothing is further from the truth. Many people with exceptional IQs have struggled with literacy. Unfortunately, without correct instruction to help their brain develop the pathways needed to work with the written word these individuals may not develop their true potential.

With an understanding of how the brain develops and learns to decipher the written word the Reading For Sure program was developed to quickly help the learner build the foundation skills and brain pathways needed for literacy. The Reading for Sure program uses unique teaching tools to continue to develop these skills so that the learner can achieve in all areas of English Literacy.

Our recent study of 180 students, with a broad range of difficulties impacting their literacy acquisition, showed excellent improvement for every hour of tuition. The 180 students included students that were not learning via standard teaching methods, dyslexia, English as a second language etc. and started tuition at ages ranging from 5 to 20 years old. The students were taught by one of four Reading For Sure teachers.

The data showed that not only did every child improve their literacy, but that on average for every hour spent with one of our teachers, the students improved 1.6 months in their reading age. The data for the spelling was not complete for all the 180 students but, using the data available, the average gain in spelling was 0.4 of a month improvement for each hour of tuition.

Within just a few lessons parents and students see the difference. The student’s confidence blossoms, and they begin to enjoy the reading and learning process once more. This reading gain also quickly equates to better outcomes in their education environment. Literacy is the core skill needed for all subjects and students enjoy school so much more when they are not struggling with their literacy.

“Finding the Reading for sure method was a relief. To discover a method that works and makes sense to my dyslexic daughter, has not only greatly improved her reading, it has given her confidence and a sense achievement” says Mrs. Clements.

With the correct program and teaching methods no person young or old needs to struggle with literacy.

Those that teach Reading for Sure are rewarded everyday with smiles from students as these students learn that reading and writing well is possible for them.

Visit the Reading for Sure website and see our new blog series about how parents can help their young children develop the pre literacy skills they need to be able to learn all the literacy skills when they go to school. This free blog series will give parents hints and ideas about the activities that help the brain and body develop ready for literacy and learning and what to look out for if things may not be developing as they should.

Reading For Sure is an Australian program with its office in Perth. www.readingforsure.com.au

Mornings are hard! With the help of our readers, we have put together a list of tips and tricks to help your mornings run smoother.

There was a time, before kids, when you could wake up at a leisurely pace, pee in peace, drink your coffee hot, shower as long as you liked and still make it to work on time. Now, you’re lucky if you remember to brush your teeth!

We hear you. If you’re looking for more peace and less fuss in the mornings, check out these tried-and-true tips and tricks from some of our readers.

The Night Before

• Lay out clothes (yours and theirs) the night before.

• Prepare and pack lunches and put them in the fridge to be packed into school bags the next morning.

• Make some grab-n-go breakfasts if you’ve got the time and/or inclination. Muffins and granola bars tend to work really well.

• Get enough sleep. Kids generally need between 10-12 hours at night, while you need 7-8 on average.

Take Care of Yourself First

We cannot recommend this highly enough. Waking up 10-15 minutes earlier than the kids should give you enough time to do the following:

• Drink a big glass of water.

• Get showered and do your hair / make-up.

• Have some coffee (One mum suggests pairing this with some Cadbury’s Chocolate Fingers. We don’t disagree.)

• If you’re feeling extra brave, try waking up an hour earlier to meditate and start the day off right.

Waking Them Up

Try these at your own peril.

• Start the day with a hug. This lets them know they are loved and puts them in a good mood.

• Sing loudly as you’re walking through the house on your way to their room. By the time you arrive, they’ll be wide-awake. Grumpy, sure. But awake!

• For older children, put their alarm at the other side of their room so that they have to get out of bed to turn it off.

• Let older children be responsible for getting themselves up on time. If they’re not ready, then they’ll learn from that.

• If your kid is really upset about going to school, it might be worth talking to their teacher and checking that nothing is going on that you should be concerned about.

Morning Procedure

• Get dressed AFTER having breakfast to avoid having to get changed if there are any accidents or spillages.

• Use a checklist so that they know what they need to do. Little kids who can’t yet read can use picture reminders (toothbrush, clothes, cereal bowl, etc.)

• Parents should be sharing morning duties between them; one getting the kids fed while the other gets them organised/dressed.

• Give yourself more time than you need. If you allocate the time in advance for any accidents, tantrums or spills, you won’t go into panic-mode when they happen.

• Limit time on showers and have an agreement on who will use the bathroom first, while the others have their breakfast.

• No TV in the morning. It’s too much of a distraction, and they won’t want to leave before the end of their show.

