Ipswich! You may have heard Little Scholars School of Early Learning is coming to you! We’re thrilled our newest campus is coming to Ipswich in early 2025. As we prepare to open our doors, we want to celebrate by sharing some of our favourite family-friendly activities in Ipswich, because we’re not just about early learning, we adore our families and our Ipswich community!

We think Ipswich has really stepped up its game when it comes to offering some great entertaining offerings for the young, and the young at heart. 

Ipswich Children's Library


Did you know Ipswich has Australia’s only public library dedicated to children?  It features a specially designed catalogue with over 35,000 books just for children, and unique multi-reality interactive experiences.

The Ipswich Children’s Library is designed to be an interactive and engaging space for children. It features various zones with elements that encourage exploration and active participation. Highlights include a series of colourful tubes where children can send fabric pieces flying through the air, large interactive screens, and colouring tables where children can scan and watch their decorated fish swim on a screen. The library also offers cosy reading nooks, a gaming touch screen with STEAM-based puzzles, and a unique Reading Tree with a cushioned tunnel for reading. The space is filled with natural light, thanks to its floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the Nicholas Street Precinct and landscaped gardens. 

The library is open seven days a week and hosts regular, child-focussed programs and events and special tech adventures just for little ones!

Queensland Pioneer Steam Museum

Hop aboard the Queensland Pioneer Steam Railway in Ipswich for a fun-filled family adventure. Ride in beautifully restored vintage carriages and explore the rich mining history of the area. As the train chugs along, you’ll pass by old mine ruins and vintage equipment, giving you a glimpse into Ipswich’s past. It’s a perfect outing for families to enjoy a unique and educational experience together.

RAAF Base Amberley Heritage Centre

Attention all young aviation enthusiasts! Visit the RAAF Amberley Aviation Heritage Centre near Ipswich to see some amazing aircraft up close. Walk around and marvel at the F-111 with its famous “dump and burn” feature. Check out the WWII Boston Bomber, Vietnam-era Canberra bomber, Caribou airlifter, Sioux and Iroquois helicopters, and WWII Jeeps. You’ll also see cool Sabre and Mirage fighter jets. Learn about the RAAF’s important role in history with interactive exhibits and displays. It’s a fun and educational trip for the whole family!

Check the website for times to visit.

Ipswich Art Gallery

Ipswich Art Gallery takes play seriously! Its goal is to create dynamic pathways for lifelong relationships with art.

It’s a visual arts and social history museum presenting a dynamic program of exhibitions and heritage displays with complementary workshops, performances and an extensive program for children and families. We also adore that the gallery guides itself by philosophical principles for its children’s gallery, highlighting that learning begins with creative play, and that children are important members of our community who should be encouraged to express and develop their ideas and views.

Ipswich Nature Centre

Located in Queens Park, the Ipswich Nature Centre offers a delightful experience for families and nature enthusiasts. This free-entry zoo showcases native Australian wildlife, including kangaroos, emus, wombats, and bilbies. Wander through lush gardens, see barnyard animals, and enjoy the aviary filled with colourful birds. The centre provides an educational and fun outing, promoting conservation and the beauty of local wildlife.

For more information, visit Ipswich Nature Centre.

Cooneana Heritage Centre

Discover the rich history of Ipswich at the Cooneana Heritage Centre, home to the Ipswich Historical Society. Explore historical photographs, artifacts, traditional crafts, and coal mining displays that highlight the region’s diverse past. Visit Cooneana Homestead to see early Ipswich life, and Jim Donald House, a well-preserved miner’s cottage from the 1890s. Experience an old-fashioned classroom in the schoolroom and watch blacksmiths at work in the blacksmith shop. Perfect for history enthusiasts and families alike.

Queensland Museum Rail Workshops

Take an eye-opening journey through Queensland’s history at the heritage-listed Ipswich Railway Workshops. The award-winning Queensland Museum Rail Workshops is a must-visit for anyone in Ipswich. Once employing over 3,000 railway workers and making it Queensland’s largest employer at the time, this historic site now blends the charm of the past with modern technological advances.

Explore the old boilershop, home to beautifully restored locomotives and carriages, and marvel at Queensland’s largest model railway, showcasing detailed scenes of the state. Perfect for visitors of all ages, this museum brings history to life.

Top Ipswich Playgrounds

Faye Carr Park, Ripley

Check out Faye Carr Park in Ripley, a rocket ship-themed playground designed for the whole community.

The standout feature is the impressive trio of red and green pods, which have become a landmark of the Ecco Ripley development since its opening in 2018. These custom-designed pods by Playscape Creations are a first for Australia, offering sensory delights like cogs, steering equipment, and rainbow spinning wheels, all connected by a bridge. The exterior is just as engaging with ladders, slides, staircases, and fireman poles for endless fun.

For younger children, there’s a separate toddler playground complete with a mini slide, ladder, and puzzles. The area also includes a five-person swing circle, a rotating net climber, a see-saw, and a double-track flying fox for inclusive play.

Sports enthusiasts will enjoy the middle section of the park with multipurpose fields for soccer, rugby, and basketball, as well as an outdoor workout zone. Picnic shelters and BBQs make it perfect for a family outing.

 Over 20 developmental activities between the main and toddler playgrounds promote educational play in a fun outdoor setting. The park also emphasises social play with shared swing circles, rotating net climbers, and multi-track flying foxes, encouraging greater participation.

The parklands are wheelchair and pram friendly, with accessible pathways connecting all areas. The seated playground equipment, including an adaptive swing, see-saw, and net climber, are designed for inclusivity.

Faye Carr Park Features:

  • Accessible toilets
  • Unfenced
  • Baby change table facilities
  • Playground 50% covered by shade sails
  • Rubber, bark chip, and sand base
  • Adaptive swing with harness
  • Learn-to-ride track
  • Basketball court
  • Fitness equipment
  • Open kick-around area
  • Soccer/rugby field
  • BBQs
  • Picnic shelters
  • On-street parking

Orion Mega Playground, Springfield

 A multi-million dollar playground that is accessible and engaging for all ages is the incredible result of a consultation between locals and Orion Shopping Centre.

The main attraction is a vibrant activity centre with a tower reaching 11 metres high, accessible via internal ladders or a 16-metre Sky Walk bridge offering a birds-eye view of the playground below. Two enormous tunnel slides flank the tower, perfect for young thrill-seekers. Note that the play area is not fenced from the nearby car park, so close adult supervision is necessary.

For children who prefer to stay grounded, the playground features in-built trampolines, mountaineering ropes, and a large climbing net tunnel. A wheelchair-friendly merry-go-round promotes inclusive play.

The toddler area includes slides, stairs, a rock climbing wall, a fire pole, a colourful see-saw, and a cognitive play hut with educational activities. Swings are available for both independent children and those needing assistance. Most of the playground is covered by shade sails or roofing for sun protection.

Lobley Park, Churchill

Lobley Park is a charming, aviation-themed park that pays tribute to Ipswich’s Air Force heritage. Children will love playing in the aeroplane structure, exploring the air traffic control tower, and enjoying the parachute swings. The park also offers ample space for running around, traditional playground equipment like swings and slides, and a story time area. Perfect for picnics or parties, Lobley Park features barbecues and tables. It’s a fantastic spot for family fun, with memorable attractions that children will adore!

Redbank Plains Recreation Reserve Playground, Redbank Plains

Located just 15 minutes from Ipswich city, the recently upgraded Redbank Plains Recreation Reserve has become a popular community hub for gathering, playing, socialising, and relaxing.

The central playground features a 9-metre tall adventure tower made of cargo netting, platforms, and ladders, offering a vertical thrill for older children. Climbers can choose between a speedy tunnel slide and a twisty tube slide. The roped exterior allows for easy parental supervision.

The reserve also boasts a 20-metre high ropes course, challenging balance, strength, and coordination, with opportunities for adults to assist younger climbers. Additional features include a giant rotating bird’s nest swing, a multi-bay swing set, and sensory spinners.

A dedicated toddler playground caters to ages one to five with accessible platforms, ground-level activities, gentle slides, and imaginative play areas. Essentials such as swings, see-saws, bouncers, and an inclusive carousel are built on a soft base with ample shade sails. Nearby seating is available for supervision and picnics.

The reserve also includes a newly renovated skate park, suitable for skaters of all levels, adjacent to a large grassy field ideal for soccer, cricket, or kite flying.

Additional features:

  • BBQs
  • Car Parking
  • Dog Off Leash Area
  • Drinking Water
  • Gazebos/Rotunda/Shelters
  • Picnic Facilities/Seats/Benches
  • Power
  • Public Toilets

Splash n' Play Adventure Park, Ripley

The rapidly expanding Ripley Valley is home to several state-of-the-art playgrounds, and the Splash ‘n’ Play Adventure Park is a standout. Designed for all age groups, the park features towering sky cabins at 7.5 metres high, connected by enclosed rope bridges for safety. Children can exit the playground via a straight tubular slide, a twisted mega slide, or by climbing down netted ladders. This section is ideal for children over 5, though confident younger climbers can also enjoy it.

The park also includes a flying fox, a small swing set, and toddler-friendly options in the neighbouring play area.

Directly across from the playground is a shaded, multi-age Splash ’n’ Play area with water fountains, movable sprayers, button-controlled jets, and waterfall arches. This area is divided into two sections, allowing smaller children to play safely away from the larger splash zone. The non-slip rubber base and ample seating enhance safety and supervision.

