5 Things You Should Ask On a Centre Tour

Your child’s first five years are arguably the most important in their life! Babies experience a massive growth spurt when it comes to their neurological, physical, mental and social development which is why it is absolutely important to find the best childcare provider in Sydney that will cater to their needs!

Here are some questions to ask your centre director during your tour to Little Zak’s.

1. What Are Your Accreditations?

Where your child starts their early life will greatly impact how they develop. While we ensure Little Zak’s is up to our national standards, each centre has garnered different awards and certifications on top of this! Talk to your centre director to find out more about their individual achievements and accreditations.

2. How Do You Hire Staff and What Are Their Qualifications?

At the heart of every childcare centre is its dedicated and passionate staff. Since your child will be spending a lot of time in their care, it’s a good idea to get to know more about them.

On top of their qualifications, ask about how long the staff has been at the centre and what the turnaround rate is. The secret to raising a secure child is building long and lasting connections so having familiar faces around will definitely be a huge factor!

3. What Is the Infant to Childcare Provider Ratio?

It is important to keep the ratio between childcare provider and infant/child as low as possible. 

At Little Zak’s, we have several rooms dedicated to our kids’ various age groups so we can better monitor and tend to their every need. Each age group has an optimum ratio so don’t be afraid to ask your centre director about the different ratios!
4. How Are Milestones Tracked?

Your child will be going through a lot of milestone in their first years in life! As a parent, we understand you’d expect to be on top of things and notified for various milestones such as transitioning from a bottle to a sippy cup or being able to sit by themselves. 

At our childcare centres in Sydney, we adopt an intentional teaching and spontaneous learning approach to teaching our kids. We work based on their interests to better encourage them to reach their full potentials.
Ask your centre director what programming or chart they have to record and monitor these milestones.
5. What Happens if Your Child is Sick?

Children, especially infants, are more susceptible to illnesses. Its worth asking your centre director about the SOP for when a child is sick. You not only know how they will address your child in the event they do get sick, but will also know how the centre will handle and ensure the health and well-being of their other classmates as well.

Start your journey with the best childcare providers in Sydney and book your tour to a Little Zak’s centre now!

Signs Your Child is School-Ready

The start of kindergarten is both an exciting and nerve-wracking time for many parents. Every child grows at a different pace so there are no hard and fast rules as to what age a child is ready for school. Instead of basing it on a number, look out for these tell-tales signs!

1. Communicates well

The most important thing to note is if your child can express themselves well and can follow simple instructions. Remember, it isn’t just about speaking. At our child care centre in Brookvale, we make sure to practice our kids listening as well as communicating skills. We’ve all been through the terrible two’s and even three’s so it’s essential to observe if your child can listen to a teacher and pick up instructions with little supervision.

2. Sits still

No one’s expecting your child to sit in one spot for the whole day, but your child should be able to sit in a spot long enough for one story or a class activity!

photo credits: www.todaysparent.com

3. Uses the bathroom independently

Not counting a few accidents, you know your child is school-ready when they know when they have to go to the bathroom. An even bigger indicator is if your child can manage it on their own.

photo credits: http://leisahammett.com

4. Connects well with others

In kindergarten, your child will be exposed to a whole new world full of unfamiliar kids! A child truly ready for school will be able to make new friends and handle meeting new people well. Observe how your child reacts while at the playground, in their childcare centre in Sydney or even at your family reunion or party!

5. Work on motor skills

Children will be more active in kindergarten so watch out for signs your child is physically ready such as being able to run steadily, throw a ball, jump and climb! Apart from the bigger, gross motor skills, your child should be also have good control on their fine motor skills by being able to grip a pencil or use scissors.

At Little Zak’s we aim to consistently offer the best child care in Sydney by giving your child a holistic learning experience. Our play-based learning program ensure your child develops a thirst for knowledge by catering to their interests and supporting their development through their experiences.

We also offer various extracurricular programs such as Zakaroos and Little Zak’s Yoga Club to keep our children moving.

On top of all of this, we also have an intensive school readiness program to help make the transition into kindergarten a smooth one. Our activities include reading and writing programs, group plays and music and movement to give your child a holistic learning experience.

Talk to one of our experienced educators today and discuss your child’s journey to kindergarten now!

