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) increased in July 2023 for families earning under $530,000. 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 $80,000, you could receive up to 90% from the CCS toward your child’s 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 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?

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.

Parental separation anxiety : what it is and how to deal with it

Elizabeth Stone, an award-winning essayist and journalist, once captured the essence of parenthood with a poignant quote, ‘Making the decision to have a child – it is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body.’ This statement resonates deeply with many parents, astutely capturing the feelings of boundless love and the inevitable vulnerability that comes with bringing a child into the world.

This overwhelming surge of emotion is particularly intense during those initial moments and first days of separation from your child, often experienced when that child is entrusted to the care of someone else for the first time. It’s a milestone filled with mixed emotions for parents – pride in their growing independence, yet a deep longing to keep them close forever.

While the focus in the first few weeks at early learning facilities is generally on the children and how they’re settling in, an often-forgotten topic is the separation anxiety parents also can feel when they drop their little ones in care for the first time.

In childcare, we offer families tips on how to help children settle in, from suggestions such as: ‘don’t sneak away’, ‘keep goodbyes short’, and ‘maintain calm and confidence’, but what if the child is just fine, but the parents are struggling from the separation?

It’s understandable. If you’re coming off maternity or paternity leave, or perhaps you’ve been the primary parent at home for the last few years, change can be profoundly hard.

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What we’re talking about is parental separation anxiety, and it’s more common than you think.

“I experienced separation anxiety with both my children when I dropped them into care for the first time, but I was much more surprised with my feelings the second time around,” says Christina, a communications professional who has two children. “I had to go back to work much earlier the second time around, and I felt a lot of grief for not getting to continue to bond with my son the way I had been, knowing he was my last baby. I also experienced some fears around him attaching to his educators more than me.”

2016 study by Pacey UK (the professional association for childcare and early years) reported that out of 1,000 mothers, 70% of mums said they worried about the extent they would miss their children, 90% reported feeling anxious about returning to work after having a child, while nearly half of mums admitted being very anxious.

The signs of struggle in parents

How can parental separation anxiety manifest itself? Some of the more obvious signs are tears. Anxious feelings. Moodiness. While others you may not notice until they start affecting your life and mental health.

Here are some common indicators of more serious separation anxiety to be aware of:

  • Persistent worrying and imagining the worst-case scenarios
  • Elevated levels of anxiety or depression
  • Intense distress and experiencing panic attacks
  • Experiencing feelings of anger
  • Physical symptoms when apart from your child, such as headaches, nausea, or stomachaches
  • A constant desire to be aware of your child’s whereabouts at all time.

Reconciling anxious feelings

Ask yourself, what is your biggest fear or worry in separating from your child? The initial step in overcoming these feelings is to acknowledge and understand them. If you’re experiencing heightened anxiety about being apart from your child, it’s important to explore the origins of these feelings. Perhaps they stem from experiences in your life in  childhood, or birth trauma, the loss of pregnancy or another child, perinatal or postnatal anxiety/depression and existing anxiety issues, or it may simply be triggered by the act of becoming a parent.

“How does a parent reconcile these feelings of separating from their child? I think what’s important about that one is that often it’s around guilt,” says Sarah Bergman, a clinical psychotherapist at Counselling on the Coast who has more than three decades of experience in emotionally-focused therapy.

“Guilt is really an emotion that comes up when we have like an idealised sense of a situation or who we are. So we feel guilty when we don’t feel we’ve reached what we want to be reaching or we haven’t done what we want to do. I would say to explore those feelings of guilt, what they are, what you feel like you’re not doing for your child or getting right for your child.”

Sarah says those guilty feelings in parents often link back to situations in their own childhood where they felt like their own parents let them down. But the concern is also passing down those guilty or anxious feelings to your child.

“Their own wounds start to muddy the waters of the child’s experience. So the child’s just going to school, but then they feel their parents anxiety and then they also think that something’s wrong then too, which can make them anxious. So if the parents have a good look at themselves around, ‘what was it that my parents got wrong for me? or what was it that wounded me? and how does that now play across on my child?’ So the parents will often work hard to do the things that they don’t want that their children to experience themselves.”

