Greenwood Blog

Preparing Your Child for their First Day of Childcare

Posted by in Child care, Community

Preparing Your Child for their First Day of Childcare

By Venita Rutley Preparing to enter the workforce, or return to the workforce after maternity leave can be a very busy, stressful time for you and your child/ children. So many considerations; which centre will suit me and my child?  What are my expectations of a centre that I am going to leave my child with? How will I know that my child is settled and happy? Is the staff genuinely interested in my child and their interests and development?  From the moment we make the decision to leave our children with others outside of our own family environment, it is very normal that we begin to think about how to best prepare for this transition. Children are incredibly intuitive and pick up on the emotions of their primary caregivers. If we feel doubtful and stressed about leaving our child with others, it is reasonable to acknowledge that our children are going to pick up on these emotions. So how do we best prepare our child for this transition whilst still managing our own emotions? Trust your gut instincts. You may have visited numerous centres to choose the one that feels right and is going to suit not only our needs, but more importantly the needs of our child. You have met the staff, spent time going on a tour, and having orientation visits. I would encourage you to take your child in for as many orientation days that you can. By doing this at different times throughout the day, it will help your child to know what the routine entails, as well as the most important part- building relationships with their carers and other children to help with the first few days of settling in. Talk with the staff about what to expect on your first day of being in care. This will help reassure you that your little ones will be in good hands. Before your child begins Drive past your centre, stop and walk around the outside, explain how many sleeps there is until your child starts playing with new friends and new toys. Acknowledge that you will be busy at work while your child will be busy having fun and playing. Give as many positive details as possible; say things like: you will do lots of painting, building with blocks, playing with train sets etc. Ask them what they are excited about and share in this excitement with them. Start getting up at the time you will when your child starts care, prior to the actual start date. Set the morning routine where possible, so your child will know what to expect:  getting changed, having breakfast, brushing teeth and so on. Help your child get into the routine through asking for their help to pack their bags; putting in extra labelled clothes, a comforter if required and a named drink bottle. If the centre does not provide food, it is always advisable to put in more food than what they would normally eat at home, just in case. On the first day, and possibly for the following few days while your child is settling, try to get to the centre with time to spare. This way, both you and your child have plenty of time to talk with the staff, organise your child’s belongings, sign...

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Pea, Mint and Ricotta Soup

Posted by in Child care, Community

Pea, Mint and Ricotta Soup

An easy way to get in extra vegetables.   Ingredients Serves 4 2 tbsp olive oil 2 onions, diced 2 zucchinis, chopped into small cubes 500g frozen peas 1L salt-reduced vegetable stock ¼ tsp white pepper ½ tsp ground nutmeg ¼ cup fresh mint leaves, finely chopped 125g fresh ricotta   Method Heat oil in a large sauce pan. Cook onion until softened. Add zucchini and frozen peas and cook until peas defrost. Add stock and bring to the boil. Stock should be covering peas, add a little extra water if necessary. Once boiling, add pepper and nutmeg. Reduce heat and cook for 15 minutes. Add chopped mint and cook for another five minutes. Remove soup from heat and stir through ricotta. Using a stick blender, process the soup until smooth. Time Prep time: 5 minutes Cook time: 25 minutes   Good nutrition is essential for the health and wellbeing of young children. We are proud to partner with NAQ Nutrition, the Qld Division of Nutrition Australia, by producing recipes that are healthy, delicious and aligned with the Australian Dietary Guidelines.  ...