Monkeying Around to Better Grades

How many times have we been told growing up to stop monkeying around and start studying seriously? But did you know science has proven that fun is a key factor in getting better grades?

Here are some ways playtime can help enhance your child’s learning.

1. Interest and attention

Oftentimes, our minds wander off when certain topics seem uninteresting. It is because of this that we’ve adopted an interest-based approach when it comes to teaching in our daycare centres in Sydney!

We let kids explore and grow through their own experiences to keep their interests piqued.

photo credits: www.huffingtonpost.com

2. Laughter and lesson retention

Laughter really is the key to learning! Studies have shown that students learn more in a warm and light environment. Teachers and educators who crack jokes related to the lesson have been more effective at teaching, leading to higher grades of their students

3. Role play and language

Role playing is an important part of childhood! Role playing helps stimulate your child’s language skills by allowing them to explore different words they wouldn’t normally use in their everyday life. Next time you see your child role playing, encourage them by playing along.

4. Blocks and maths

Would you believe building blocks can help your child become better at maths? Kids have a better grasp and visual representation of maths (i.e. putting things together, taking them apart, and how individual objects contribute to a bigger number) when they play with blocks. The more a child plays with building blocks as a toddler, the higher the possibility of being better a maths in their adulthood.

5. Make believe and creativity

It comes to no surprise that playing make believe can boost a child’s creativity! But it isn’t just about being creative in terms of art. Make believe can help enhance a child’s problem solving and reasoning skills. Research also shows that playing make believe forces children to think about their decisions early on and can help suppress a child’s impulses, making them more responsible adults in the future!

6. Recess and social skills

Learning doesn’t end in the classroom! Recess and outdoor play is a big factor when it comes to your child’s social development. Because recess is generally unsupervised play, children get to flex their social muscles by making friends on their own and making their own sets of rules when it comes to play time.

Start adding fun back into your learning process and see how it affects your child’s grades in the future. Enrol your child at your closest Little Zak’s child care centre now!

Raising Your Own Little Santa

With Christmas just around the corner, the air is full of the giving spirit! But who says giving and generosity can only be practised during the holidays?

Here’s how you can raise your own little Santa who loves to give gifts the whole year round!

1. Show empathy

Without a doubt, the best way to teach kids is to lead by example. At our Brookvale child care centre, we make it a point to show our kids how to be more generous by starting from ourselves. From snacks to toys, our educators expose them to the importance of sharing early on.

2. Mind your language

How you speak to your children about generosity can greatly impact their perception of it. Instead of saying “you should help others,” try saying “sharing your lunch makes you a good helper.” By using “helper” instead of to help, you’re putting emphasis on the doer and not the act.

Always remember to speak about helping and generosity! The constant reminder will soon become a part of their system.

photo credits: www.joy105.com

3. Don’t force generosity

While we understand the importance of generosity, at our childcare centres in Sydney, we make sure not to force it upon them. There are reasons why a child may be reluctant to share (such as a pet recently dying) and forcing them to share may backfire on you. Understand that for this day, the child may be needing the toy as a security blanket and just try again tomorrow.

4. Read books about giving

Story book characters can have a huge impact on children’s outlooks! Our child care centre in Ultimo is full of books with generous characters that we often read to our kids. They just love listening to the stories and applying the same generous qualities every day.

5. Set up a give jar

A great way to instill generosity in your kids is to make it a part of their routine! Have a give jar at home where your kids can drop coins, no matter how small the amount. Make sure to show them you’re dropping money in it as well!

6. Volunteer for charities

Reinforce generosity by making it a family tradition. Volunteer at soup kitchens or nursing homes. For Christmas, you can empty the give jar as a family and count how much you’ve all saved. As your kids to help you pick out what toys to donate to your local shelter. They’ll be more than happy to give if they can play an active role in it!

In times of materialism, we need more giving children than ever. Let’s work together to raiselittle Santas that can make a big difference in the world.

Timeless Tips to Raising Kind Kids

More than anything else, kindness is a skill we must develop in our children. And just like any other skill, kindness is taught through repetition and through example.