While Sarah says often the guilty feelings stem from what they missed in their own childhood, the opposite could be true.

“Maybe [parents feel they’re] not meeting the ideals of what your parent did for you or what things that you really loved about your parent and now you feel like you’re not getting that right.”

Wherever the feelings stem from, Sarah says, parents may be trying to heal themselves through their relationship with their child. But, she says, a child doesn’t have those wounds. They don’t experience their parents in that same way that perhaps you did. So she surmises parents could be overcompensating for their own childhood pain.

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“Those kind of parents are very anxious at feeling like they have to attend to everything with their children because they don’t ever want their children to feel the way that they did,” Sarah summarises.

Consider jotting down your feelings or discussing them with a sympathetic friend or even a colleague who could relate with what you’re currently experiencing. Regardless of how trivial or illogical they might seem, allowing yourself to express and discuss these fears can aid in releasing them.

Making the decision to have a child – it is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body.

Elizabeth Stone

Sarah also suggests parents educate themselves on secure attachment, a theory first proposed by the British psychologist, psychiatrist, and psychoanalyst John Bowlby. For children, secure attachment to someone like a mum or dad allows them the secure base necessary to explore, learn and relate, and the well-being, motivation, and opportunity to do so. It’s important for safety, stress regulation, adaptability, and resilience and ultimately can help produce a happy, healthy well-adjusted child.

If you are securely attached, you will feel less anxious because you will feel comfortable that you can trust, you have a positive view of other people and a positive view of self,” Sarah says. “So you think to yourself, ‘it’s okay. My child is in safe hands. They will let me know. I trust the daycare centre. And I trust myself that I’m doing the right thing by my child and it’s going to be okay and I need to go to work and this is just the way it is.’ Whereas someone who is more anxiously attached sometimes have a bit of a negative view of themself and possibly a bit of negative view of others so they don’t totally trust others, so it’s about trying to move into being more securely attached.”

She also says to have an honest conversation with educators or your campus manager.

“You know, that is actually good secure relating as well, that a parent can actually say, ‘I’m feeling a bit nervous’, or ‘I’m a bit worried about that,’ because they’re asking then, they’re not coping alone.”

Sarah recommends in that conversation, have a chat with educators or your campus manager about what might help to alleviate those anxious feelings, whether it’s a phone call or a text, a few extra pictures – whatever it is, having clear communication can help everyone.

“What helped me was an honest discussion with my son’s lead educator during a playdate. She asked me thoughtful questions about why I was having a hard time, asked how she could help alleviate those feelings for me, and was very mindful to update with lots of pictures, and even checked in on me at pick-up over the next few weeks. It was really helpful, and gave me feelings of trust in leaving my baby with her and her team,” Christina adds.

Those secure attachments we want children to have means we also want them to have bonds with others, such as loving educators.

A child who has had a secure attachment with her parent or another safe adult is more likely to be able to develop lasting successful relationships as an adult. In fact, a New York University study recently found positive, warm relationships between caregivers and children were associated with higher odds of attaining ideal heart health at multiple points across a 20-year span of adulthood, so developing these bonds is good for their health!

Part of early childhood training for educators is understand various child development theories such as attachment theory, so trust that your educators understand what secure attachments – both to parents and others children can trust – mean for children’s development and they work hard to ensure these bonds with your child.

Research has found our adult relationships are shaped by our early patterns of attachment and the ways we learn to deal with closeness and separation.

“Children are very attached to their parents and they love their parents very much. And that is who they want to be with. And if they create an attachment with someone else, that’s lovely. However, ultimately it’s important to keep in mind they will want to be with their parents,” Sarah says.

The pressure of parenting perfection

Sarah also says some of these feelings may be pressure we put on ourselves as parents.

“We don’t actually have to be perfect parents and I think a lot of people are really trying to be perfect parents and wrapping their children in bubble wrap. You just have to be good enough. I think from memory it’s only like around 60 or 70 per cent strike rate of meeting the child’s needs.”