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5 Essentials of Preschool

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5 Essentials of Preschool

“Children are our greatest treasure. They are our future.” – Nelson Mandela In order to set our children up for a bright future, it is vital to give them a strong foundation from the very start. We do this by enabling them to completely immerse themselves in the world in which they live. To explore, create and marvel in magic. To wonder, and ask questions. We believe that a high quality Early Education does just this. It is the very basis that sets children up to be confident and capable- not only for school, but for life. Let’s look at the benefits of preschool, and why it is essential for your child: School readiness… but not the way you think: One of the most important indicators that a child is ready for school can be found in their social skills. To successfully navigate life at school, children need to be confident in managing small conflicts, asking questions, and seeking support from a trusted adult. In Early Childhood Education programs, children have the opportunity to work both independently and in small groups, exploring their interests and learning through play.  Play based early education provides opportunities to continuously cultivate the social skills to enter and exit play, and to create and maintain friendships. Spending time in a preschool program gives children the chance to learn and practice these skills, in a safe and caring environment. Brains are blooming in the years before school: While babies are born with the basic functions they need to survive, the first 8 years are a time of huge growth and development, with the preschool years being of significant importance. The human brain roughly quadruples in weight before the age of six (Dobbing and Sands, 1973), and by six years old, brains have acquired roughly 92% of their adult volume. With the help of quality preschool programs, children are given the opportunity to strengthen the architecture of their brains, thus maximising the impact of the pace at which the brain develops. (Courchesne et al., 2000) An introduction to a lifetime of learning: Preschool opens the door to the wonder and excitement of learning, discovering, and exploring with their peers, being guided by an educated professional. In a quality preschool program, children build fundamental  social, emotional and cognitive skills, which will set them on track for a lifetime of positive dispositions to learning.  While learning through play, children explore early mathematical and linguistic concepts, which are the building blocks for future academic success. Development of self-awareness: Between the ages of three and four, children begin to cultivate self-awareness of their actions, and how these have an effect on others. They also develop the ability to monitor their own goals, leading to collaboration and co-operation with others (Hughes and Ensor, 2006). Preschools encourage children to experiment, investigate and contribute to their environments, all which play a key role in developing their self-awareness. Emotional and social development As children participate in various experiences, it is at preschool that they develop the beginnings of emotional intelligence. Within the early learning environment, children develop the ability to manage their emotions, handle stress, show empathy to others, and take personal responsibility, all of which are fundamental life skills, and making the transition to formal schooling as successful as possible.  These are all life...

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Greenwood Events

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Greenwood Events

At Greenwood our communities are so important to us. We are passionate about embracing our communities, neighbourhoods, current families and new families! We welcome you to join us as one of our upcoming events! Bring your family and friends and experience the Greenwood way. July 2017  Greenwood Frenchs Forest FREE Family Fun Event! Bring your family and friends to our FREE Family Fun Day at Greenwood Frenchs Forest! Where: Greenwood Frenchs Forest, 9/25 Frenchs Forest Road East, Allambie Grove, Frenchs Forest, NSW 2086 When: 9am-12pm, 15th July 2017 What To Expect: This is a free community event at our beautiful Greenwood Frenchs Forest centre. With amazing food, children’s entertainment including face painting, balloon twisting, yoga,  and French sessions for kids and families, special appearances by Peppa and George pig, mini petting zoo and much more! Learn More about Greenwood Frenchs Forest!  ...

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Practising Mindful Eating with Lynette Bolton

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Practising Mindful Eating with Lynette Bolton

Lynette Carroll Bolton from Love LCB is sharing her top tips for practising mindful eating.   As I am writing this blog my two gorgeous girls are sitting at the bench enjoying a snack. My little one, two years old, is going at it a million miles an hour. Apple is being stuffed into her mouth, there’s fidgeting and arms flailing around whilst she tries to share a story. Her mouth is certainly finding it hard to keep up with her thoughts. In stark contrast my five year old is eating slowly and deliberately, concentrating on each mouthful. This is quite intentional, and in fact she loves to tell me when she is ‘eating mindfully like the Monks’. The Monks she is referring to are the Gyuto Monks who visited Australia last year. I took Siarra to one of their workshops on ‘Mindful Eating’. Since that workshop she has noticeably slowed down her eating and become more focused.   What is Mindful Eating? Mindful eating is the process of taking the time to listen to what your body is telling you about hunger and food satisfaction. In this day and age when everything is done at a squillion miles an hour, we must bring intention to our eating. We need to pay attention to how food makes us feel both during and after a meal. By doing so, we are able to develop a happier, healthier, more conscious and deliberate relationship with food.  Not to mention allowing us to enjoy what we are eating ten fold!   It is actually incredibly easy and quite enjoyable. Next time you are having a meal take the time to sit down and actually experience your meal. Touch your food, smell your food, feel the food in your mouth and actually experience what it tastes like in your mouth. And if a whole meal sounds too much for this then you can always start with something more manageable – for one minute or fifteen mouthfuls for example.   Why not try this with a scoop of gelato? Experience the way it melts in your mouth, how it smells, it’s texture and creaminess. It is the perfect afternoon sweet treat to practice mindful eating with the kids. Lynette Carroll Bolton is a television and radio presenter, wedding and events planner, wellness entrepreneur and blogger and most importantly mumma to beautiful Siarra and Piper! You can find Lynette at lovelcb.com or on Instagram @lovelcb_ and facebook.  Photography by Lynette Carroll...