Here are some timeless tips you can use to raise kinder kids!

photo credits: www.noviteroditeli.bg

1. Show empathy to others

Kids learn best through example. If your child sees you being rude to your server, s/he may interpret this to be acceptable behaviour. Help your child learn about empathy instead by asking statements such as “How do you think our server is feeling during such a busy day?”

photo credits: www.mommymatter.com

2. Own up to your mistakes

Nobody is perfect, parents included! Teach your kids early on that it’s okay to make mistakes as long as you own up to them. Remember to apologise to your children if you’ve hurt them or caused them disappointment.

photo credits: www.edutopia.org

3. Create a feelings vocabulary

Kids can better display kindness if they can identify their feelings and the feelings of others around them. Create a feelings vocabulary and start out with the basic emotions such as “happy” “excited” “sad” and “angry.” Teach them how to recognise the body language and facial expressions that go with each. As your child gets older, you can start to introduce more complex emotions such as “anxious” and “shyness.”

4. Celebrate difference

Australia is a rich country when it comes to varying cultures and peoples. At Little Zak’s Academy, we use this is an opportunity to teach our kids to be accepting of everybody, no matter their background! Difference goes beyond ethnicity and religion – we teach our kids how to interact with differently abled people as well!

photo credits: www.parentmap.com

5. Volunteer together

Sadly, not all children have the same opportunities that we can give our own. At our child care centre in Ryde and others throughout NSW, we make it a point to remind our kids to be more involved in their communities by volunteering and helping those in need through donation drives and fundraising events!

photo credits: www.eatprayandblog.info

6. Expand their circle of concern

It is easy for children to show their concern towards a loved one such us a family member or a close friend. The challenge is teaching our kids to be kind to those they aren’t necessarily close to. Show your kids you appreciate everyone around you – from the old lady who lives across the street to your bus driver. You could also expand their circle of concern by encouraging your child to attend a birthday party of a classmate they may not be close to.

photo credits: www.momjunction.com

7. Banish negativity

In teaching our kids to be kind, we often forget to teach them to be kind to themselves as well. Practice kindness towards yourself by letting go of any negativity self-talk. Model positive thoughts by showing your children the importance of appreciating what they have – their appearance, skills, etc.

 

There’s more than enough kindness in the world to go around. Join Little Zak’s Academy as we participate in World Kindness Day on the 13th of November and help us make the world a better place for all!

 

Helping Kids Celebrate Diversity Through Inclusivity

Australia is home to many various cultures and peoples. With so many beautiful histories, traditions and backgrounds, it’s important to teach our children how to be open-minded and to appreciate and include people from all walks of life!

Every child is born open-minded and accepting of everybody. Here’s how you can encourage your children to be more inclusive and celebrate diversity!

 

1. Speak positively of others

Children learn best from example. At Little Zak’s Academy, we make it a point to create a warm environment that is accepting of everyone, no matter the age, race, job or religion.

Speak only positive of the people around you: your spouse, your neighbours, your friends and even the garbage collectors! Remember to be the model for how your children should act.

 

2. Practice empathy

The best way for children to understand the others’ feelings is by putting themselves in another’s shoes. If you feel like your child has the tendency to leave people out, take the time to discus it with him/her. Ask your child to sit out play time for a few minutes then ask “how did it feel for you to not be included? How you do think others feel when they don’t get asked to play?”

3. Refuse labels

Labels are the strongest way to create a divide between people. Not only do people feel marginalised when called by a label but it can also influence kids to be less inclusive of people “unlike” them. Do away with terms like “the boy who can’t walk” or “the dark girl” as they only point out differences. At our child care centre in Sydney Olympic Park, for example, we ditch any kind of label and call each other by our given first names at all times!

4. Expand your circle

Build a diverse circle for you and your child. Check to see whether you are limiting your child’s circle of concern to including only people from the same background as you or if you give your child access to people from different backgrounds. Make it a point to interact with everyone in your neighbourhood and your community!

5. Introduce cultures

The best way to celebrate diversity is by introducing your child to different cultures! At our child care centre in Ultimo, we regularly introduce traditions and histories of different cultures to our kids so that they grow up with a deep appreciation of different peoples!

Little Zak’s Academy is committed to creating an environment where people from different ages, nationalities, cultures and religions is always welcome! Join us as we strive to become a more inclusive community and be one with us this Social Inclusion Week happening from the 25th of November to the 3rd of December.