Sarah is referring to the Winnicott theory.

“The good-enough mother is one who makes active adaptation to the infant’s needs, an active adaptation that gradually lessens, according to the infant’s growing ability to account for failure of adaptation and to tolerate the results of frustration.” – D. W. Winnicott, paediatrician and parent-infant therapist.

“We all have to learn that sometimes our needs aren’t going to be met. And that’s actually where we build resilience and we build understanding around that other people have things they need to do as well,” Sarah says. “You don’t have to drop everything to be there for your kids. It’s okay to have ruptures with your children. It’s actually okay because that is a realistic expectation on relationships. We all have ruptures and then we get to learn how to repair those ruptures. But of course, if the child’s fallen over or they’ve hurt themselves or they’re scared at night, you want your strike rate on those things needs to be closer to 100 per cent.

“But otherwise, we don’t have to be so hard on ourselves, we can get it wrong sometimes. We just go back and say, ‘Hey, I’m sorry I got that wrong.’ And then the child also learns that they’re going to get things wrong sometimes, too. They can come to their parent and say, ‘Hey, Mum, sorry about that.’”

If we can offer some advice, it’s what we also suggest to parents when children are having a hard time with separating. Find an activity you can do together outside of care hours that you can look forward to, so you can cherish your time together. Maybe after pick-up, you take your child for a walk or to the park, maybe it’s grabbing a sneaky ice cream after dinner, maybe it’s a game night or story time when you get home. Find ways to really connect with your child in the time you’re together may make the time you’re apart easier to deal with.

Sarah says mindful activities can help in easing anxious feelings. But, she says, if these feelings are taking over, it might be worth talking to a professional as soon as possible. You can talk to your GP about a referral to see a psychologist, or you can book in to a specialist practice such as Sarah’s Counselling on the Coast to have a chat with a psychotherapist.

Please remember, if Little Scholars can help in any way, we will, from offering a listening ear, to phone calls to whatever would help your family, we will. We’re not just here for children, we’re here for the whole family.

For anyone who’s ever tried to learn a new language, you can probably attest to the fact it’s challenging. You think in one language and translate into another. There are new tenses, jargon, sentence structures, plurals versus singular words, never mind having the muscular movement necessary to form words with your mouth, the confidence to speak – we could go on and on. Now imagine what it could be like for a baby or small toddler?

There are benefits of course for children learning their mother tongue, or even a second language compared to adults learning language. According to German researchers, the melody of newborn babies’ cries is shaped by the sounds of their native language, which they hear in utero. Babies even babble in their first language. Wait, what? Meaning, from a very young age, they start copying the sounds and rhythms of the language they hear around them. This means they begin to use the same ups and downs in their voice (intonation) and the same timing as the language spoken at home. Plus, when babies babble, they often use the most common sounds (like consonants and vowels) from their family’s language. As babies continue to develop, their babbling starts to sound more like conversation, referred to as jargon, with a rhythm and tone resembling adult speech.

Fascinating, isn’t it?

So, how can you help your baby learn to speak? First, remember babies all develop at different ages and stages, so while some of their peers may be speaking, others may be more focused on movement, fine motor skills or something completely different.

How do babies learn to talk?

Babies learn to communicate by listening to the people around them, especially their parents. They will:

  • listen to people talk
  • watch facial expressions

Chatting with your baby is important, and it’s even better when it’s just the two of you. When it’s just parent and baby, without other adults or children around, baby talk can really work its magic. And when your little one tries to chat back, give them your full attention – it shows them you’re interested in what they have to say, and they’ll be encouraged to keep going.

It’s important to note that too much screen time isn’t great for babies’ language development. Australian and international guidelines suggest that children under two should ideally have no screen time, except maybe for a bit of video chatting. After all, your baby will find you way more interesting than any screen!

It’s great to use that sing-song baby talk voice, as babies love it. But don’t forget to mix in some regular, adult conversation too. Hearing how words are used in everyday talk is a big part of how your baby learns language.