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Mindful Parenting and How to Make a Mindful Home

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Mindful Parenting and How to Make a Mindful Home

Lynette Carroll Bolton from Love LCB has stopped by the Greenwood blog to share tips on how we can bring the art of mindfulness into our parenting.  What is mindfulness?  Mindfulness is a term that we hear used all the time in our ever increasingly health and wellness focused society. In fact, it is quite difficult to open a magazine, turn on the TV or read a health and wellness blog without learning about the latest mindfulness technique taking the world by storm.   To me, mindfulness is the art of being in the current moment. It is about being 150% in the here and now, not worrying about what has happened in the past or thinking about what is going to happen in the future. To be mindful is the art of being aware of what is happening both internally and externally. We have to be able to acknowledge our current situation without passing any judgment whatsoever on what is happening.   When putting this into practice as a parent, and in turn fostering mindful parenting, we can create an environment for our kids filled with self compassion, self acceptance and self awareness. And, as with most behaviours viewed by kids, the more we can showcase this skill ourselves the more our little ones will mirror our conduct.   Some of my favourite ways to bring mindfulness into my parenting and at home include: Putting my phone down, switching off the TV and unplugging the iPad. It is so easy to waste hours on end with technology. These days I make a conscious effort to get my screen time in when the little ones are out or in bed. Establishing a regular family mindfulness practice. This can be as easy as sitting together and undertaking breathing exercises. Even just for a minute or two. Being able to sit still and breath is not only an amazing stress relief for both big and little ones it is an amazingly simply mindfulness technique that you can do together as a family. Going for a walk in the garden, lying in the grass and watching the clouds or just sitting and listening to the birds chirping in the backyard. Be intentional and conscious of the environment around you. Feel, touch, listen, see. You’ll be amazed at how many different things you will notice. Lynette Carroll Bolton is a television and radio presenter, wedding and events planner, wellness entrepreneur, blogger and most importantly mumma to beautiful Siarra and Piper! You can find Lynette at lovelcb.com or on Instagram @lovelcb_ and facebook.  Photography by Lynette Carroll...

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Create Calm, Caring and Mindful Children

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Create Calm, Caring and Mindful Children