 

Beyond the Goos and Ahs: Developing a Connection Through Communication

Effective communication is an important foundation for raising happy and secure children. Communication should be practiced both at home and at their child care centre. After all, a child’s preschool years are the most essential time when it comes to their emotional and social development.

photo credits: www.livestrong.com

1.Maintain eye contact
Never under estimate eye contact! From babies to toddlers, communication can best be processed with strong eye contact. It’s the easiest and quickest form to establish a connection with your child and it works with all ages!

 

photo credits: www.zerotothree.org

2. Respond to their gestures
Babies and toddlers have a tough time effectively communicating their thoughts solely through words and rely a lot on gestures and body language to get their message across. At our child care centre in Brookvale, for instance, our educators make it a point to always be in tune with the children by listening to their words and responding to their gestures.

 

3. Disconnect to reconnect

These days, gadgets and technology often take centre stage in our lives. Take time off from the screen, disconnect from social media for a few hours and really connect with your child.

 

photo credits: www.parents.com

4. Listen to your child

It’s not enough to just talk to your child – you have to really listen to what they’re saying. Often, we speak not with the intention of hearing but merely to answer or even as a reflex. Take the opportunity to get to know your child more and actively participate in the conversation. Ask questions about his/her day, his/her interests and whatever random topics your child may come up with!

 

photo credits: www.whattheflicka.com

5. Be patient

Your toddler (or baby!) is still in the process of discovering new words and how to string them together to form thoughts. Be patient with your child as they learn more about different words, their meanings and even their correct pronunciation! Resist the urge to complete your child’s sentences and to correct their grammar – instead, listen first to what they are trying to say.

 

6. Avoid baby talk

Children learn to become effective communicators when they are able to expand their vocabulary quickly. While it may seem cute, encouraging your children to mispronounce words or use made up words can slow down the development of their language skills and provides a poor speech model for your kids.

 

photo credits: www.pinterest.com

7. Body language matters

Your body language matters as well. Avoid looking impatient such as rolling your eyes, tapping your foot or crossing your arms over your body as this may discourage your child from opening up and communicating with you. Always display a warm persona that’ll make your child more comfortable (and even look forward to) talking to you!
Communication is the most important way we can make our children feel loved and needed. Take the time to make a connection with your child to help them grow up to be more secure and confident!

Little Zak’s Academy is the best preschool in Sydney at developing language and communication skills. Give your child only the best and join our family today!

8 Tips for Parents from Early Learning Centre Educators

Raising a child is both a challenging and rewarding feat. There are days that are filled with nothing but sunshine and giggles and others that make you want to surrender your child to Gumtree! Trust us, we’ve been there as well.

If you’re feeling a bit overwhelmed, check out these tried and tested tips from our child care educators!

 

1. Routine
It’s important to establish a routine early on so that your child can come to expect what he or she should do next. Set a designated flow that’s to be followed every day. This helps them remember what’s to come and helps make them calmer about their day.

 

2. Prioritise play
While routine is important in child development, at the centre of it all lies play. Kids are more receptive to learning and discovery when they’re allowed to roam and explore on their own. Our Brookvale and other NSW child care facilities make it a point to make play-based learning the focal point of every child’s stay.

 

3. Use transitions
When allotting time for an activity, utilise transition times to avoid tantrums. For instance, if outside playtime ends at 11:30 am, we make sure to give our children a head’s up at 11:15 am to let them know that outside playtime is about to end which gives them ample amount of time to adjust and finish up whatever they’re doing.

 

4. Tone matters
More than just your words, how you say something matters. Our child care educators vary their speaking tone and volume to help get our children’s attention. We often alternate between using whispering or different voices to keep them focused.

 

5. Praise, praise, praise
Kids love knowing they’ve done something right and that you’re noticing this! If your child has done something good, praise them for it so they’ll be more likely to repeat the same behaviour.

 

6. Avoid over-rewarding
While praise is important, avoid over-rewarding as this may detract your kids from the actual task. This may cause kids to work towards receiving a reward and not actually learning the task. Opt to reward bigger accomplishments such as potty training and resorting to praise for smaller ones.

 

7. Keep it light
If your child refuses to do a task, such as putting away his/her toys, make it a game instead! Keeping activities light and fun encourages children to participate more.