For families, the Forty West Café at the top of the adventure park serves delicious coffee and food daily. A takeaway coffee is ideal, as a tall garden partially blocks the view between the café seating and the playground below.

  • Accessible toilets
  • Not fenced but set back from the road
  • Largely shaded playground and water play area
  • Zero-depth Splash ‘n’ Play area
  • Mixture of bark, artificial turf, and rubber base
  • Family-friendly café
  • Showers
  • Picnic shelters
  • BBQs
  • Open kick-around area
  • Ample on-site parking

Sunshine Park, Bellevue Ripley

As you approach the Sunshine Park playground, the central tower immediately catches the eye. Standing at 8 metres tall with three levels, it invites children to come and play. Inspired by the towering trees and creeping vines of a rainforest, the structure is both impressive and engaging.

Children can access the different levels through vertical climbing tunnels, ball pommels, and nets. The internal decks are inclined to provide an extra challenge. Once at the top, the 4.5-metre tunnel slide offers a thrilling descent back to the ground.

In the junior play area, there is a cubby-style fort with interactive elements decorating the walls. A small slide is easily accessible for little ones using stable stepping platforms.

For those who love to run or play ball sports, Sunshine Park features a basketball half-court, a handball court, and a generous kickabout area. There’s also a small pump track designed to manoeuvre around without pedalling, providing an additional challenge for competent riders and a fun spot for little ones to push their diggers down the hills.


  • 8-metre tall central tower with three levels
  • Vertical climbing tunnels, ball pommels, and nets
  • 4.5-metre tunnel slide
  • Junior play area with cubby-style fort and interactive elements
  • Basketball half-court, handball court, and kickabout area
  • Small pump track
  • No public toilets

Sunshine Park is an engaging and versatile playground, offering a variety of activities for children of all ages.

Tucker Family Park, Bellbird Park

Tucker Family Park is one of the best parks in Ipswich for children of all ages and abilities, set in a beautiful, nature-filled environment. This park offers a range of exciting features:

Key Attractions:

  • Giant Cube Tower: An impressive 11-metre structure with an 18-metre steel slide, providing plenty of thrills.
  • Toddler-Friendly Features: Includes a smaller slide from the second level of the cube and a dedicated play fort for younger children.
  • Sports Facilities: A large sporting field with goal posts and a fenced multi-purpose court for basketball and other games.
  • Nature Trails: Concrete pathways that lead around the park, through the trees, and to a dog off-leash park and separate puppy park. These paths also connect several local communities with hectares of green space.

Playground Features:

  • Fort with Mini Climbing Wall and Rope Bridge
  • Cube Tower with Giant Tube Slide
  • Musical Bar Chimes
  • Rocker and Roundabout
  • Climbing Nets
  • Sports Field and Multi-purpose Sports Court
  • Gym Equipment
  • Bike and Walking Paths
  • Picnic Tables and Shelters

Tucker Family Park is perfect for those looking to immerse themselves in nature while enjoying a variety of activities. Whether it’s exploring the extensive playground, participating in sports, or simply taking a peaceful walk, this park has something for everyone.

Whiterock Adventure Playground and Splash Pad, Ripley Valley

Whiterock Adventure Playground and Splash Pad in Ripley Valley is quickly becoming a top summer destination. The standout feature is the intriguing “play curl” structure, accompanied by water play and natural exploration zones.

Upon entering the beautifully designed space, the first thing you’ll notice is the huge and uniquely shaped “play curl,” which looks more like a sculptural masterpiece than a playground. The Australian-first design is over 16 metres long and can accommodate up to 40 children at a time with its mixture of net climbs, rock climbing holds, rubber ramps, balancing ropes, and suspended resting areas. This area is best suited for children aged 5 to 12, though confident younger climbers can also enjoy it.

Directly across from the playground is a mostly shaded, zero-depth Splash ’n’ Play area. It features water fountains, movable wiggly sprayers, button-controlled jets, and waterfall arches. Smaller children can safely enjoy water play away from the larger splash zone. The area has a non-slip rubber base for safety and ample seating for supervision.

Rounding out the play space are other playground favourites, including an embankment slide, swings, a seesaw, educational games, and an accessible carousel. The parklands are also equipped with full picnic amenities, making it an excellent choice for birthday parties and family gatherings.

The “play curl” offers a foundation for imaginative play. Its abstract design creates a sense of mystery and encourages problem-solving. Running adjacent to the curl is a dry creek bed with cylindrical stepping stones, providing a nice contrast to the metal and steel of the playground and encouraging a nature-style play. The different ground textures, equipment heights, and water play combine to form a multi-sensory experience.

Whiterock Adventure Playground is located on even terrain with connecting paths, making it easy to navigate with prams. The ground-level carousel spinner is designed for inclusive play. Disabled toilets and a baby change room are available on site.

Additional Features:

  • Unfenced playground
  • Accessible toilets
  • Mostly covered by shade sails
  • Bark chip, rubber, stone bases
  • Swings, including toddler and birds nest swings
  • Natural play elements
  • Educational games
  • Steel slide
  • Seesaw
  • Wheelchair accessible carousel
  • Short bike and scooter track
  • Picnic shelters
  • Electric BBQs
  • Bench seating
  • Kick-around area
  • Ample on and off-street parking

Whiterock Adventure Playground is perfect for families seeking fun and adventure, with diverse activities for children of all ages.

Best parks and nature reserves

Ipswich has a number of incredible parks and reserves for families to explore and make memories together.

Conveniently, the Naeus app makes it easier to discover Ipswich’s natural areas with GPS guided maps of walking tracks that include distance and grading information.

The Naeus Explore app enhances your outdoor adventures with several interactive features. It provides real-time weather updates and has a native plant identification tool—just take a photo, and the app will instantly provide details about the plant. Additionally, the app uses geo-fencing technology to automatically highlight points of interest near you. As you near important sites, like a historical tree or scenic lookout, the app notifies you with detailed information.

The app is also designed to be collaborative. You can report any issues, like fallen trees, directly to the local council through the app. Moreover, you’re encouraged to contribute by adding new points of interest that you discover, such as notable wildlife sightings or unique natural formations.

Queens Park

Queens Park, a jewel in the heart of Ipswich, holds profound cultural and historical significance not just locally, but for all of Queensland.

Established in 1842 and with its architectural roots dating back to 1862, Queens Park is the first and one of the most iconic parks developed in Queensland. It offers visitors a unique blend of historical elegance and contemporary amenities, making it a perfect destination for both relaxation and exploration. Challenge your little ones to spot animals such as Wallabies, Eastern Quolls, Wombats, Frill Neck Lizards, Emus and more!

Nestled near Ipswich city centre, the park provides a convenient escape with its shady gardens and tranquil spaces ideal for a leisurely lunch or a peaceful stroll.

Queens Park is replete with attractions that cater to all ages and interests: from the meticulously maintained formal garden beds and the serene Nerima Gardens, reflecting the beauty of Japanese landscape design, to the engaging Ipswich Nature Centre. The park also boasts modern play areas for children, the rustic charm of Bush House and Bush Chapel, sports facilities including the Queens Park Croquet Hall, and a café. Additionally, the Environmental Education Centre offers learning opportunities about local flora and fauna. 

Robelle Domain

Featuring water parks and lush gardens, Robelle Domain is an ideal spot for cooling down on hot days and enjoying outdoor concerts and events.

This huge park is spread over 24 hectares and comprises over 11km of boardwalks, sporting fields, walking tracks and playgrounds, as well as the stunning Orion Lagoon.

This park is a paradise for families and the play area boasts features that include interactive equipment that combines play with the excitement of electronic gaming and a zero depth water park with a large tipping bucket, jet sprays and spouts.

The park also features shady picnic areas, land art pyramids and an early evening sound and light show to cap off your day.

Flinders-Goolman Conservation Estate

Flinders-Goolman Conservation Estate is a  2,200 hectare estate and is popular for a wide range of activities including bushwalking, horse-riding, mountain biking, birdwatching and Traditional Owner cultural practices.

To explore the area, there are many trails available. The shortest trail is just 560m through bush tucker gardens, and a few other trails that are about two to three kilometres in length, which might be doable for little ones. They’ll be excited to spot wildlife such as king parrots,  willy wagtails, kangaroos and wallabies. 

White Rock Spring Mountain Conservation Estate

With its breathtaking landscapes, a wide variety of flora and fauna, and deep cultural heritage, White Rock – Spring Mountain Conservation Estate offers an ideal setting for a family bushwalk and picnic. Located just 20 minutes from Ipswich and 35 minutes from Brisbane, the estate is conveniently accessible while still providing a peaceful escape from urban life. There are boardwalks, caves, and lookouts, all along well-maintained paths with clearly marked trails and benches for resting tired legs along the way.

Most walks are relatively easy and flat, with dirt tracks and some boardwalk sections. However, some steep inclines, rough terrain, and loose surfaces also exist.

A few short routes for little legs include:

Bluff Lookout Circuit, 200m one way 
Little White Rock Lookout Circuit, 200m one way 
Six Mile Creek Boardwalk, 300m one way 
Little White Rock Track, 600m one way 
Six Mile Creek Track, 1.4km return 

Toilets and picnic shelters are positioned by the parking area with grassy areas where you can set up a picnic blanket.