Speech development milestones

Learning through play

You might know by now that it’s Little Scholars philosophy that children learn best through play. So with that in mind, we had some ideas about how you can play with your baby and help him or her learn to speak at the same time.

  • Talk about everyday stuff – As you go about your day, chat with your baby about anything and everything – like explaining why Daddy’s vacuuming or what you’re cooking for dinner. It might seem simple, but it’s a big deal for their language learning!
  • Eye to eye – speak to them at their eye level so they can see your mouth move, which will help them sound words by copying you
  • Echo and expand – When your baby tries to say words, repeat them back. If they say “mama”, you say “mama” too! And if they say something like “train”, add a little more, like “Yes, a big red train!”
  • Engage with their babble – Show your baby you’re interested in what they have to say. Make eye contact, smile a lot, and be all ears when they babble away.
  • Talk about their interests – If your baby shows interest in something, like a toy train, join in with related words or sounds – “Toot, toot” for the train!
  • Walk and talk – Walk them around the house, yard or neighbourhood and point out different things they’re seeing. It’s also a great sensory experience.
  • Story and song time – Reading stories and singing songs or nursery rhymes together is not just fun, it’s also great for language development. The 3A Abecedarian Approach, the reading approach we use in our campuses, helps children learn to speak through conversational reading. City of Gold Coast libraries and Brisbane Libraries also have story time and baby rhyme time group activities, which is great for socialising as well.
  • Cheer them on – When your baby tries to talk or points at something, like a dog, and tries to name it, give them a big cheer – “Great job spotting the dog, Charlie!”
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Supporting language development at Little Scholars

Sasha is a lead educator in one of the toddler studios at Little Scholars Burleigh. She says the Abecedarian Approach is one of her favourite tactics for supporting language development, especially when she’s reading with just one or two children.

“It’s a great way to have back and fourth conversation, for example ‘I can see a horse, can you show me where the horse is?’ or ‘I can see you’re pointing to a monkey, can you find anymore monkeys?’ another one could be ‘I can see you’re point to a dog, what noise does a dog make?’

“It’s not only conversational reading,” Sasha continues. “But also just communicating throughout experiences, if a child is stacking a block on top of another block communicating that action that the child is doing.”

Nikki, the lead educator in the nursery also at our Burleigh campus, says utilising one-on-one periods during routines and rituals, such as nappy changes, washing hands and faces, sunscreen times, are a great time to be talking to the children about what they have been and are doing, ‘we are putting our sunscreen and hats on so we are sun-safe to go outside,’ for example. They also name body parts during the process.

“We always warn the children if we are about to touch their bodies in order to help them, like for nappy changes or sunscreen application, and dictate what is happening to them, so we are verbalising every step,” Nikki says.

“We also talk through the steps at rest times as we place the children in their cots or walk into the cot room, saying ‘we are going to rest our bodies and have some sleep now, I will see you when we wake up and we will do ___’. Basically, we are constantly narrating to the children their every move,” Nikki says.

At our Deception campus, Hayley, lead educator of the toddler studio, does the same thing, but adds a little twist.

“I do a lot of singing, and turning things into songs!” says Hayley. We think that’s a great idea, research shows that singing can help with language development, memory, and even emotional regulation. Singing also has many physical benefits, like improving breathing and posture, and help with early literacy.

“I also think it’s important to be at the child’s level. Talking clearly, and using simple sentences, as well as showing interest when they are speaking to you,” Hayley adds.

Social media accounts to follow

Social media can be a great source for parents, so when it comes to baby speech, we’ve got a few we recommend.

Firstly, for all things child-development and early learning, @littlescholarsearlylearning

Then specific for children’s speech development tips, tricks and support, we like these Instagram accounts:

Remember, if you’re worried about your child’s speech development, talk to your GP who can advise or help you with next steps to support your child.

