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Caring for the planet and learning languages: Where early childhood education is headed in 2020.

Only About Children
Thanks to our brand partner, Only About Children

Apart from when ABC KIDS decide to change their morning programming with no notice (a situation which requires the same delicate handling as a hostage negotiation), there’s barely anything as nerve wracking for a parent as choosing the right childcare.

Entrusting the care and wellbeing of the most important small person or people in your life to someone else is a big deal. Because in 2020, ‘care’ just doesn’t cut it.

You don’t want the Daniel Tiger’s Neighbourhood of childcare (basic, boring and stuck on variations of the same theme EVERY SINGLE EPISODE). You want the gold standard.

You want the Bluey of the childcare world (read: fresh, new, inventive and exciting).

When it comes to providing the gold standard, Only About Children (Oac) early learning and childcare centres are leaders in this space. Their play-based program is based on respecting each child as a unique individual, and developing skills to prepare children for the world with a little innovation and creativity.

From nursery to toddler to preschool and kindergarten, Oac is an example of where early learning and childcare is going in 2020 and beyond.

A move away from the one-size-fits-all approach.

We all know what unique little creatures our children are. The challenge has always been in allowing their uniqueness to be a part of the way they learn.

Kids all learn in different ways and develop a whole range of different interests and passions in their early years. That’s why Oac has created the Oac Grow curriculum to encapsulate diverse learning experiences. And we’re not just talking about the more advanced colouring pages and songs in the sandpit some of us may remember from our own early childhood years.

The Oac Grow curriculum includes Book of The Month, Music, Dance and Spanish Language programs, plus the Oac Active program to get those little bodies moving.

It was this curriculum that really appealed to Mamamia podcast producer Ian Camilleri, whose two sons both attend an Oac campus, one in the nursery and one in the preschool room.

For Ian, each day brings a new experience for his kids. “Every day at Oac is jam packed full of activities. From watering the plants and feeding the worm farm to free play on the outdoor bike circuit and open deck, to yoga, excursions, drawing, painting, dress ups and role play,” he says.

And the impact on his older son is clearly evident. “Our son brings home newfound knowledge, vocabulary, concepts, skills and experiences every day which not only boosts his confidence but makes him excited about learning,” he says.

It’s about the individual.

Children need to feel confident to explore their unique identities – and that’s a key focus at Oac.

“Before any child starts their first day at Oac, the child – and their parents – go through an orientation day which allows the educators who will be in direct contact with the child a chance to learn about their likes and interests,” Ian tells us.

“This is further observed throughout their time at Oac and communicated to the child’s parents through an ‘Oac Grow Story’ once a month. Anything that is noted as something the child takes a keen interest in is further explored by the educators and allowed to flourish if the child wishes.”

Parents can also feel part of their child’s day thanks to the StoryPark app, which ensures that a quick scroll will have you up to date with whatever your little one has been up to, complete with photos and reports on everything going on. This also makes it easy to ‘bring their learning home’ by giving parents plenty of references for conversations or activities with their children.

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Ian says this approach to his kids’ learning and development “makes our job as parents easier but also helps them on the best path forward from an early stage in their lives”.

Creating a generation of earth children.

It’s never too early for children to begin to develop an understanding of sustainability, especially in today’s world.

It’s an ethos that Oac firmly believe in and explore through activities like their recycling program, veggie patch and worm farm, all of which fully involve the kids.

Developing a respect for Mother Nature is only going to become more important for the next generation as they tackle climate change.

Learning another language.

No longer shall Dora The Explorer and the occasional episode of Peppa Pig in Mandarin provide language lessons for your child. At Oac, Spanish language is an important part of their curriculum and is taught alongside reading, dance and music.

Early immersion in a second language has been shown to be of huge benefit to children in their early years. Oac integrate basic Spanish language into daily activities – making it easy and most importantly, fun.

You also don’t need to rely on that electronic drum that haunts your nightmares – the Oac music program brings in song, percussion and dance each day.

Making food fun.

Babies, toddlers and pre-schoolers aren’t always well known for their love of new tastes and textures.

At Oac, cooking activities and having a Fruit and Veg of the Month helps children learn about nutrition and embrace the idea of experimentation during meal times.

And forget about packing lunchboxes each morning. At Oac, all meals and snacks are fully provided. You can rest assured that your little one is enjoying delicious meals and plenty of variety, with seasonal menus designed by Accredited Dietitians from The Biting Truth, which quite frankly is probably nicer than what we’re having for lunch as adults. All meals are prepared daily by an in-house cook at each Oac campus.

A holistic view of health.

We don’t need to tell you just how much energy the under-fives possess. You’re living that every day. And while Oac value the freedom to explore through free play, they also integrate an active play aspect to each day which provides plenty of opportunity for physical activity. From fun games to yoga, Oac make sure that children are kept busy and engaged all day long.

Oac also have Allied Health specialists who are available to help families with occupational therapy, speech pathology, vision and nutrition. These specialists also provide training to educators at all Oac campuses.

School readiness.

All parents want their children to feel prepared for that daunting step of going to school. You’ve probably heard a lot of parents talk about the idea of ‘school readiness’ – a child having both the developmental and social skills to handle the big wide world ahead of them.

Ian credits his sons’ educators for helping instil the confidence he needs for school. “I am comforted in the fact that he should take to ‘big school’ like a duck to water when he is able to attend next year,” Ian adds.

What are the most important factors in childcare and early learning for you? Share with us below, we’re keen to hear.

Feature images: Only About Children

Only About Children

Only About Children is more than childcare. Our holistic early learning program is specifically designed to encourage each child to reach their full potential, with dedicated facilities and programs for Nursery, Toddler and Preschool/Kindergarten children. In each of our campuses, everything your child needs is inclusive within our daily fee. Such as dietitian designed meals, nappies, formula, allied health support, dedicated music, language and active programs.

Call 138 622 or visit www.oac.edu.au to book a tour and learn how Only About Children can give your child the best start to life!

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