Getting Them Out The Door

•  Leave on time, even if they’re not 100% ready. They’ll soon learn to hustle.

• Do a quick tidy-up before you leave. It’ll make coming home in the evening much more restful if you’re walking into a reasonably clean house.

• If they are late because they refused to get out of bed or dawdled in the morning, let them take responsibility and tell the teacher themselves.

The most important thing is to relax. Kids will usually take their cue from you. If you’re stressed out and panicked, chances are they will be too. So, take a deep breath. Things don’t always go the way we plan, and that’s okay.

Mumma, you’re doing fine.

Here’s a story of a… Brady Bunch of Lies.

Mike and Carol Brady, just like the real parents of the 1960’s, essentially raised their children on a series of misconceptions:

White bread was good for you, parents never argue, Alice the maid was happy, talking like a baby is cute (think Cindy), and the tragic belief that our intelligence was fixed at birth.

Society believed that some people were born intelligent.

Some were not and pretty much just like Jan and the braces episode, you just had to learn to accept your lot.

‘Marcia, Marcia, Marcia’, was born smarter than ‘not happy Jan’, and along with those psychedelic pantsuits, Jan just had to wear it.

So too, Greg, Peter, Bobby and Cindy, and the real-life baby boomers went through life, dealing with the cards they were dealt, ignorant that all of them could (and still can) influence their level of intelligence.

Of course, the cards we are dealt still impact our IQ, as ‘the heritability of IQ is actually quite high’, but in recent years, we have discovered our intelligence is malleable, not fixed.

In fact, GET SMART or more to the point GET YOURSELF SMART is the name of the real game. Now, we know that WE control our intelligence.

Smart kids are smart, mostly, because they work hard.

Carol Dweck, a leader in this field has proven: Hard work makes connections in your brain that make you smarter.

Learning makes you smarter.

Carol Dweck and other leading psychologists have discovered that adopting this growth mindset, where we firmly believe we can control our intelligence is revolutionising learning both in and outside of the classroom.

It is now an accepted scientific fact that “you can always change how intelligent you are”.

Students who know this and accept it, get higher grades.

So, our IQ’s, previously thought to be fixed are malleable. Ponder this for a minute. We can all lift our IQ.

How does this change all of our lives?

It empowers everyone to adopt a growth mindset and to throw away any ideas that began with “I’m not smart enough”.

It puts an end to comments such as “she’s not got a maths brain, because she takes after me”.

Of course, it is still true that some people are born with a higher IQ, but this does not mean that forever and a day, that person is smarter than average.

It is an exciting time to be raising and educating children.

When you say to your children “just keep trying, you will get there”, unlike the groovy Mike and Carol swishing around in their flares, you are calling it straight.

  • Effort is Everything.
  • Perfect doesn’t live here.
  • Fast is not an option.
  • Learning means taking risks.
  • Learning changes my brain.
  • I’m in charge of my own intelligence.

(Carol Dweck)

What happened to Alice the happy housemaid?

She got smart and got out!

One school’s decision to ban kids from handing out birthday invitations in the playground has enraged parents across the country.

Mosman Public School in Sydney has banned children from handing out birthday invitations in the playground due to concerns that kids who are not invited will feel left out.

Parents will now have to “covertly” collect the email addresses of their children’s friends’ parents in order to send out e-invites, according to the Daily Telegraph. Children will also have to refrain from talking about their birthday plans at school.

The ban is allegedly the result of one child recently becoming distressed after not receiving an invitation to a classmate’s birthday celebration.

The ban is allegedly the result of one child recently becoming distressed after not receiving an invitation to a classmate’s birthday celebration.

The Department of Education told Yahoo News that the decision came “at the request of parents, and in consultation with the school community.”

Parents across the nation have flocked to social media to weigh in on the new rule, with 87% of those polled saying that the school had gone too far.

Those in support of the move say that not receiving a birthday invite can be emotionally scarring for children, especially if they are the only ones not invited. They particularly focused on special needs children who are often on the receiving end of this type of rejection.

Others called the new rule “ridiculous”, with one woman saying the school was “creating a generation of sooks.” They claim that shielding children from rejection will only hinder their social development and keep them from building up a tolerance for disappointment. “We have to build resilient kids,” said one mum.

What do you think? Has the school gone too far, or have they made the right decision?

Children all around the world left the classroom to take to the streets in the School Strike for Climate, despite receiving criticism from teachers, parents and even our top politicians. So, why did our kids risk punishment to take action for the environment?