Denmark Hill Conservation Reserve

Located right in the heart of the city, Denmark Hill Conservation Reserve is a favorite destination for birdwatchers and day-trippers. The reserve is well-equipped for visitors, featuring BBQ facilities, toilets, picnic tables, and ample parking. It offers five short walking tracks suitable for a quick escape into nature. The 200-metre Waterfall Track is wheelchair accessible, making it easy for everyone to enjoy. For those seeking a longer walk, Bluey’s 800m Circuit and the Water Tower 800m Circuit are the most extensive paths available. You can find the main entrance and parking area directly opposite the corner of Deebing and Clay Streets, just a three-minute drive from Ipswich CBD.

At the Quarry Street entrance, you’ll find a  wooden playground which fits in with its natural surroundings. The small playground consists of a climbing net, birds nest swing, balance beam and obstacle course made from ropes and stepping logs.

Best family camping

Hardings Paddock

Hardings Paddock offers a serene bush camping experience close to the city, yet feels a world away. With only eight spacious campsites, you’ll enjoy privacy and tranquility. Facilities include long drop toilets, shower cubicles (bring your own water), free barbecues, and a fire pit. Suitable for tents, caravans, and motorhomes, it even has a holding yard for horses.

The nearby Flinders-Goolman Conservation Estate provides excellent hiking trails across volcanic peaks and slopes, making it perfect for nature lovers and adventurers.

Ivory's Rock

Just a short drive away from Hardings Paddock, you’ll find Ivory’s Rock – a 600 hectare property,  backing onto the Flinders-Goolman Conservation Estate and surrounded by native bushland.  It’s an excellent option for those campers that prefer a few more modern amenities than what Hardings Paddock offers.

Ivory’s Rock is a private property that offers spectacular views of the surrounding mountain peaks.  Animal lovers will be in heaven here with wallabies and kangaroos regularly hopping about the property.  You may even be lucky enough to spot a koala or two.

Campsites at Ivory’s Rock are suitable for all kinds of campers, including those with tents, caravans or motorhomes.  There is a choice of powered and unpowered sites, which all have access to laundry and bathroom facilities.  Other amenities include gas barbecues, communal fire puts, water and even free wifi.

For those new to camping and don’t have their own gear, at Ivory’s Rock, you can even request a site that has all the camping gear set up for you. Then, all you have to do is arrive and relax. Of course, there’s no packing up either – that’s camping in true style!

Ipswich Caravan Village

Ipswich Caravan Village offers a tranquil bushland setting with options for overnight, tourist, and permanent accommodation. Choose from powered and unpowered sites for caravans and campers, or stay in one of our air-conditioned cabins, available for singles, doubles, families, and groups.

Conveniently located near shopping centres, restaurants, sporting venues, Willowbank Raceway, tourist attractions, and heritage sites, our park is perfect for exploring Ipswich, Queensland’s oldest provincial city. Enjoy the blend of natural beauty and nearby amenities during your stay.

Rosewood Showgrounds

Rosewood Showgrounds Camping Facility is located in the picturesque township of Rosewood, 20 minutes west of the Ipswich CBD and one hour from Brisbane making it the perfect place to set up camp while you explore South East Queensland.

Rosewood has been designated as an RV Friendly Town and the Showgrounds is a short drive or walk to a supermarket, chemist, doctors, coffee shops, and the electric train to Brisbane.

The Showground has 28 powered sites (some with access to sullage) and 17 un-powered sites . Other amenities include toilets, showers and free dump point and potable water.

Nearby attractions include the historic Rosewood township, Cobb & Co Tourist Drive and historic coach display, the heritage Rosewood Railway and museum, St Brigid’s Catholic Church (the largest timber church in the southern hemisphere), Grandchester Model Steam Railway, Spicers Hidden Vale and the Hidden Vale Adventure Park, Queensland Museum Rail Workshops, Ipswich Art Gallery and Ipswich Nature Centre.

There you have it! We hope you enjoyed our list of the best things to do with your family in Ipswich. If you’re after the best childcare in Ipswich, look no further than Little Scholars Karalee, due to open early 2025!

Contact us or book a tour today to ensure your little one gets the best start to life that they can.

Do you have a playground you think should be here? Let us know on our socials @littlescholarsearlylearning!
*Images courtesy of Ipswich city council, mrslardeedah.com, romethegnome.com, and Brisbanekids.com.

There you have it! We hope you enjoyed our list of the best things to do with your family in Ipswich. If you’re after the best childcare in Ipswich, look no further than Little Scholars Karalee, due to open early 2025!

Contact us or book a tour today to ensure your little one gets the best start to life that they can.

Do you have a family friendly Ipswich place to visit that should be on this list? Let us know on our socials @littlescholarsearlylearning!
*Images courtesy of Ipswich city council and Brisbanekids.com.

Over the past couple of months, we have started to launch woodworking stations at our campuses! But why, you may ask. It’s dangerous! They could get hurt! At Little Scholars, we actively guide children through ‘risky’ activities to build up their skills, confidence, and resilience. Engaging in woodworking helps children learn to assess and manage risks, develop fine motor skills, and boost their creativity and problem-solving abilities. By introducing these activities in a controlled and supervised environment, we ensure they gain valuable life skills while staying safe.

 The children at our Ashmore campus were the first to start their own project by wanting to build a frame. The children and their educators devised a plan for the project and took a trip down to their local Bunnings to source their own tools and materials, and completed their project over the week!
Skills learned through using tools

Woodworking is an excellent way for children to exercise their creative, practical and critical thinking skills. It allows them to express their ideas and figure out solutions to their projects.

As they measure, cut, and assemble pieces of wood, they enhance their hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills. These activities require precision and control, which are crucial for writing, drawing, and other tasks. Furthermore, using tools like hammers, saws, and sandpaper teaches them how to handle and manipulate objects with care and accuracy.

Confidence and resilience

Guiding children through woodworking activities helps build their confidence and resilience. Completing a woodworking project, no matter how simple, gives children a sense of accomplishment and boosts their self-esteem. They learn that they can create something tangible and useful with their own hands. Additionally, the process often involves overcoming challenges and solving problems, which teaches persistence and resilience. These qualities are essential for tackling academic challenges and life’s obstacles.


Planning and assessment

Our little scholars begin their woodworking projects by making a plan. This may look like drawing out their project, or making a model out of cardboard or building blocks,  discussing with their friends and educators what they’d like to build, how they’d like it to look, what tools they need in order to make their design come to life, and figure out any risks there may be and how to reduce chances of hurting themselves.

Risk management

Introducing woodworking in a controlled environment allows children to learn about risk management. They are taught how to use tools safely, understand the potential dangers, and take appropriate precautions. This hands-on experience with ‘risky’ activities helps them develop a healthy respect for safety and risk assessment. They learn to think ahead, plan their actions, and make informed decisions to minimise risks, which are valuable skills both in and out of the workshop.

Some of their documented conversations with educators have included:

How can we make sure we are safe when using the tool table?

“You have to wear safety glasses.”

“If you step on a nail you can hurt your feet.”

“It can’t be too busy, I might knock something over or into someone and hurt them.”

What do you do at the tool table?

“I can measure the wood.”

“When I’m at the table I use the screwdriver.”

“I use nails to put in the wood.”

How does it make you feel when you build at the tool table?

“I like tools because I can screw something in.”

“I feel happy because I can make something.”

Creativity and problem-solving

Woodworking supports creativity and problem-solving skills. As children design and build their projects, they must think creatively to overcome design challenges and find solutions. This process encourages them to experiment, explore new ideas, and think outside the box. The ability to approach problems creatively and develop innovative solutions is a real skill in today’s world, where adaptability and innovation are highly valued.

Educational value

In addition to the practical skills, woodworking integrates educational concepts such as maths and science. Measuring pieces of wood, calculating dimensions, and understanding geometric shapes are all part of the woodworking process. Children also learn about the properties of different materials and the principles of mechanics and engineering. This hands-on application of academic subjects helps to reinforce their learning and makes these concepts more tangible and understandable.

By providing children with the opportunity to engage in woodworking, we are equipping them with a wide range of skills and experiences that will benefit them throughout their lives. Through careful supervision and guidance, we ensure that they can enjoy the benefits of this fun activity safely.

Our Parkwood little scholars are not only a part of our newest intergenerational program, they’re helping contribute to important research that looks at how intergenerational bonds support children’s emotional wellbeing as well as that of older people who often experience feelings of loneliness in their later years. This latest study by Griffith University will run over 24 weeks in three eight-week pairings with eight children and eight grandfriends.

Researchers at Griffith University, led by Professors Gaery Barbery and Anneke Fitzgerald, are evaluating the intergenerational program, proudly hosted by Bupa Agedcare Group Limited at Bupa Runaway Bay.

“The program is all about making connections,” according to Professor Barbery, project lead for Griffith University.

The project will measure loneliness, resilience and general wellbeing of the aged care residents using the De Jong Scale of Loneliness, he says. 

Isolation and feelings of loneliness are a serious threat for older people, because they’re more likely to live alone, lose family members and friends, suffer from chronic illness and hearing loss. Statistically, one in four older (over 65) Australians live alone. Of those who live alone, according to a 2015 Australian Bureau of Statistics survey, about 12 per cent didn’t receive visitors in a three-month period, and older men were reported to be less likely to have been visited, at 17 per cent.

From the viewpoint of the children, their educators will mark and monitor the project feedback and how it measures against set parameters using the Leuven scale.

“It measures children’s wellbeing and involvement based on observations from staff. There’s also a reflection manual for staff (educators) to offer their perspective of the program, along with a program evaluation survey,” according to Professor Barbery.