Our Greenwood Yogi, Beth Borowsky has stopped by the blog to share how we can bring mindful practices into the lives of our little ones at home.  Mindfulness – or learning how to focus your attention on the present moment – is a big buzz phenomenon amongst adults and even school-aged children. But did you know that kids as young as 3 can be taught mindfulness techniques too?   Having taught kids yoga for 12 years, I am constantly humbled and heartened by their abilities to get quiet and focus their attention on their breath and body movements. It may just be for a minute or ninety seconds, but the calm attention is profound, and lays the foundations for being more in touch with how their body feels.  It allows for deeper sensorial experiences (using their senses to explore), understanding more about how they feel emotionally and, as importantly, how others feel.   Cultivating empathy and compassion from such a young age gives kids the social and emotional tools to support their learning and to manage their stress, making them more rounded individuals who are willing to care and share as they learn to read and write, play and explore.   Bringing mindfulness into children’s lives is something the Kids Yoga team does with your children during their yoga sessions. If you’d like to cultivate mindfulness with your child in your own home, why not try these fun activities: Belly Breathing Lie your child down on their back somewhere comfortable – bed, couch, in the garden. Place their favourite soft toy (like a beanie baby) on their belly. Invite them to breathe in through their nose for a count of 3, and out for a count of 3. Watching how their toy rises as they inhale and falls as they exhale. You can increase the count to 5 or 6 with practice. Start with just 5 deep breaths and slowly build to 10 or more. A Mindful Walk  Take a silent and slow stroll together through the park. Before you begin the silent walk, decide that you’re going to either: Listen out for different sounds Notice the different coloured flowers Notice different smells Feel different textures under your feet Mindful Munching  Let your child choose their favourite food and have them eat it really really slowly. Being mindful to notice the taste, the texture, the colour, or the temperature. Beth Borowsky has a Masters in Early Childhood & Montessori Preschool Teaching and is a Certified Yoga Teacher, Kids Yoga Teacher and Kids Yoga Teacher Trainer. The incredible Karma Kids Yoga Team are dedicated to bringing yoga and mindfulness to children’s lives, equipping them with tools to make them feel good, both inside and...

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Top 10 Wellbeing Tips for Mums

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Top 10 Wellbeing Tips for Mums

Rhiannon Colarossi from The Wellbeing Web shares with us practical tips on how to manage the everyday challenges. Raising young children can be a wonderful experience, filled with joy however it often also comes with daily challenges and feelings of exhaustion and overwhelm. The following wellbeing tips are a great starting point for mums wanting to boost how they feel each day as they raise their young children.   Value your Wellbeing. Choose to make feeling good a priority. Consistently check-in with, nurture and celebrate your wellbeing each and everyday.   Gain Clarity. Explore and become clear on how you are really doing in all 5 dimensions of wellbeing. It’s a wonderful starting point that helps you identify which dimension most needs your attention.   The 5 Wellbeing Dimensions Be Present. Focus your time and energy in the present moment as much as possible (it can be so easy to get distracted). Be conscious about your little daily choices and make time to enjoy the everyday moments.   Monitor your Self Talk. Be aware of the way you talk to yourself. Are you talking to yourself with love and kindness? Be mindful of your inner-talk and check in regularly to ensure your tone is positive.   Embrace Self Kindness. Being kind to yourself is essential. Treat yourself as you would a good friend and be self-compassionate whilst being on the journey of motherhood.   Nurture your Relationships. As a mum, your social wellbeing is invaluable. Invest your love, time and energy in your most cherished and supportive relationships.   Schedule Rest. Incorporate mini breaks into your day. For example; Carve out time to enjoy a cup of tea before you start the household chores.   Play Everyday. Give yourself permission to play and make time for fun. Play is often undervalued but is such a precious gift to yourself and your family. Embrace light-heartedness.   Start Positively. Begin your day with a PAP (Positive Action Plan). As soon as you wake, ask yourself these three questions… How do I want to feel today? What am I grateful for? What are my top 3 priorities? The PAP helps you to set the tone for your day.   Forgive Quickly. Let go of mini mistakes and make better choices next time. Self-criticism is a waste of your precious time and energy. Celebrate and acknowledge the good in each day. VALUE, NURTURE & CELEBRATE YOUR WELLBEING…EVERYDAY! To connect with Rhiannon Colarossi and learn more effective wellbeing tools and strategies to help you feel more peaceful, even on the busiest of days visit her website...

