Fine Motor Skills Development in Children

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The development of fine motor skills in early childhood will affect the physical and mental development of your child. Fine motor development allows them to become increasingly independent. This can build confidence and increase self-esteem and will, in turn, have a positive influence on their social interactions and school success.

Your child will go through 3 stages of development before acquiring fine motor skills:

  1. Whole arm development
  2. Whole hand development
  3. Pincer and pincher grasp

There are many fun activities that you can do with your child at home to help train their fine motor skills.

Check out our blog post here for some ideas!

How can you Help Your Child Settle into a New Environment?

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It can be stressful for both you and your child when they are introduced to a new environment. It could be their first day of school, a new classroom, or a new childcare. It can be emotionally challenging for children to be separated from their parents, even just for a little while. Settling into a new environment for young ones is a huge step and it is normal if they are having trouble with it.

Here are 6 tips you can use to help your child manage separation anxiety and settle into a new space:

  1. Familiarise your child with their educators and classmates
  2. Ask if they want to bring a comfort object with them
  3. Establish a goodbye routine to prepare them for the separation
  4. Empathise with them
  5. Stay connected with your child
  6. Create a routine — a fixed sleep/wake-up time

With these 6 tips, your child will be ready to step into a new social environment and learn how to manage their anxieties and worries!

Read here to find out how you can use these tips to help your child.

3 Ways to Help Your Child Break Out of Their Shell

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Building Social Interaction Skills

It can be tough to see your child struggling to interact with others in social situations. There are two components that should be met before they are comfortable interacting with others — understanding social concepts and using those concepts.

It is easy for children to understand the meaning and importance of social concepts. But most children struggle with putting those concepts into action. There are exercises you can do with your child at home to help feel more comfortable in social situations. These include:

  1. Coaching social behaviours
  2. Role-play
  3. Positive reinforcement

Going through these 3 exercises will equip your child with the necessary skills for them to interact with their peers at childcare or at school!

Read here to find out how you can use those exercises to help your child.

What is STEAM Learning?

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STEAM holistic learning

STEAM learning is a holistic approach to educating young minds. It stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts, and Mathematics. As technology advances, more and more jobs are becoming automated. People now view the arts and creativity as skills that are valuable.

Children are now encouraged to embrace their creativity and to think outside the box. This allows them to look at matters from different perspectives and think critically.

STEAM sets out to help your child develop skills that will increase their social competence. The model will:

1.       Expose them to creative process

2.       Offer meaningful collaborations

3.       Increase critical thinking

4.       Facilitate creative problem-serving

5.       Provide hands-on experience

These skills will help your child grow into the best versions of themselves and become well-rounded individuals.

Check out this blog post for more details.

What is Pretend Play and Why is it so Important?

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Benefits of Pretend Play

Pretend play is a great tool for young children to learn valuable life-skills while exploring their imagination. Both pretend and physical play work together to train and develop your child’s fine motor skills.

Pretend play has many benefits including:

  1. Enhanced language development
  2. Creativity
  3. Social skill development
  4. Planning and organisation
  5. Independence
  6. Social norms

You should encourage your child to engage in pretend play as it facilitates the development of skills required in every aspect of their life!

You can find out more about pretend play and its importance here.

How Physically Active should Your Child be?

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Physical Play

Regular physical activity is recommended for both adults and children to maintain a healthy lifestyle. This is especially important for young children between the age of 0 – 5, as the first 5 years are the most crucial for growth and development. Starting physical activity young can build a good habit that will follow them as they grow older.

The ACT Health Department recommends:

  1. Babies (1 year and under)

Babies should be actively engaged multiple times a day. Infants who are not yet mobile can play on their tummy for at least half an hour throughout the day.

  1. Toddlers (1 – 2 years)

Toddlers have high levels of energy that you might find challenging to keep up with. The health department recommends at least 3 hours of active play throughout the day.

  1. Pre-schoolers (3 – 5 years)

Pre-schoolers should have at least an hour of physical activity a day. It is recommended to start introducing aerobic and strength-building exercises during this stage.

Physical activity should be paired with sufficient good quality sleep. Your child needs adequate rest to repair their bodies and retain the skills they learned while engaging in physical activity.

Read the full blog post here.

Is our Dependence on Technology Impacting our Children?

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Technology and social interaction skills

Reliance on technology to entertain your child is increasingly common amongst new parents and young children today. It is easy to distract them using online child-centred entertainment, but over-dependence on technology can have lifelong impacts on your child.

A study conducted by members of The University of Arkansas found that ‘low tech’ children had better interpersonal skills than ‘high tech’ children. They had higher average instances of eye contact, body positioning, and hand movement.

It is crucial that children develop social and interaction skills in the first 5 years of their life, as this will affect any social bonds they make in the future.

Technology is not all bad as they do have their benefits, but there must be a healthy balance between digital and physical play.

Read the full blog post for more information here.

Delivering Play-Based Learning Through Educational Toys

Children are Natural Learners

By nature, children are curious about cause and effect; this interest in ‘how the world works’ can be observed from day 1. As they go through the process of growing up, children are constantly analysing and drawing conclusions based on their experiences.

“Babies and children are like little scientists. They gather evidence by observing and experiencing the world,” says Tamar Kushnir from the Human Development Department of Cornell University1. While it may look like they are simply playing with toys in a random or haphazard manner, it has been observed that they are actually engaged in a rational process of hypothesising, evaluating and adapting their beliefs, after being presented with real-world evidence.

Play-Based Learning at Piptree

At Piptree Early Learning childcare centres, toys are more than just fun and games. The way Piptree delivers play-based learning is through our carefully selected, comprehensive range of educational toys, designed by experts in the field2. We have fitted our childcare centres with purpose-designed, sustainable, wooden ‘toys’, which are all actively aimed at stimulating our children in the domains of language, mathematics, creativity, science and health.

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Preparing for Your Child’s First Year of School

We are so very thankful for our wonderful Kindergarten class also known as our Poppies (4 – 5 years), who are moving to Prep in 2019. We have a few more weeks for healthy transitions to the new school, so we have put a quick list below to help you prepare for your child’s first year of school. Further information can be found on the Queensland Government Resource for Parents web page.

As a parent, you play a vital role in your child’s education. There are many things you can do to make your child’s first day and time at school more enjoyable.

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The Importance of Imagination and Make-Believe Play

Symbolic play is the topic which is close to my heart, and I would like to open the door and let you have a little peak about the importance of creative play.

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