Bupa residents getting involved
Img 2738
Joan was surprised at how much she enjoyed her first vist with our little scholars

The Bupa residents were delighted to join the research project, all having different reasons for wanting to be a part of the program. 

“To see the little ones again, because my grandchildren are all grown up, and all littler ones who’ve been born are overseas, so it’s nice to see little people again,” says Lorette. 

“I like little children, and I’ve got a baby great-granddaughter but she’s in New Zealand. So this is a way to spend time with small children. They’re so cute, they’re gorgeous!” Pam says.

Being a half a world away from her family has been hard for Beverley.

“I was a teacher in preschool. I just love kids,” she says. “I have two grandchildren in England, I miss having my family nearby, they come but it’s so far away and a lot of money.”

For Joan, who turned 95 the day before the research project kicked off, she hadn’t considered how much she’d enjoy the visits.

“To start with, it was just an activity, but I found it was so interesting watching these children.”

And Joan says she’s impressed by the maturity of the children, even though they’re only four and five years old.

“They’re much older than we were mentally. Probably because as a society we do more adult things with them. They do seem very advanced to me. It’s a totally different ballgame than when I was a child,” Joan says with a laugh.

Our little scholars' feedback

Of course, we had to ask our little scholars what their takeaway of the program has been so far, and their answers were predictably unpredictable.


Ida, age 4
I like drawing with Judy.
Learn more
Adeline, age 4
I really like colouring with Judy. I think she’s a hundred thousand old
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Hendrix, age 4
I love to paint with Gigi.
Learn more
George, age 4
My favourite thing is reading a book with Bob. Bob isn't lots old.
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Ethan, age 4
I like to do painting with Gigi.
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Frankie, age 4
Sometimes I like to paint with them and other times I like to just play with all of our grandfriends.
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Community involvement

This project is enthusiastically supported and funded by Bendigo Paradise Point Community Bank.

“The Bendigo Paradise Point Community Bank is a registered social enterprise supporting the Gold Coast Community,” says William Matthews, who is proud to be on the Board of Bendigo Bank Paradise Point, as well as principal and director of client operations for Sovereign Family Offices. 

Will says he heard Professor Fitzgerald speak at the Australian Institute for Intergenerational Practice (AIIP) meetings that he regularly attends, and was inspired to see how Bendigo could help.

“As a social enterprise we reflect the values of our community, customers and staff. We see our support of Intergenerational Practice in the community as an essential component to strengthening our community by breaking down the barriers in how our most venerable people in society are cared for. We are extremely grateful for Little Scholars, BUPA and Griffith University for championing this project and supporting a future that includes people from every stage of life.”  

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How intergenerational programs benefit participants

Mandy Kaur, general manager of Bupa Runaway Bay, says once her team heard about the project, they were very quick to jump to be a part of it.

“We are all excited to continue this project,” Mandy says. “I believe these visits can foster a sense of joy, connection, and purpose for both the children and the elderly residents.”

The benefits of intergenerational programs in aged care are numerous, according to Mandy.

“Combating loneliness, fostering empathy, promoting social engagement, and enhancing cognitive function for older adults.

“They also provide younger generations with valuable life lessons, respect for elders, improved social skills, increased empathy and understanding towards older adults, enhanced emotional development, and opportunities for learning and cognitive stimulation.”

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“The children are loving the visits so far,” according to Amy, campus manager for Little Scholars Parkwood. “They have developed some beautiful relationships with some of the residents and regularly discuss throughout the week their experiences with them.

“After week two, the children knew their grandfriends by name and were buzzing with excitement to see them again, which I think shows just how beautiful incorporating an intergenerational program can be!”

Professor Fitzgerald  says  programs like intergenerational ones further support the old proverb that it takes a village to raise a child.

“This research has the potential to make a huge impact on society, reconnecting the young and old,” she says.

“It is not just their eyes that lit up, but also their brain. There is nothing more satisfying than seeing older adults and young people connect for mutual benefit. So exciting to see how hearts are filled with joy.”

“I’m proud Little Scholars has the opportunity to assist in important research that looks at the benefits to both the young and the young-at-heart. Our little scholars are in the most important years of their life when it comes to brain development, and the lessons they learn from their grandfriends they can carry with them their entire lives,” says Jae Fraser, founder of Little Scholars.

Intergenerational relationships is something Jae is passionate about, and it’s been part of Little Scholars nearly since its inception 10 years ago.

“We’re honoured Griffith University researchers contacted us as leaders in the early education field, and we’re thrilled so many of our Little Scholars families jumped at the chance to participate. I can’t wait to see the results of this study when it concludes, and I hope it further highlights the proven positive impact of these relationships, showing how they enrich the lives of both children and older adults.”

Why is early childhood education important for everyone?

Early childhood education has far-reaching benefits, not just for children, but for society as a whole. By investing in the early years, we create a foundation that supports the well-being of families, strengthens communities, and drives economic growth.

Here’s why:

Happier workforce

It creates a happier and healthier workforce. Early education supports parents, reducing absenteeism and turnover by improving overall wellbeing and mental health. This leads to a more stable and productive workforce.

It establishes a future-ready workforce. Children who receive early education develop crucial social and emotional skills, preparing them to handle future complexities and challenges.

Economic benefits for everyone

There are huge economic benefits. Early childhood education contributes significantly to the economy. It generates $313M in immediate tax revenue and an additional $495M in future tax revenue. This is because parents of children in early education can work more, and these children grow up to earn higher qualifications and wages.

It actually has the potential to reduce public spending. How? There’s a $1,194M reduction in health, welfare, and crime costs. Early education leads to lower rates of obesity and smoking, more people entering the workforce, and fewer involved in the justice system.

It can increase household Incomes. While costs are incurred in childcare fees,  overall families benefit significantly, with household incomes increasing by $1,463M. Many parents can work more hours or re-enter the workforce thanks to early childhood education.

It enhances lifetime earnings. Early education boosts lifetime earnings by $997M due to higher academic achievement and qualifications.

Healthier society

It leads to healthier lives! Each year, 8,500 children are less likely to face obesity-related health issues, 2,300 are less likely to become smokers, and 763 are less likely to be incarcerated as adults.

It improves productivity. There’s a $319M increase in productivity from a more educated workforce. Additionally, 4,000 fewer children drop out of school each year because early education provides them with the foundational skills they need to succeed, and often leads to a lifetime love of learning.

These benefits underscore the critical importance of early childhood education for everyone. Investing in our youngest learners is an investment in our future.

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At Little Scholars, we are committed to supporting not just the incredible children we have the privilege of educating, but their families. 

Through initiatives like our Family Time program, which includes haircuts, quarterly date nights, take-home meals for the children and parents. We also arrange specialist appointments on-site which include optometrist, podiatrist, speech pathologist visits, dentist, and child health nurse appointments.

It is a simple idea but one that allows our families more time together on the weekends and weeknights without having to run around trying to fit in those never-ending appointments we need to organise for our children.

We believe that by nurturing these relationships and providing high-quality early education, we can help create a brighter future for all.

Book a tour today to see firsthand how Little Scholars can support your family. Visit www.mylittlescholars.com.au to learn more.

Things to do with your children on rainy days on the Gold Coast, Redlands and Brisbane

Families who live in South East Queensland, a truly beautiful part of the world, are fortunate to enjoy pleasant weather most of the time. But, like anywhere, we get our (small) share of rainy or cooler days. And while one or two days of weather-related downtime can be welcome, our corner of the Earth can sometimes see days on end of rain, something we’re not quite used to, which mean our little ones may be bouncing off the walls if we don’t find some weather-appropriate things to do for them.

Since Little Scholars is in the business of small humans, we’ve gathered some activity ideas for parents we know children will love in any weather!

Gold Coast

With its plethora of beaches and hiking trails, most people associate the Gold Coast with sunshine and heat, a near-perfect holiday destination, but what can  families do if it’s cool, cloudy or raining? The answer is, there’s still plenty to do!

We’ve selected some of the most fun, unique indoor activities families with young children can do on the Gold Coast, the Redlands and in the state capitol, Brisbane.

Home of the Arts (HOTA)

This creative hub offers plenty of rainy day entertainment options. Wander through five levels of thought provoking and inspiring displays, exhibits and artworks at the incredible HOTA Gallery. There’s a Children’s Gallery on Level 1 where little ones can do craft activities and interact with creative displays. 

Gold Coast Car Museum

The Gold Coast Motor Museum in Upper Coomera is a fantastic option for rainy days, featuring over 80 cars and memorabilia. Opened in October 2020 by brothers Carl and Grant Amor, the museum is a tribute to their parents’ love for cars. Located in the scenic Gold Coast hinterland, adjacent to Stanley’s Barn Restaurant & Bar, it’s a perfect destination for family fun and nostalgia.

Only closed Mondays and Tuesdays, children under 13 enter for free, and they’ll love exploring the eclectic range of vehicles spanning the years 1900 to 1988. 

EMF Pacific Fair & Nerang

Looking to entertain your children and use up some of that endless energy? EMF Junior caters for children ages two to 13, with massive ball bits, slides, tunnels, climbing apparatuses, giant blocks and more. There is a separate zoned toddler area that caters to their specific abilities and needs.

Parents can also book their children in for the creche at Nerang and supervised drop and shop sessions at Pacific Fair, which comes in particularly handy for parents who need a bit of time to themselves!

