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KU teachers are specially trained to see what your child sees in the moment to take their learning further. 

There are many factors parents need to consider when choosing a preschool or childcare centre for their child, as not all early childhood services provide the same level of quality of education and care.

Current research suggests about 90% of brain development happens in the first five years of a child’s life. The early childhood service parents choose will have a significant impact on their child’s overall learning and development.

Christine Legg, CEO of KU Children’s Services, a leading provider of preschools, childcare and other early education services in Australia, says there are a number of factors that determine the quality of a service, with a key factor being the quality of educators.

“Early childhood educators led by a university qualified early childhood teacher are essential. Each teacher and educator plays a crucial role in supporting the ongoing learning and development of each child,” says Legg.

An important aspect of early childhood educators’ work is recognising ‘teachable moments’ throughout the day. Teachable moments are unplanned opportunities that teachers and educators can use as opportunities to extend children’s learning. For example, standing in the sun may provide an opportunity to talk about the importance of sun safety or shadows.

“90% of brain development happens in the first five years of a child’s life”

Vandana Vasudevan’s daughter attends KU Chatswood Community Preschool and has been seeking out familiar shapes in everyday items ever since her teachers introduced the idea through teachable moments.

“My daughter saw a pineapple at the supermarket and said ‘Mum, we have to take a picture! My teacher said we can see a pentagon shape’. Now she goes around taking photos of all the different shapes she finds in our house,” says Vasudevan.

“The teachers at KU Chatswood are amazing. I see their commitment and can tell they have inspired my daughter. She loves her teachers.”

Young children learn best by ‘doing’ rather than by ‘being told’. All KU centres have play-based learning programs which provide a wide range of active and meaningful experiences for children.

“Active participation through play is vital for each child’s learning and development and helps build and strengthen brain pathways,” says Legg. “Play has a wide range of intellectual and cognitive benefits, including those relating to memory, language development and regulating behaviour.”

When choosing a preschool or childcare centre, also consider the environment where the children will play and learn. The centre’s environment should be open, inviting and nurturing to support each child’s learning.

Belinda Rahim’s daughter Zakiah attends KU Corrimal East Preschool and the safe, warm and supportive environment at the preschool has allowed her daughter to feel more comfortable and become more confident as she learns.

“KU Corrimal East is the type of centre I had been looking for because it matched with our gentle and respectful attachment style of parenting,” says Rahim.

“KU feels like part of our family. Our daughter loves to tell her teachers exciting things that have been happening in her life, and her stories and experiences are always celebrated, listened to and remembered.”

Ultimately, while the quality of teachers and educators, the educational program and the environment are all central factors to consider when choosing a preschool or childcare centre, sometimes the difference between centres is more instinctive. Visiting a range of centres is recommended before choosing a place where you can see, feel and hear the difference.

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Offspring Editor, Kate Durack, talks to Spiritual mentor and medium, Oscar de Souza, on what it means to be an empath and how to nurture this important gift.

An Empath has an ability to form deep connections with people as they can understand and relate to their emotions, however it can become overwhelming and painful, so learning to manage this influx of emotions is vital.

Everyone likes to feel understood, cared for and treated with compassion. This is empathy, a wonderful gift to help develop connection, love and understanding between people and to aid in healing. It is a quality we hope to instil in our children.

As a parent, having empathy helps our children feel loved and supported, and teaches them to have consideration for other people’s feelings. It is important for bonding.

But what about someone who has empathy at the far end of the spectrum, where they are highly sensitive to emotions and energy, who feels the emotions of others regardless of physical and psychological interactions?

This is known as being an empath.

The Oxford Dictionary describes an empath as someone who has a “paranormal ability to perceive the mental or emotional state of another individual”.

Parents who are empaths can benefit from knowing how to channel this energy, so we don’t feel overwhelmed. Also, it is more common for them to have empath children. It’s helpful to be able to identify this gift in our children, so we can help support them with their special talent, which can sometimes lead to them feeling overwhelmed.

Spiritual medium, healer and educator, Oscar de Souza, of the Spirit Energy Centre, says there is an increasing number of people who are identifying with their ability to be able to “feel” other people.

“Through social media, TV and society, others who have previously thought they had ‘something wrong with them’ are starting to realise that it’s actually a gift and not a burden,” says Oscar.

“A profound spiritual surge is occurring within many people worldwide through many different faith systems. The empath is just one of them who better deals with the emotions and energy people feel, rather than what people may think, portray or say.”

Oscar believes our purpose in life is to “acquire emotions”, so someone who is an empath, who has a profound ability to sense emotions and energy in others, has a special gift and an important role to play.

“I believe empaths have come to this earth to help people open up their mind’s eye to the emotions that resonate within their body, to help people tune into their spirit and purpose.”

Oscar says people who have this ability are generally very old souls.

“They have acquired many experiences and emotions throughout their incarnations, hence their ability of understanding the emotions and energy in others.”