We recently saw school children around the world united in one common goal: save our planet. In over 112 countries, kids skipped school on Friday March 15 to take to the streets in the School Strike for Climate, demanding governments take action on an issue that will affect the course of their futures.

Many teachers, parents and politicians raised objection, insisting that the children stay in school instead. Prime Minister Scott Morrison told parliament, “We do not support our schools being turned into parliaments… what we want is more learning in schools and less activism.”

Despite drawing criticism, the school strike did make people take notice of the issue in a way that hasn’t before and forced many to beg the question: why are the kids coming together to take action on climate change?

Many teachers, parents and politicians raised objection, insisting that the children stay in school instead.

It was Greta Thunberg, a 16-year-old climate activist from Sweden who inspired the more than 1.4 million young people to campaign on climate action this month. Her solo protest outside Swedish parliament last August is what prompted the global movement. “We proved that it does matter what you do and that no one is too small to make a difference,” Thunberg says.

Citing a belief in equality and climate justice as their reason to skip school, those who took part in the march called for a dramatic reduction in greenhouse emissions from their respective countries.

“We proved that it does matter what you do and that no one is too small to make a difference”

Young people, it seems, are the ones taking to the streets due to the lack of action from world leaders. Many, like Swedish activist Greta Thunberg, are under the impression that the adults have left this environmental mess for the children to clean up. With a belief that the press and politicians seem to be ignoring the issue, the youth are taking action into their own hands.

Young people, it seems, are the ones taking to the streets due to the lack of action from world leaders.

Whether you agree with the actions of the climate strike or not, one thing is undeniably clear. The united action around the globe reveals the solidarity of young people that are concerned about the environment. If a united strike such as this created as much conversation and debate as it did, then perhaps the time has come to listen to the kids and start doing something to act when it comes to the future of our planet.

How would YOU feel about sending your three year old to pre-school?

The prospect of seeing your little one grow up and seeing them off for their first day of school can often be bittersweet. That familiar feeling that time really does fly is especially present in these moments, so many parents would be understandably hesitant about their child starting pre-school at the age of three.

But this is exactly the plan that Bill Shorten announced at the beginning of October: a $1.75 billion subsidy for parents to allow 15 hours of pre-school for three year olds. So far, the proposal has proven a contentious topic among parents.

In unveiling this plan that is set to be implemented if Labor win the next election, the opposition leader believes it will transform childcare into “early education”.

Labor also framed the proposed subsidy as an important jump start into school, and are working by the angle that children who receive high quality education in the two years leading up to the start of their formal schooling experience long lasting positive outcomes.

That is, starting our kids in pre-school at the age of three has a supposedly high impact on their educational development for many years after.

Overall, if the plan was put into place, it would mean that it would be free for us to send our three year olds to state government run pre-school, and sending them to pre-school education at private childcare centres would be subsidised.

Shorten made it clear that the main objective of his plan was to get 90% of the three year
olds in Australia in pre-school by 2023.

That can be hard to fathom considering those children haven’t even been conceived yet!

The opposition also highlighted Australian children in comparison to foreign children of the same age, stating that Australia was behind in its pre-school education because several other countries already had high attendance rates in pre-school for three year olds.

So far, the proposal has been met with mixed reactions.

The Project’s Facebook post regarding the topic has received several hundred comments in a couple of weeks. It seems there are only few fence sitters, if any…

Phrases along the lines of “let kids be kids” and “what’s the point of having children?” are frequent, with many expressing the importance of letting children learn and develop at home. There are a number of people who also believe that the money could be better spent in other areas of education of their children, such as tertiary education in the future. One comment in particular even goes so far as to say that “danger of abuse” is evident.

It seems the conversation has also expanded to consider the logistics involved, with one woman pointing out that the proposal should not go ahead simply on the basis that staff in this area are already “underpaid and undervalued”.

On the other hand, others think it’s a good idea and will help take the pressure off working families and ease the cost of living. Many parents are also focusing on the educational format and content itself, and are advocates for the benefits of education at such an early age. Several comments support the Labor government’s way of thinking, with one mum stating that “early childhood education benefits all children”.

A number of people believe that pre-school education for three year olds can be positive in terms of social, mental and cognitive outcomes, and provides an invaluable preparation for the schooling lives of children.

This leaves us to ponder; is this proposal in the best interests of three year olds? Would we be comfortable sending our children to pre-school at an earlier age? Does the education system of other countries matter?

Where do YOU sit on this topic?