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Gold Coast City Libraries

A classic rainy day activity! But the 13 locations of Gold Coast City Libraries are not your grandmother’s library! They offer a ton of benefits besides an incredible array of books!

Join your library for fun times as the friendly librarians help build pre-literacy, communication, language and social skills for your babies, toddlers and preschoolers. 

Baby Rhyme Time – Giggle, coo and cuddle with favourite rhymes and songs. Ideal for children from birth to two years.

Toddler Time – Sing, move and groove, learn new words and make new friends. Ideal for toddlers aged two to four years.

Storytime – Listen, laugh and roar with favourite stories old and new. Ideal for children from three to five years.

These are offered seven days a week across all locations. For your closest library’s schedule, or to find nearest availability for these programs when they suit your schedule, click this link.

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Ice Skating

Grab the family and head over to Paradise Resort Gold Coast for an experience rare to the southern hemisphere – ice skating!

Planet Chill is suitable for anyone over three years, and to make it a little easier for beginners to stay on their feet, Planet Chill has fibreglass penguins to help make your ‘icecapades’ more bump-free. 

Your family will be gliding to popular music, a disco ball and under-ice lighting to light up your session.

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IMAGINATOR is a multisensory, walk-through experience that houses a series of immersive art installations that celebrate imagination, technology and play. 

There are 15 immersive, one-of-a-kind experiences under one roof that have been created by a talented team of architects, audio-visual artists, futurists, renderers and sound designers. The rooms feature multi-sensory installations like AI projections, sensor-triggered LED waves, giant silk parachute canopies, cosmic gardens, an anti-gravity sunset, an electronic hall of mirrors, a digital wishing well and a whole heap more.

Suitable for all ages, and is generally safe for people with sensory sensitivities, epilepsy or neurodiverse persons.

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Ripley’s Believe it or Not!

Marvel at hundreds of rare and unusual artifacts and get hands-on with unbelievable interactives at Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Surfers Paradise. Play your way through! Shatter your senses in the Vortex Tunnel, where illusions and a colourful light show transport visitors into a mind-bending dimension, or let curiosity be your guide in the Funplex, filled with hands-on interactives.

Families can add on fun by purchasing an experience at the Ripley’s Mirror Maze Surfers Paradise

Redland Bay

Charming Redland Bay has a real country feel despite being a growing bayside residential community. For its residents, the conservation areas and places for sport lead the activities, but that doesn’t mean rainy days mean families need to stay home. 


The IndigiScapes Centre is Redland City Council’s environment education centre. Situated on 14.5 hectares of serene natural bushland, IndigiScapes offers native botanical gardens, a native nursery, bush trails, a nature playground. But while a lot of its appeal is focused on the outdoors, it does have an indoor environment that visitors can access in less desirable weather. 

The Discovery Centre is full of information, displays and hands-on learning opportunities for visitors of all ages! With interactive environmental education areas, microscopes, lookout window, and touch screen activities, everyone will love learning more about the natural world. 

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After exploring the Discovery Centre, you may have worked up a hearty appetite, so check out the IndigiCafe and enjoy local cuisine with a bushtucker twist while overlooking beautiful Coolnwynpin Creek tributary on Redlands Coast. You’ll love the food so much, you’ll want to take some of the bush flavours and spices home with you.

Redland Museum

Check out the Redland Museum! Step inside the Museum and discover a treasure trove of historic artefacts and fascinating stories about the people, places and events that helped to shape the Redlands Coast.

The museum even has a toy hall of fame, where children can see unusual toys from the past, play with the interactive model railway, wind the handle and make calls on 100 year old telephones and see a collection of 100 dolls in handmade costumes.

They can also climb aboard and ‘drive’ the Redlander railmotor and even see how children learned at school in the past.

Open seven days a week from 10am to 3.30pm, the museum is great for families. Admission prices are $10 adults, $6 concession, children are FREE.

Redland Art Gallery

This award-winning gallery offers ‘Family Sundays at the Gallery’ once per month at RAG, Cleveland. These sessions offer families a chance to create together exploring a variety of techniques themed to compliment the gallery’s latest exhibitions. It is a great chance to connect with each other while enjoying some hands on creative fun. The gallery also offers a Parents and Prams session one Wednesday a month as an opportunity to explore the latest exhibitions, socialise and get arty.

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Historic Ormiston House
Historic Ormiston House, which dates back to 1862, is regarded as the birthplace of the Australian Sugar Industry. 
The restored house, expansive grounds and beautiful gardens overlook stunning Moreton Bay.
Open every Sunday from February to December, children under five enter free and visitors can add a Devonshire Tea option to their visit. Volunteers offer information about the site and the history of one of Brisbane’s prominent families.
North Stradbroke Island Historical Museum

Called a ‘hidden gem’ on Tripadvisor, we’re bringing this charming museum out of hiding to share with our families.  The museum represents the 65,000 years or so of Aboriginal history, the British invasion and colonisation and a complex shared history of less than 200 years.

Colour My Pot

If your little artist wants to try something new, why not visit Colour My Pot, a pottery painting and clay studio that provides a fun and creative environment where people of all ages can come together and make memories and some beautiful art.

Colour My Pot also caters to children for birthday parties and school holiday activities.


Beenleigh Historical Village 
Explore the past at Beenleigh Historical Village, which showcases a variety of buildings, experiences, and demonstrations that bring the region’s history to life. You’ll find a blacksmith, an old post office, a schoolroom from the 1800s, and traditional printing presses. There’s also an art gallery, café, and museum displays to enjoy. You can choose to join a guided tour or stroll through at your own pace to see everything the village has to offer.
Beenleigh Historical Village Church
Queensland Pioneer Steam Railway

If families are looking for something completely different to do, or have a locomotive-obsessed little ones, check out the Queensland Pioneer Steam Railway in Ipswich! 

Experience a ride on vintage steam trains from the early 1900s and learn about Queensland’s railway history as you travel along historic tracks. Enjoy beautiful countryside views and grab a bite to eat or drink onboard. Check their website for dates and times.

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Queens Park Environmental Education Centre

Queens Park Environmental Education Centre offers locals, visitors (and especially families) the chance to learn more about Ipswich’s unique natural environment, waterways, and sustainability themes at no cost. Located in the heart of the city’s beloved Queens Park, children can get hands-on with this delightful, interactive, playful learning environment.

The Centre has many environmental education exhibits that showcase Ipswich’s unique natural environment, waterways, and sustainability themes. The interactive displays connect visitors with nature in the home and around the city. Families will love visiting the giant fig ‘growing’ inside the centre and explore the variety of ecosystems and wonderful wildlife that can be found in the Ipswich area.

Ipswich Children’s Library

Did you know Ipswich has Australia’s only public library dedicated to children?  It features a specially designed catalogue with over 35,000 books just for children, and unique multi-reality interactive experiences.

The Ipswich Children’s Library is designed to be an interactive and engaging space for children. It features various zones with elements that encourage exploration and active participation. Highlights include a series of colourful tubes where children can send fabric pieces flying through the air, large interactive screens, and colouring tables where children can scan and watch their decorated fish swim on a screen. The library also offers cosy reading nooks, a gaming touch screen with STEAM-based puzzles, and a unique Reading Tree with a cushioned tunnel for reading. The space is filled with natural light, thanks to its floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the Nicholas Street Precinct and landscaped gardens. 

The library is open seven days a week and hosts regular, child-focussed programs and events and special tech adventures just for little ones!

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Head over to Carindale to exert some of your little ones’ boundless energy where you’ll find this active adventure-play centre specially designed for pre-school children, offering fun, active-play experiences that help develop a positive relationship with physical activity. 

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Hologram Zoo

Hologram Zoo is a family-friendly entertainment centre that operates like a traditional zoo, but with a twist – all the animals are holographic projections created using laser light technology. Suitable for children aged three and above, there are different country based shows like Africa, North Pole, Asia, and Australia. The zoo even allows guests to travel back in time and visit the dinosaurs. 

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Area 51

Area 51 Brisbane is Australia’s largest indoor playground, occupying an incredible total space of 10,000 square metres of endless fun for all ages. 

For babies to small toddlers there’s Astrotots Wonderland and Cosmo’s Inflatable Wonderland. For children aged three to four, they can explore Mini Rovers, which includes Trampoline Park, Cosmo’s Inflatable Wonderland and Gizmo’s Galaxy. Children ages five and up can explore Universe, which includes High Ropes, Bouldering, Trampoline Park, Gizmo’s Galaxy, Mega Slides, Parkour X or Ninja Park.

Adults are very welcome to supervise for free or play for the price of a ticket.

Area 51 also has four different eateries, including iDumplings, Night Market, Mollis and the Area 51 Cafe.

Space Shuttle Inflatable At Area 51

At Little Scholars, with locations across South East Queensland, we understand that rainy days are opportunities for unique and engaging learning experiences. Our early learning service is dedicated to providing the highest quality early education and care, making every day, rainy or sunny, a chance for exploration, learning and fun.

Our beautiful campuses, best of the best resources and sector-leading curriculum, including play-based programs underpinned by the Early Years Learning Framework, ensure that your child won’t miss a beat in their development, even when it’s pouring outside.

Our team of dedicated educators tailors activities to the individual needs and interests of each child, making every day an adventure in learning. We cherish the deep, nurturing relationships our educators build with each child and celebrate the friendships they form with their peers.

Why not see for yourself how we transform rainy days into super fun learning experiences? Book a tour today and join our Little Scholars family!