There are two types of empaths: The Emotional empath who feels deeply what another person is feeling and can often have psychic and telepathic abilities; and the Somatic empath who physically reacts by mirroring, such as playing with their hair if you are, or becoming angry at someone if you’re angry with that person.

Signs you are an empath include, “being able to see through people’s facades and actions” or you might “feel the world is impacting on you”.

The difference between an empath and someone who is just feeling empathy for another is that the empath has that ability functioning continuously, while the latter would be just a passing experience.

“Empaths feel a constant stream of these emotions day and night. It can be virtually impossible to switch off from these as they feel the emotions and energy from external sources within their magnetic field or chakras,” says Oscar.

Empaths can feel many people’s emotions at once and take on the energy of animals and nature, with some able to feel the residual energy in the air.

“They are able to walk into a room and feel the energy of the previous occupants of that space and some even feel tectonic activity and natural or man-made disasters.”

Untrained, an empath can become confused and overwhelmed by feeling a multitude of emotions simultaneously from various sources.

Decoding and dealing with these emotions can be difficult, especially if they haven’t identified where the feelings are coming from and how to deal with them.

“At times they can be convinced that sudden random variable emotions fluctuating within them are their own emotions, and the mind can potentially be entrapped into trying to decipher and understand them,” Oscar warns. “They can get lost in what they are feeling or lost in the feelings of others.”

Without adequate skills,

empaths can find it difficult to cope emotionally, and can even be susceptible to self-harm, addictions, anxiety and depression, as they try to diminish the intensity of the emotions they feel through self-medicating

and generally just ‘trying to feel better’.

While emotions may have psychological and chemical relativity, they are the language of our energy/spirit working through the chakras in the body, says Oscar.

“Each chakra has a resonance/emotion, it emits and absorbs energy. The general emotions a person feels are made up of all the seven different emotions resonating in each chakra.

“The empath’s chakras, if unmanaged, continually absorb energy at a higher frequency than what they may emit. This can cause a feeling of being overwhelming and being subjugated to unwanted emotions and energy.”

Oscar is conducting the first ever Empath Courses in Australia, accredited by IICT (international Institute for Complementary Therapists), and will be touring the country in 2019, which will enable someone to use these gifts as an Empath therapist, so they can help others understand their emotions and how they work within the chakras.

During the workshop, Oscar discusses how Empaths can manage and control this gift, talk about how to enhance and preserve it, and access the antidote to what they are sensing, which is the opposite polarity of an excessive emotion.

For example, Oscar teaches how an empath who is in the presence of someone who has a lot of pride energy emitting from the crown chakra, can emit the opposite emotion/energy being humility from their own crown chakra into the other person, rather than be a confrontational or uncomfortable situation; or emit the strength and resilience from their heart chakra into someone who is heart-broken, for example. Or, if someone feels unable to cope, the empath can help them by emitting energy from their naval chakra.

A parent can help a child who is having a panic attack, by calming the solar plexus chakra and the crown chakra, or if a child is feeling anger, the parent can help the child calm the heart and navel chakra.

Parents can learn how to understand and locate the energy and emotions in their children’s chakras and learn how to direct their own energy from the relative chakra into the child or help guide the child into being more tuned into their own selves and their emotions.

Oscar says toddlers and pre-teens often act out physically or verbally the emotions of those around them, so as parents we can learn to be attentive to that source, and then emit into the child the necessary emotion from the relative chakra, to keep the child from being completely subjugated to external influences.

As parents, we should not undermine how wise and sensitive empath children are and speak sincerely with them, as it helps them feel at ease.

Oscar adds, empaths at any age should avoid superficial friendships that lack sincerity and support.

“When an empathic child is in the presence of someone who doesn’t have their guard up, and are being open and sincere, these kids find them exciting and fun to be around.”

Oscar says if a child is given an evasive answer after asking how the parent is, the child can feel upset and distant from the parent.

He says these children might naturally avoid interacting in a social setting.

“Some kids may also be afraid of interacting with adult or children their own age and prefer to be on their own (talking to themselves as some would say) and playing with animals, nature or games.

“Speaking to older kids about emotions, chakras and energy helps the child be able to learn how to articulate their feelings and sensitivity, rather than be lost for words and unable to communicate.”

Creative arts, activities and musical instruments are great for helping children find a channel of expression, and release.

Oscar says some teenagers and young adults who are Empaths may find it difficult to concentrate at school and can be easily distracted by people around them. “They can be more concerned with the state of people around them rather than their own self or they may be the quiet one who doesn’t say or do much.”

“Other signs to look out for is if the young adults are looking to suppress their sensitivity using toxins like alcohol or drugs. Some may have severe levels of depression, anxiety and self-harm or suicidal thoughts, in which case seeking medical and mental health care is imperative.”

To learn more about Oscar and his work, check out https://spiritinsight.com.au/oscar-de-sousa/