Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Fun creations

Bag tags/brooches

Flower beanies

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Holiday business.

As we near the end of our second week of Autumn school holidays I felt the need to share some of what we have done.  The kids have been fantastic overall.  They have had their moments, but mostly I have been very proud of them and very impressed with their ability to play together well.

Today Ben and I made some...
Choc chip biscuits

Earlier this week Abby had a couple of school friends come over for a play.  She had wanted to have a spy birthday party which never happened so I promised to organise some form of 'spy' activity for this day.  I created a treasure hunt with 13 clues leading to a box of goodies. The girls ran back and forward looking for clues.  Each new clue came with a piece of a puzzle that had to be completed to show the 'treasure map'.

Dividing up the loot
A clue in the peg basket


Ben lost his first tooth
I got roses
and I made more phone socks.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Mothers Day stall crochet creations

Our school holds an annual Mothers Day stall and as parents we are asked to donate items and then give our children money to go and buy the items at the stall to give us on Mothers Day.  It seems a little twisted when I put it like that, but it helps raise money for the school and it gives the kids a chance to choose something for their mothers.  I like to see what mine choose each year, although it is more difficult for children in the last classes to choose as the options are limited by then.

This year I thought I would see if I could make anything for the stall.  I googled 'crocheted Mothers Day gifts' and found some very tacky and uninspiring ideas, but amidst these I found some that set off my creative juices. 
A pretty mobile phone case.  This is my second attempt.  The first was a learning curve.  I hope to make some more in other colours.
A crocheted beaded bracelet made with silver thread.  This is my first bracelet attempt and I also hope to make more.
A beaded necklace.  This was actually my first jewellry attempt.  I used cheap beads from the craft shop.  They were blue when I began, but by the time I finished, I had blue fingers and clear beads.  It is also way too small.  It just fits Abby as a choker.  Next attempt will be bigger with better quality beads and a pendant.
Now I'm wondering whether these would be appreciated by Mothers as gifts from the school stall, or would they be considered tacky and inappropriate?  I saw some of the jewellry on offer last year (and at Mothers Day stalls at other schools we have attended) and I think mine compares quite well.  In fact I like mine better than some of what I have seen.  I guess it just depends on individual taste really.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Childcare rules

I discovered an article this morning about new laws to further restrict how children can be disciplined in a childcare centre.

Having worked in a childcare centre for six years before having my own children, and with a further 11 years experience as a mother, I find myself wondering who comes up with these rules.  I understand and agree that staff in childcare should not be allowed to smack children.  I'm not going into my opinion about smacking now.  

When I worked in childcare (yes, it was 11 years ago, so maybe children have miraculously become perfect since then) the only form of discipline available or encouraged was 'time out'.  When a child was behaving in a manner that was innaproppriate (generally where I worked that meant they were likely to be endangering another child or causing massive and continued disruption to an activity the rest of the group where enjoying) they would be either moved to a different place within the group, removed from the group, or briefly put into 'time out' (generally a chair at the back of the group), depending on what was appropriate for the situation.  We did not remove them from the room unless the behaviour had been continuing for a long period of time and upsetting other children, or if the staff member felt they were emotionally unable to handle it and needed a few minutes break from the child.  In that situation the child was sent to one of the other rooms in the childcare centre (briefly) and played there for awhile (many children actually considered this to be a treat, so it was avoided where possible).

I recall some ridiculous laws being passed or discussed when I worked in childcare.  One such law/recommendation was that you should never say 'no' or 'don't' to a child as it is too negative.  Everything had to be rephrased in a positive manner.  At the time I worked in a room with babies aged 6 months - 2 years and often I was alone with 4-5 children.  This was ridiculous in my situation.  We had one child who frequently tried to play with the switches on a power point (yes it had child safe caps on it).  For me to say "uh, uh" or "No ______" would  cause the child to stop long enough for me to walk across the room and pick them up and distract them with a different activity, but if I was forced to rephrase it to a 'positive' statement it would have been beyond the understanding of such a small child and defeated the purpose of causing a distraction and a mental association that this behaviour was not good.

If new laws are passed which ban carers from using time out or separation, which have been the approved methods for years, I am hoping that those who make the laws will personally go to each centre and demonstrate to the staff how to deal with a child who is kicking/punching/pinching/biting without separating them from the other children and how a staff member who is alone with 5-15 children (depending on ages and staff/child ratios) is expected to give the majority of children the care their parents are paying for and expecting them to receive without occassionally removing a child who refuses to co-operate. 

These kids are actually pretty smart and if a child learns there are no consequences they can easily hijack every group activity and ruin them for every other child in the room.  I would not be willing to pay for my child to attend a centre where this could happen.  Whether my child was the innocent victim of another childs 'bad day' or whether they are the perpetrator of the trouble, I would expect the carer to have the authority to do 'something' to encourage more appropriate behaviour.

As to the other issue in the article, about religious activities, I am wondering how this applies to childcare run by a religious organisation.  Is the christian preschool/long day care centre my second son attended still allowed to acknowledge religious festivals?  Every parent attending knows it is run by christians, with a christian perspective.  I find it interesting that the only 'religious' activities mentioned are those commonly associated with Christian celebrations, so would a Jewish or Muslim children's centre be allowed to celebrate their holy festivals, or is it only christian activities that are to be banned?

I wonder what other people think of these suggested laws.  Do you have an opinion on the suggested new laws?  If you think I am wrong or misguided or old-fashioned I would love to hear your perspective also.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Lego creativity

Our lego has been in hibernation for several weeks as it seemed to be bringing out the worst in my boys and causing many arguments.  Yesterday I decided to reintroduce it and see what happened.

The boys argued a little, but mostly the co-operative playing won.  Here's what they created.

It is a crane that Tim designed by himself.  Ben helped with bits and pieces and Ezra made the boat at the front righthand side of the table (and shown below).  This is the first large creation the boys have made from their own imaginations, without following any instructions.

Ezra's boat

Family Funday with Kelly

This was meant to be posted last week but I got busy doing an essay (and then taking it easy) and forgot about it until today.

Last Sunday we went into the city to 'walk the bridge' with my parents-in-law and my sister-in-law.  It was a bit of a miserable looking day but we checked the weather radar and hoped for the best.

Approach to the bridge
Storm coming
Ezra just before the rain started.
Waiting for the rain to stop.
Ben couldn't avoid the temptation to play in the rain with his new umbrella.

Once we had completed the bridge, rain and all, we caught the train and walked to the "Chinese Friendship gardens".  They were interesting, beautiful and peaceful. 

 The highrise buildings over the fence didn't seem to fit, but they could be ignored when I focused on the details instead of trying to take it all in at once.

Although the gardens aren't huge, they show a lot of different scenery, from peaceful water areas to somewhat stark bamboo areas.

 This is a rock, but it was lots of fun.

Water Dragon sunning himself.

Ezra was fascinated by these giant goldfish and there were SO many of them.

By the end of the day Abby had a blister and was not feeling so happy anymore, but, on the upside, it was nice to see Tim and Ezra enjoying each other's company on the train trip home.