While it feels increasingly common, when the news cycle often brings unsettling stories into our homes, it can be tough for parents to find the right approach to discuss such events with their young ones, or even know if they should. Here we share some thoughtful strategies to help you navigate these challenging conversations, ensuring you, and your little ones, feel secure and supported.

How to navigate this news with the family can depend heavily on the age and maturity of the members.

During a time in which the news may make us feel defeated and deflated, or fearful and stressed, we hope we can support parents in addressing global events sensitively and thoughtfully, especially important given that young children are always looking and listening.

Limit exposure

 Young children’s exposure to news should be limited, according to experts.  This can be done by turning off the TV during news broadcasts and restricting children’s access to your social media channels to shield them from disturbing images. It’s also advisable to limit discussions about frightening events around young children, saving such conversations for after they’ve gone to bed. While some exposures may be unavoidable, these steps help protect your little ones from unnecessary distress.

Stay attuned to child’s mood

For small children, they may not be able to verbalise their feelings, so in times of stress, or if you think your child may know what’s going on in the news, be attuned to any changes in mood or behaviour. These changes in your child could include:

  • Becoming more withdrawn
  • Reluctance to go out
  • Asking lots of questions
  • Acting out aggressively
  • Having sleep issues
  • Changes in appetite

Understanding your child’s awareness of current events

Start by gauging what your little ones already know about a current event. For school-age children, inquire about their knowledge from school or social media. It’s important to consider the developmental stage of your child, as younger ones may struggle to distinguish fact from fantasy, typically gaining this ability around the ages of seven or eight years.

If your child shows disinterest or reluctance to discuss the event, respect their feelings and try avoid repeatedly pressing them further, but remind them you’re always there to listen or even just when they need to cuddle.

Responding to concerns with care

Be present for your child and prepared for questions. When addressing questions from children, it’s important to be honest yet selective about the details you share. Aim to alleviate fears and provide reassurance to your little ones because you’re their safe place. Listen attentively to their concerns, especially after distressing news events. Address any fears about personal safety by being present during this time and don’t dismiss your children’s fears and concerns.

It’s perfectly acceptable to admit if you don’t know an answer; take it as an opportunity to explore the answer together using age-appropriate resources.

Meanwhile, keep monitoring what your child is watching and limit repeated exposure to potentially distressing news, as the repeated exposure during these 24-hour news cycles can drive a child to dwell on what they’ve seen and heard.


Focus on the positive

Some adults may remember American children’s TV star from the 1970s and 80s Fred Rogers, who once shared advice that still could be applied today. He said, “When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’” If children hear about a car accident, talk about the brave bystanders and paramedics who quickly arrive on the scene. If they hear about war abroad, you could about all the ways people come together to help those in need – providing aid, opening their homes, and raising money. This could and should segue into a conversation about how as a family you could help people who’ve experienced adversity or traumatic situations, like a house fire or homelessness.

Adjust your language and approach

Appropriate age-language is important here, because young brains just aren’t developed enough to understand some of the harsh realities of the human experience. Even something simple like using the verb ‘hurt’ rather than killed, murdered, stabbed, etc all of which are verbs that could scar young children.

Sarah Bergman, a psychotherapist with Counselling on the Coast, says parents should also be aware of their own conversations, actions and moods, because children can be very attuned to their parents. She agrees that if parents are noticing changes in their children, they should provide a little extra care and attention, but says they should mindful of giving over-the-top anxious attention as this can further little ones’ worries.

“It may just be that parents provide more presence to their little ones at this time, allowing opportunities for anything that needs to emerge and it may just be a little bit longer snuggle at bedtime, where they integrate a felt sense of warmth and safety, that all is ok in their little worlds with mum and dad as their protector,” Sarah suggests.

Finally, if you’re concerned about your child, this is a conversation to have with early childhood educators and your Little Scholars campus manager. We’re on your family’s team, so please tell them about any behavioural changes you’ve noticed, what you’ve done at home and what your wishes are for while they’re in childcare. 

Our educators have been trained in trauma response and can even offer insight into your child or suggestions on how to further navigate the difficult feelings they may be experiencing.


Disasters, the media and your child

How to Talk to Your Child About the News

How to talk with kids about traumatic news stories

So you’ve decided to send your child to early learning – how exciting!

 For first-time parents, preparing for this new chapter involves more than just packing a backpack, it means understanding key essentials like the Child Care Subsidy (CCS). Navigating the CCS can seem daunting, but fear not! We’ve written a comprehensive guide to help demystify the process to help you understand how to maximise this support for your family’s benefit.

Here we explain everything you need to know about and to apply for CCS, making it easier for you to support your child’s educational adventure.

What is the child care subsidy (CCS)?

Did you know you can apply for the Child Care Subsidy (CCS) before you enrol your child in early learning? 

Wait, what’s CCS? The Child Care subsidy is assistance to help families with the cost of childcare. Your child’s day in early learning is payable by a daily fee charged by the centre. The government may cover some of this fee, depending on your individual circumstances. This is what is referred to as the ‘subsidy’. 

You may be eligible for the Child Care Subsidy if you meet a number of factors. The Child Care Subsidy (CCS) changed in July 2024 for families earning under $533,280. The percentage of CCS will vary depending on your family’s income, and the income limit to receive the maximum allowed CCS will increase as well. For families whose income is up to $83,280, you could receive up to 90% from the CCS toward your child’s daily fee.

If you have two or more children in care, subsequent children are eligible for a higher subsidy than the first child. For families who earn a total income of up to $141,321, those children will receive 95% from CCS off your daily fee.


Child Care Subsidy (CCS) Requirements

There are several requirements to qualify for the Child Care Subsidy. You may qualify if:

• You or your partner care for the child a minimum of two nights / fortnight

• You or your partner are responsible for childcare fees

• The child meets immunisation requirements

• You use an approved child care service like Little Scholars!

Once you’re ready for your child to go into early learning, you can apply for CCS!

How CCS works

The CCS works on three factors: 

• Your total combined family income

 • The service type. This can be long day care, or outside-hours care such as vacation care

 • How much ‘work-related’ activity you and your partner undertake each fortnight This includes paid work, volunteering, study and other activities as determined by education.gov.au. Job hunting, studying, starting a new business, volunteering and travel time – among others – are all eligible activities that will allow you to claim subsidised hours of care.

Our website has a handy calculator you can use to get an idea of how much CCS you’ll receive.


When to apply for CCS

Apply for CCS via your MyGov Account, which is linked to Centrelink.

We recommend you do this as soon as you know when you might be sending your little one into early education and care, so it’s all set up and ready to go for your child’s first day. Don’t necessarily wait until you’ve enrolled with an early learning campus, because the entire process may take between four and six weeks, and if it’s not set up when you begin care, you may be paying full fees until it’s all complete.

Once your spot is booked in, confirm your Complying Written Agreement (CWA). When a CWA enrolment notice is created by the campus manager, there are two steps that need to be completed by the family:

1. You will be notified by email that the CWA is ready for you to agree to. A reminder will be sent via email should you not sign within 48 hours

2. Confirm your child’s government enrolment via MyGov. If you do not agree to the government enrolment, CCS cannot be paid.

Documents you may need

During your Child Care Subsidy claim via MyGov, expect Services Australia to request a variety of documents to verify your eligibility. These may include financial details like bank account information, tax file numbers, and insights into your assets. Academic records, work-related documents like tax returns or pay slips, details about your living situation, relationship specifics, any international residence proofs such as visas, documentation regarding your children, and any relevant medical records are also crucial. Now that you know what to expect, we’d suggest these are prepared in advance to streamline your claim process.

Finally, we know change can be scary, overwhelming or confusing, as much for our parents as our little ones. We’re here for you from the day you book your tour to the day your child finishes their last day of kindergarten. We can absolutely help you navigate the CCS and other documents you need to help your child become a little scholars. Reach out to your campus manager, admin or any of the leadership team for guidance or further questions.

Ready to explore Little Scholars?

We hear a lot about how important the first five years are for children’s brain development, and it’s a time when children’s curiosity is at a lifetime high, so it’s the perfect time to embrace their curious minds by extending these interests and keeping those little minds active and absorbed, and a new study out of Queensland explores this in further detail.

Researchers look at curiosity and longer-term interests

Griffith University researchers  recently concluded a three-year study investigating the progression of curiosity into enduring interests and its role in fostering a continuous learning culture. The study involved 57 children aged four to five from south east Queensland, participating in two-week enrichment programs covering 15 diverse topics. This research sheds light on the developmental journey of young children as they cultivate interest in various subjects.

This research looked into how young children start to take an interest in different subjects and how this interest affects their learning. The study aimed to find out the best ways to spark interest in children, how interest fits into their learning, and what effects it has.

To tackle this, the study, led by Ellie Christoffina van Aswegen, introduced special programs filled with topics aimed at getting children excited about learning. These programs included a variety of subjects not typically taught to young children but are essential for a well-rounded education. This approach is based on the idea that children should be exposed to a wide range of knowledge to help them understand new information better and build on what they already know.

The chosen subjects ranged from plants and animals to famous artworks and space exploration, divided into three sets. The first set included topics like reptiles and continents; the second set covered the human body and insects; and the third set introduced children to religions and dinosaurs, among others. These topics were selected to broaden the children’s knowledge and provide a solid foundation for further learning.

The enrichment programs were delivered with a mixed approach of direct instruction, explicit instruction, play-based learning, group reading, and take-home activity booklets.