 

8. Ask for help
It takes a village to raise a child! Don’t be afraid to ask for help if you need it. At Little Zak’s, we make it a priority to keep a close bond not only with the kids but with the parents as well! Together, we can work towards giving the best experience for our kids.

 

Bonus Tip: Enjoy this time!
Your children won’t be young for long. Savour every step and milestone of this journey with them!

Having kids is not always easy but it will always be worth it. Whenever you’re feeling overwhelmed, try one of these tips!

Secrets to Teaching Healthy Eating Habits

One of the biggest struggles parents face is dealing with picky eaters. While it may not always be easy to get kids to eat healthy, it isn’t impossible!

Here are our secrets to teaching our kids healthy eating habits.

 

Let kids see how food grows
Kids are naturally curious and allowing them to see where their food comes from makes them more eager to try it. At our child care centre in Brookvale, we dedicate an entire area just for Little Zak’s Enviro! Our kids get to plant, water and tend to their own veg to help them develop a greater appreciation for produce.

 

Make food interesting
A great way to get kids to eat healthier food is to make it more interesting for them. Let them count the number of broccoli pieces you’re adding to a dish or identify the colours of veg you’ve just purchased from the grocery. The more they get to interact with the food, the better!

 

Prioritise home cooking
Children learn their eating habits at home. Make home cooking a priority instead of opting for fast food or takeaway. They’ll soon develop a fondness for fresh, homemade food instead of processed ones.

 

Have healthy options at home
Kids will only eat sweets if they have access to it. Start them young and avoid getting them used to sugary and processed food. Instead, always have healthy food at hand to have as snacks any time of the day. Great snack options include carrots, celery, berries, kiwi, and apples!

 

Get kids cooking
Kids are more open to eating good food if they’ve made it themselves. Get them involved and cooking as young as possible to build a good foundation of healthy eating. All our facilities, such as our Sydney Olympic Park child care centre, offer Little Zak’s Kitchen to teach the kids how their meals are prepared and to let them learn all about nutritious food choices.

 

Praise healthy choices
It may take some awhile but in time, your kids will learn to reach for a healthy snack instead of a sugary biscuit. Make sure to praise them and know that they’ve made a good choice! Kids after all love knowing they’ve done the right thing!

 

Let them have treats
It’s important to not go overboard with healthy eating! Restricting children can have an adverse effect and may cause them to binge on unhealthy food once outside of your home. Instead, allow your kids to have a treat once in a while.

Eating healthy doesn’t have to be a struggle with your little one! Just follow our quick tips and watch their eating habits change in no time!

The Adventure Between Animals and Child Development

The Adventure Between Animals and Child Development

Kids have a natural connection with animals. Exposing them to various fuzzy-creatures from a young age helps not only deepen this connection but drastically promote their development!

More compassionate
When kids are asked to care for another living thing at an early age, they learn the importance of being compassionate. What love and protection they show towards a little creature is in turn applied to the people they meet every day!

Increased sense of responsibility
Trusting kids with caring for animals, such as a pet, makes them more responsible. They quickly learn how their pet is dependent on them and will be more mindful when it comes to feeding time and cleaning up after it.

Better social development
Love for animals is instinctual in little children and can become a common ground between them. Exposing your child to different types of animals can serve as a topic of interest to help them engage with other children their age! After all, children are more likely to interact with other kids who like the same things.

Deeper form of empathy
Empathy is something our educators aim to teach all our children. In our Sydney Olympic Park child care facility, for instance, we have regular incursions which expose the children to various animals and veterinarians who can help teach our children to love all types of animals. They then soon learn to empathise with not just animals but with everyone around them.

Appreciation of nature
Sadly, a lot of Australia’s natural wildlife is endangered or at a high risk of being endangered. At our child care centre in Brookvale and various others in NSW, we teach our kids the importance of caring for all creatures so future generations may also appreciate them. Through this, we hope to raise a generation of Australians committed to preserving and caring for our wildlife.

Love for the Earth
Once kids have learned to love animals, they also learn to love their natural habitats. As a result, kids not only care for the animals but are also more committed to helping protect the Earth. They become more aware of how their actions affect the planet which then helps them make more environmentally-conscious choices in the future!