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How to Avoid a Tech Tantrum

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How to Avoid a Tech Tantrum

Yikes. We’ve all been there – peace and quiet being broken by the unleashing of the pint sized tech-obsessed tantrum monster. Windows shake, doors slam, empires fall…well, at least that’s what it feels like. Whilst it is somewhat reassuring to know that in this technology obsessed landscape, tech tantrums are a regular and normal part of a child’s existence, it is worthwhile knowing your child’s triggers, and what to do when the inevitable strikes. Enforce Guidelines for Tech Time Make sure that your child knows exactly what is expected of them before they pick up the device. Not only will this routine make tech time a regimented experience, but it will make your own life a little bit easier as well, taking the stress off of you. Forward planning is always the way to go in situations like this. Remember to remain consistent when enforcing your family media rules. Empower your little one Provide cues and reminders when time is about to lapse so your little one can prepare to transition away from their device. Give your child the role of switching the device off themselves when time does lapse. It is far more empowering to allow your child to take control and responsibility, as opposed to you taking the device directly from their hands. Use a clock Children are much less likely to talk back to a clock than their parents! This allows children to keep a track of the time themselves. It’s the perfect way to introduce time knowledge to your child’s education, if they are having trouble mastering it or just learning. Blame it on the clock, it works a treat. Have the next activity ready to avoid a tantrum Nothing spells the end of a brewing tantrum than having another exciting activity ready to jump into! Not only can this take the trauma out of the end of tech time, but it provides the perfect distraction for your child to refocus away from the screen and into something much more proactive. Just make sure it is something they enjoy. This can include: Outdoor time to let their eyes have a break Moving onto a more hands-on craft activity Helping out with chores Reading a book Pull out an age appropriate board game or puzzle Cooking! Have your little one lend a helping hand in the kitchen For more information on taking tantrums out of tech time, head over to Dr Kristy’s website here. Dr Kristy Goodwin is a leading children’s technology, learning and development expert, speaker and author.  Her book Raising Your Child in a Digital World arms parents with essential research-based information and helpful ways to use technology. Ditch your techno-guilt for...

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How to be a Digital Role Model for Kids

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How to be a Digital Role Model for Kids

Kids look to their parents as the go-to model for a variety of areas in their life. Not only for traditional teaching, but also social cues, body language, vocabulary and habits. With the rise in the omnipresent power of digital media, developing a healthy relationship with technology is vital. As a key tool to unwind or catch up on the world, technology’s ability to be always seen can be damaging. Greenwood’s resident children’s technology and development expert Dr Kristy Goodwin has stopped by the blog to share some tips on how we as parents can be more aware of our digital behaviour and our responsibility as digital role models. Have a device free dinner Family dinners are already an integral part of maintaining the family dynamic. We are wired to connect and in our screen-saturated world having tablets at the table only encourages distraction and disconnection. Common Sense Media notes that “Ninety-two percent of parents think quality conversations at dinnertime matter for connecting with their kids”. Screen-free dinners allow the opportunity to connect and share the things that are happening in our lives – leaving devices away from the table allows us to build those critical communication and social skills in our children.   Dr Kristy recommends having a specific landing zone for devices to stay during dinner. Perhaps on the kitchen bench top and remember to keep them on silent if you aren’t expecting an urgent call. Remember it is not just our digital reliance on mobile devices at the dinner table, but TVs too. The Pew Research Center found that 34% of families said that the TV was on for all or most dinners. Go for quality of media, not quantity Ensure that the media your child engages with is balanced. Don’t count every minute they are online, instead the time they spend should be on a mixture of fun and educationally rich activities or apps. As Dr Kristy says, “children need moderation not abstinence when it comes to technology”. Set clear boundaries Whilst every family dynamic is different, it is essential we strike the right balance between family time and screen time. As parents, we’re constantly concerned about the health effects screen time has on our children, yet we often fail to observe our own digital dependence.  Dr Kristy encourages us to “make sure children’s screen time doesn’t rob them of the quintessential elements of a magical childhood. They still need time to play, explore, and be creative with ample white space.” Create a healthy relationship with digital media use in the house by setting clear time limits for both you and the kids. Ensure that the time limits you create suit your family’s schedule – and stick to them! Switch off from work Nowadays we are so accessible to our jobs and more often than not are we bringing our work from the office home with us. To remain present and less distracted be sure you create boundaries for work time and family time. Use technology together Our children crave our attention! When your little one is engaging with technology be involved in what they are playing. Watch, listen, play and encourage them to behave positively online. For more information on taking the correct steps towards model digital citizen status, head over to Dr Kristy’s website here. Dr Kristy Goodwin is a leading children’s technology, learning and development expert, speaker and author.  She arms parents...

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