The underlying principle of the study was that a broad knowledge base is crucial for children’s learning because it helps them connect new information with what they already know, making it easier for them to understand and learn new things.


These children from our Ormeau Village campus are exploring shapes even while they're on bush kinder!

Defining curiosity and interest

The study reviews the nuanced distinction between curiosity and interest in children, drawing on insights from Renninger and Hidi. It suggests that curiosity is the spark ignited by a specific question, a momentary engagement, as Dewey describes, that captures a child’s attention briefly. In contrast, interest is portrayed as a deeper, more sustained engagement with a subject, driven by a desire to gather extensive information and maintain engagement over time.

The research looks into the dynamics of how curiosity evolves into interest. Initially, a child’s curiosity prompts a flurry of questions about a topic. This questioning phase deepens their interest as they uncover new knowledge, fueling a continuous cycle of inquiry and discovery. Interest is described as encompassing three interconnected facets: actions, thoughts, and emotions. Together, these elements foster a rich learning environment in early childhood, where knowledge acquisition is intertwined with emotional engagement.

Researchers highlight the critical role of emotional connections and perceived competence in sustaining interest. When children develop a strong emotional attachment to a topic, their eagerness to explore and learn intensifies. Similarly, feeling adept in a certain area enhances their interest, propelling them to pursue further learning.

Educators provide experiences, both organised and child-led to explore concepts of which children have shown an interest

Observations on children's learning

One example mentioned in the study was  building on children’s interests of flowers. Educators led a two-minute activity during which the children pretended to be flowers. Two children showed some disengagement towards the end of the activity. Comments made by the researcher and thoughts on possible reasons for disengagement were included in notes. Each component of the session was similarly identified and analysed providing a snapshot of engagement during the session.

Before and after participating in a two-week program focused on flowers, children’s knowledge about flowers and their parts, such as stems, leaves, and roots, was evaluated. Initially, although all children were familiar with the concept of a flower, many lacked knowledge of its basic parts. However, by the end of the program, there was a significant increase in the number of children who could accurately illustrate these parts on a flower diagram. For instance, the ability to draw a stem improved from three to 17 children.

Similarly, the program enhanced children’s recognition of different types of flowers. Prior to the program, only a few children could name any flowers. Following the program, a substantial improvement was noted in their ability to identify common flowers like roses and dandelions. For example, the number of children identifying a rose increased from two to 16.

Observations of the children’s play and interactions during the program indicated a deep engagement with the topic of flowers. Activities ranged from drawing and painting flowers to hands-on exploration and pretend gardening activities. This engagement suggested a high level of cognitive involvement with the flower program.

The researchers observed data on the behavioural and emotive component of interest through video,  notes, and feedback provided by both the early childhood teacher and the classroom educators.

Feedback from parents provided through a post-program questionnaire offered additional insights into the children’s growing interest in flowers. Parents reported behaviors indicating an increased awareness and curiosity about flowers in their environment, such as noticing or wanting to pick flowers. This parental feedback supported the observations made during the program, confirming a heightened interest and engagement with the subject of flowers among the children.

How social interactions support learning

The researchers concluded that social interaction was key to developing interest. Social interaction, between teacher and child, their peers and at home, formed the basis of developing interest in the various topics of the enrichment program. 

Each component of the program was delivered through images, interesting facts, stories, music, and drama. Researchers found engagement increased as the teacher showed more enthusiasm and modelled curiosity. The study noted that it became clear that the teacher didn’t know all the answers to children’s questions as their interest took them in a variety of directions, and the teacher became a learning partner motivated to research the topic further. The children also motivated each other to learn more, creating art, playing games, bouncing ideas off each other, solving problems and exploring nature together. Familial involvement was identified as another factor impacting curiosity and interest development in a positive way, such as parents working with children to collect or observe flowers or plants in nature to support their learning and working on take-home activity books together. The children brought in their completed take-home activity booklets, to share with the class as well as any ‘treasures’ they had found such as a feather, a flower, a leaf, etc. which stimulated conversation.

Exploring children's emotional connection to topics

The study also examined how children emotionally connected with different subjects, aiming to spark feelings of wonder and awe. This approach occasionally led to feelings of empathy and compassion, or simply brought about joy and delight. Certain subjects allowed children to marvel at the wonders of nature, feel empathy towards animals, or experience the simple pleasure of discovering delightful things.

The study did not shy away from challenging emotions, such as the sadness children felt watching a whale get untangled from fishing nets. Children were provided a supportive environment to discuss their feelings, helping them expand their emotional vocabulary. This is important because understanding different emotions can assist children in managing their feelings better, as they learn various strategies for emotional regulation. Additionally, engaging in music, art, drama (role-play), and free play allowed children to further process their emotions, aiding their emotional growth.

The research also revealed a strong connection between emotional and cognitive engagement. Children became more inquisitive and sought additional information on topics that touched them emotionally.

At Little Scholars, our educational program, The Collective, is based on the premise that children are most successful at learning when curriculum experiences account for children’s interests, strengths, and individual needs. The Collective encompass all aspects of Little Scholars, including a collaborative approach with our children, families, educators, and community.

Our weekly programs, which can be seen in our studios, are responsive to the evolving interests and needs of the children and allow for flexibility and extended periods of play and research to test theories.




Renninger, K.A., & Hidi, S. (2017). The Power of Interest for Motivation and Engagement (1st ed.). Routledge. https://doi.org/10.4324/9781315771045

Harackiewicz, Judith M., Jessi L. Smith, and Stacy J. Priniski. (2016) Interest matters: The importance of promoting interest in education. https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/2372732216655542

At Little Scholars, we have four pillars that underpin everything that we do at Little Scholars – for our children, families, educators, and our community.

As part of our annual awards, we have four awards dedicated to those Little Scholars’ values – learn, grow, inspire and contribute. This year, while our award-winning educators certainly personify all four pillars, but with their unique special skills and achievements, we’ve declared one clear winner for each pillar.

Learn Pillar award winner

Tiahla Jones

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Tiahla at our Ashmore campus was named winner of the Pillar Award in the Learn category because she stepped up to become a lead educator, and she is happy to keep learning from her peers and further her education in the sector.

How long have you been an educator?
Four years

What made you pursue a career in early childhood education?

I feel like it was supposed to be as it all fell into place. I just came out of a casual job seeking for a new career journey and a job at Little Scholars Ashmore popped up. I applied for it and received the role the exact same day.

What’s the most rewarding and most challenging parts of your role? Watching their personalities blossom from a very young age, celebrating their personal developmental milestones with the children and building amazing relationships with families.

The most challenging part would be watching the children you have taught over the years move on to big school. We miss them so much!

What does winning this award mean to you?
Winning my award has meant the world to me, it makes me feel as though my progression and my achievements as an educator are noticed and valued.

Tahlia’s nomination

“Tiahla is always putting her hand up to learn new skills,” says Elise, campus manager for Little Scholars Ashmore.

“She is eager to grow from her peers, and will ask for help and support to build on her knowledge as an educator.”

Tiahla finished her Cert III and was keen to study her Diploma right away, Elise says.

“Tiahla has a bright future as an early childhood educator, as she values the importance of professional and personal growth through learning and collaborative partnerships.”

Inspire Pillar award winner

Keeva Reddish


Keeva is an educator at Little Scholars Redland Bay South and is the recipient of an Inspire Little Scholars Pillar Award 2024.

How long have you been an educator, Keeva?

I have been an educator since 2016, so eight years now and have been with Little Scholars Redland Bay South since January 2023.

What made you pursue a career in early childhood education?
When I first started in early childhood education, I was studying an accounting degree, I quickly came to realise that I wanted to focus on my early childhood career. I fell in love with the children, how incredible they are and how much they could teach me. It wasn’t just the children that I fell in love with but also the challenges and limitless knowledge I could acquire and learn from to be the best educator possible.

What’s the most rewarding and most challenging parts of your role?
The most challenging part of my role is that I want to spend as much time as possible with each individual child everyday teaching them and learning from them but there is not always enough time. The most rewarding part of my job is watching the children hit all their goals and the excitement they display when they see us or accomplish goal. Mentoring and supporting other educators and seeing how far they have come in their journey is another rewarding aspect always leaving me feeling proud of their accomplishments.

What does winning this award mean to you? I was so shocked to receive this award, as I just turn up to work each day to do my best to support and guide both the children and educators. It felt so good to know that what I do each day is being noticed. It definitely makes you feel like you are doing a great job. To be recognised for the support and guidance I provide was so special and my heart felt full of love for my team. To me it cemented the fact that I am becoming the educator I always wanted to be

Keeva’s nomination

In Keeva’s nomination from Redland Bay South campus, it said, “Keeva is an educator who truly embodies each of the little scholars core pillars. 

However, it is Keeva’s ability to inspire those around her, that is one of the most outstanding qualities. Keeva invests in mentoring those around her, inspiring their abilities to grow as educators utilising her existing knowledge and ability to learn more through professional development, to inspire each person to grow to full potential.”

Contribute Pillar Award

Claire Muir


Claire is the educational leader at Little Scholars Nerang campus and has been awarded the 2024 Contribute pillar award.

How long have you been an educator and how long with Little Scholars?

I have been an early childhood educator for 18 years and with Little Scholars for nearly six years.

What made you pursue a career in early childhood education?