Learning to love animals starts from a young age. At Little Zak’s, we make sure kids learn the importance of caring for animals of all shapes and sizes. Join us as we celebrate World Animal Day on the 4th of October and help us take better care of Australia’s wildlife!

How to Encourage Your Kids to Be More Resourceful

As parents, we want nothing more than to raise our kids to be the best versions of themselves as possible. Instead of shielding our children from failures, we should teach them how to become more resourceful and resilient!

Here are our 5 tips on raising more resourceful children!

1. Coach, don’t control
Parents typically fall into the trap of doing things for their child if they feel their child needs help. This does nothing to help the child and only teaches them that their parents will always be there to pick up where they fail. Instead of controlling the situation, try to coach them through it! Offer useful suggestions and encouragement but allow your child to do the task at hand by him/herself.

2. Model resourcefulness
Children learn by example. If they see you coming up with a quick solution, they’ll pick up this way of thinking and apply it to themselves in the future. Instead of running to the grocery right before dinner, brainstorm with your child and figure out a possible dish with the ingredients you have in your pantry!

3. Support them through their struggle
Yes, the temptation to “rescue” your child through a frustrating experience may be strong but it won’t be helpful. At our child care centre in Brookvale, for instance, we allow our children to feel frustrated and teach them that this is a normal feeling. Instead of soothing them and offering the solution, we sympathise with their struggles but at the same time allow them to come up with a solution on their own.

4. Value effort, not perfection
An important thing to teach your child is their efforts matter more than their results! Teach them to embrace their mistakes and to take each failure as a lesson learned. 

If your child spills milk, for example, bring out the mop or sponge and teach them that mistakes happen and that they should take accountability for it by cleaning it up themselves.

5. Encourage and teach self-encouragement
The most important thing you can do to raise a resourceful child is to encourage him/her. Stop underestimating your child and trust that s/he can figure out a solution by him/herself.

At our Sydney Olympic Park child care centre, we don’t just stop at encouraging our kids – we teach them how they can encourage themselves. Little mantras such as “practice makes perfect!” and “I think I can, I think I can!” can teach kids to keep going even when they feel frustrated or defeated!

At the end of the day, our jobs as parents is to equip our kids with the skills they need to survive on their own. Take these 5 helpful tips and raise independent, resourceful children of your own!

Why You Should Have More Father-Child Bonding

It’s a well-established fact that mother-child bonding is essential to a child’s development but recent studies have shown that dad’s active participation contributes just as much to a child’s well-being!

On top of the care from mum and the attention given from a child care facility, bonding with dad has proven to be a big factor when it comes to influencing a child in their later years. In fact, some findings have even indicated that a father’s presence was the biggest influencer to a child’s development!

photo credits: www.parents.com

Effects of Father-Child Bonding
According to researcher Melanie Mallers, a professor in psychology at the California State University “fathers play a hugely important role in the mental health of their children much later in life. They have a unique style of interacting with their children and men who report having had a good relationship with their father during childhood were found to be better at dealing with stress.”

Apart from emotional and social development, dads can greatly affect a child’s academic development! Studies show that children who were more likely to get higher grades and better reading scores if they have a dad who was highly involved in their school activities (e.g. parent-teacher conferences, coaching the football team, etc.)

A more involved father will also give mum a much-deserved break! Dad and child can spend more time bonding while mum can have some time off to herself. This can create a happier and more relaxed home environment.

Bonding Begins at Birth
It’s important for dads to establish a good relationship with their child from birth. Common ways to create this initial bond include creating eye-contact, talking to a child and maintaining skin-to-skin contact.

As the child gets older, dad needs to come up with new ways to bond with him or her. Start with playing peekaboo with your infant then transition to introducing your child to sports or outdoor games!

Dads can still be active in their child’s life even while they’re at the child care centre. Become more present in your child’s life by volunteering at his or her child care centre as often as possible. At our child care centre in Brookvale, we encourage the active participation of all our parents!

Without a doubt, mums and dads play important although different roles in a child’s life. With the right balance and coordination, both mums and dads alike can work together to raise well-adjusted kids!

Work hand-in-hand with our Brookvale and other NSW child care centres to develop a strong father-child bond with your children!