I’m not quite sure when I decided this was the path I wanted to take as I feel like it’s been my career goal since I was little. I still remember the way one of my kindergarten teachers, Miss Anderson, made me feel. She was fun, caring, and knowledgeable. I wanted to be that for someone and help children to learn in their own time and style. I liked the idea of being able to help shape the minds of little ones and set them up to be kind, respectful humans.

What are the most rewarding and most challenging parts of your role?

As educational leader within my campus, the most rewarding part of my role is watching both the children and educators flourish and grow as humans. It fills me with so much pride to watch the children reach their milestones and celebrate their successes with them as much as it does when educators gain new skills that help them in their professional career.

My biggest challenge is saying goodbye to the children as they venture off on their next journey into formal schooling. It happens each year but never gets easier to see them go after watching them grow and develop over the years.

What does winning this award mean to you?

Winning this award makes me feel like I am on the right path to creating what I hoped to. It reinforced the fact that I am in the right career and doing the right things to help create a better future and bring our campus closer to our local communities. I feel so proud to be recognised as the 2024 contribute pillar winner.

Claire’s nomination

Renee, campus manager, said, “Claire has remarkable attributes and will contribute to anything and everything you can throw at her.

She is passionate about supporting others and always willing to participate in any type of event, including her own professional growth.

Claire is dedicated within our Little Scholars family and her years with us is another wonderful example of her contribution to our sector.”

Grow Pillar Award

Stefenie Cunningham


Stefenie, an educator at our Yatala campus, has remarkable attributes and we’re told her growth as an educator has been propelled by her enthusiasm to contribute, learn and inspire her team and go above and beyond not only for children, but families as well.

How long have you been an educator and with Little Scholars?

I have been an educator with Little Scholars for three years.

When you started, what was it about the role that made you want to stay in the sector?

When I was completing my work experience at the Yatala campus, I loved the relationships I was building with the children and I could see the impact educators had on the children.

What’s the most rewarding and most challenging parts of your role? The most rewarding part of my role is building such strong relationships with the children. The most challenging part is because I am so use to the younger age group, when I’m with the older children, I have to adjust my teaching style and interactions to their age groups.

What did being recognised for the Grow award mean to you?
It was really special because it really made me see how far I’ve come since being a 16 year old school based trainee. My confidence with the children and families, as well as my knowledge on child development has strengthened so much. I am a completely different educator and the fact that my leadership team can see and recognise it, it is a very special feeling.

Stef’s nomination

Stef at our Yatala campus was named winner of the Pillar Award in the Grow category because she’s grown from a trainee at the campus just a few years ago to now full time educator.

Sasha, campus manager at Little Scholars Yatala had this to say:

“Stef! What a superstar you are, and what a year you have had! From completing your Cert III as a school based trainee to jumping straight into full time work with us and then to go straight to studying your Diploma, nothing can stop you from achieving your goals, and we are so proud of how far you have come and the growth that you have achieved.”

The importance of building emotional regulation skills young

Babies are not born knowing how to control their emotions, nor are adults necessarily well-versed in how to regulate their emotions, even after decades experiencing them. While modern society is making way and space for people to feel and name emotions such as sadness, anxiety, anger, embarrassment, stress and more, some of us hadn’t learned how to allow ourselves to be vulnerable and express these emotions in a healthy way.

At Little Scholars, emotional regulation skills are as important as every other lesson children learn during their time with us. We’re hoping to break generations of cycles of mental health stigmas by teaching children to name and work through their emotions, but we also recognise this must happen at home, on the sports field, and anywhere else they may need to have access to a range of tools to cope and work through tough situations and feelings.

As parents and caregivers, we understand that not all of us were raised with the emotional intelligence to guide a young person in developing theirs. There’s also the possibility that children in our care have experienced more traumatic or negative experiences than we’ve had to deal with, so it might be something we don’t know yet how to navigate. More on that later.


Recognising emotional states within behaviours

When emotional states are high, it’s helpful to recognise the behaviours we see, and the emotional states we may not see.

The behaviours can be aggression, screaming, crying, avoidance, refusal, hiding, running, threatening and loss of self-control, for example.

What we may not be seeing in our children are feelings of: nervousness, exhaustion, guilt, fear, disappointment, overwhelmed, anger, rejected, embarrassed, judged, unloved, depressed, anxious, worried, shame, disrespected, helplessness, offended, sad, and attacked, amongst other feelings.

When a child is displaying any of the above behaviours, what do you think the feeling behind it could be?

How you can help children work through their emotions positively


1.      Stay tuned and recognise signs – Keep a close eye on behavioural cues that indicate your child is experiencing strong or challenging emotions. Be aware of these signals when they arise. Of course, the strength of the emotion is normal, it’s how they deal with it that’s important. This is a step in which you’re helping to create a safe haven for the child, one of trust and acceptance. For the adult, this is recognising and understanding that all emotions are natural and normal.


2.      Turn challenges into teaching moments – See difficult situations as opportunities to connect with your child and help them learn valuable emotional regulation skills. Helping children to label their emotion encourages the regulatory process to engage and reconnect the thinking brain with their limbic system. In other words, name it to tame it!


3.      Listen with empathy and validate their feelings – Before reacting with discipline, keep in mind the phrases ‘Connect before you correct‘ and ‘Stay calm and curious, not quick to anger.’ Ask open-ended questions to help your child identify and express their emotions, like “I noticed you seem to be feeling ___. Could it be that you’re feeling ___?’ or ‘I’m sorry that happened to you, you must be feeling very ___’


4.      Establish boundaries – Clearly communicate expectations for behaviour, reinforcing positive actions such as using kind words and explaining consequences for inappropriate behaviour like hitting. Setting these boundaries helps maintain safety of the child and those around her/him. It’s important not to make the child feel shame, and ensure the child maintains self-dignity. ‘It’s ok to feel like that, but it’s not ok to behave like that’ or ‘we don’t deal with our emotions by ___’


5.      Problem-solve together – Encourage your child to brainstorm possible solutions or strategies to improve future outcomes. Provide support tailored to their age and comprehension level, using visual aids or suggesting choices when helpful. So to restore and repair, you might explore the situation first: ‘how were you feeling when that happened?’ and ‘have you felt that way before?’ then show your child you’re in this together brainstorming ‘let’s think of what you could have done instead’ or ‘can you think of two more ways you can deal with your feelings?’ the work together to come up with solutions ‘let’s decide what you will do next time you feel like this’ or ‘do you think that ____ would be more helpful next time?’



How trauma can influence behaviour in children

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Zoe Lowe is a teacher and mentor who guides educators and parents through early education, behavioural support and trauma-informed practices. She recently spoke to Little Scholars educators at our annual Learning & Development Day.

Her talk helped our educators understand trauma-informed practice, how to recognise the different types of trauma people can experience, and how to work with children who might have experiences of trauma. In Australia, upwards of 5 million adults are affected by childhood trauma.

The types of trauma include:

·        Simple trauma, which stems from often a single incident that was life threatening or have the potential to cause serious injury.

·        Complex trauma involves interpersonal threat, violence and violation, in contrast to simple trauma, complex trauma involves multiple incidents and is therefore longer in duration.

·        Developmental trauma is used to describe the impact of early, repeated trauma and loss which happens within a child’s important relationships, generally early in life.

Children who have experienced any of these traumas can be affected in many ways in their development, she says, because their mental capacity to learn may be eclipsed by having to cope with these negative circumstances.

“This is correlated with developmental trauma,” Zoe says. “Surviving the situation. So [a child’s] survival system becomes overdeveloped. Everything else is underdeveloped.”

“What also happens with trauma, the hippocampus, the part of the brain that’s responsible for your memory [learning and emotion] and the ability to differentiate between the past and the present. So, with persistent exposure to trauma, it can shrink in size, so it won’t pull on what it can to differentiate between the past and present, which is why our past experiences can have such a profound impact on us, even if we’re no longer in danger,” Zoe continues.

So why does this matter?

Because trauma can present itself in many ways in children. Perhaps they’re tired all the time, they startle easily, children who perceive educators or other trusted adults as angry and perceiving them as authoritarians with whom they can’t connect or feel safe, struggling to understand concepts easily, not coping well with transitions, friendship issues, over or under-eating, and, aggression.

However, she says, trauma can explain the behaviour, but it does not excuse the behaviour.

And these symptoms that can present in children may not necessarily be trauma, so Zoe warns not to be quick to diagnose children.

Whether the child has experienced an adverse life event or not, if there’s a behaviour exhibited that we don’t want to see, Zoe says this is where we question what’s behind the behaviour, and find out what a child might need to cease the behaviour.

“As educators, we are going to make a paradigm shift. We’re moving away from ‘what is wrong with you?’ to ‘what happened to you? What is this behaviour that I am seeing right now communicating to me? What need is needing to be met by me?’ says Zoe.

This shift also helps adults calm down and regulate their own reactions to the behaviour in question.

“We expect children to self-regulate, they can’t. They need co-regulation, we need to be with them, supporting them, holding space for them, and teaching them how to regulate.”

While children may not be born knowing how to regulate their emotions, at Little Scholars, we believe they deserve a safe space to learn and grow. We understand that emotional regulation skills are crucial for all aspects of life, and we’re committed to working alongside parents and caregivers to build a supportive community where every child feels empowered to express themselves healthily.

Our educators are extensively trained in recognising emotional cues and guiding children through challenging situations. We encourage you to stay tuned for further resources, and remember, you’re not alone, we’re here to support your child, your family and our greater community in creating a generation equipped with the emotional intelligence to navigate life’s ups and downs with confidence and compassion.

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