Speech development chart information from Speech Pathology Australia

We adore the endless stream of questions that little ones bring to us every day!  From an early education standpoint, we want children to learn at every opportunity. Children are inquisitive beings, and they have lots to learn! At Little Scholars, we cherish this innate curiosity in children and strive to foster a lifelong passion for learning.

As parents and educators, we understand that some questions from our little ones can catch us off guard, leaving us searching for the right words to provide age-appropriate answers. We’re here to lend a helping hand, so let’s tackle a few of these tough questions together!


How are babies made/how did a baby get in a mummy’s belly?

Children at this age are curious about the beginning of life. You can answer simply, “A tiny seed, called sperm, from the daddy joins with a special egg from the mummy, and that’s how a baby starts to grow inside the mummy’s belly.” They may understand it like a fruit grows from a seed. For young children, this should satisfy the question. You may want to explain it’s not the same kind of egg we eat for breakfast!


What does dying mean?

The concept of death can be challenging for young children to grasp. We think it’s important to be honest here. You can say, “Dying means that a person’s body stops working, and they don’t feel pain anymore. They don’t breathe, eat, feel hungry or cold. It’s a natural part of life’s cycle, like when leaves fall from a tree in the autumn.” This is a topic that may be followed up with further questions, such as ‘will I die or will you die?’ and be honest. “Yes, we all die. But I hope to be around for a really long time. I have no serious illnesses that could change that.”

What happens to us when we die?

For toddlers and preschoolers, you can offer a comforting response like, “When someone dies, they become like a beautiful memory in our hearts. We remember all the happy times we shared with them, and they will always be a part of us.” If your family has cultural or religious beliefs around death, this may be the place to share, “in our family and our culture/religion, we believe when the body dies ______.” Your child may work through this further through their play, but just be there for them and prepared to revisit this topic.

Same-sex relationships

How come Louis has two dads?

Children may notice different family structures. You can say, “Families come in all shapes and sizes. Louis is very lucky to have two dads who love and care for him just like your mummy and daddy love you.”


Why does Ashley’s mum live in a different house from her dad?

When answering a small child’s question about why a couple has divorced, we think a simple, honest, and age-appropriate response that takes their emotional well-being into consideration works best. Here’s one way to address the question: “Sometimes, mummies and daddies decide to live separately because they have found they feel happier when they have some space. It’s like when friends need some time apart.

If it’s your separation, your child will need a lot of reassurance from you. “Even though mummy and daddy won’t be living in the same house, we both still love you very much, and we will always be there for you. You will have special time with both of them, and we will continue to love and care for you in different homes.”

Young children may have a limited understanding of complex situations like divorce, so keeping the explanation simple and reassuring them of their parents’ love is crucial. Encourage them to share their feelings and questions, and assure them that it’s okay to talk about their emotions. Creating a supportive and open environment helps children navigate through changes and emotions in a healthy way.

News events

What happened in the news that’s making everyone so sad?

Addressing sad news can be tricky. Open the discussion by asking your child what they know about what’s happened in the news. This is a good opportunity to correct false information and provide context. Remember to use age-appropriate language. Check your child’s understanding throughout the conversation and allow them to ask questions. You can say, “Sometimes, sad things happen in the world, and it can make people feel upset. It’s okay to feel sad or worried, and we can always talk about our feelings with someone we trust. You can always talk to me about anything.”


Why is the sky blue?

The secret behind the blue sky lies in something called “Rayleigh scattering”. It’s a fancy scientific term, but it’s a super interesting phenomenon that helps us understand why the sky is blue. When sunlight enters the Earth’s atmosphere, it interacts with tiny particles like dust, water vapour, and pollen. This mixing causes the sunlight to scatter, or spread out, in all directions. When light waves hit these particles, they bounce off and scatter in different directions, just like water droplets scatter after you throw a rock into a pond.

Now you might ask, “Why is the sky blue and not another colour?” That’s because blue light has a shorter wavelength than other colours of light, like red or yellow. Shorter wavelengths scatter more easily when they interact with the tiny particles in the atmosphere. So, when we look up at the sky, we see more blue light than other colours.

But guess what? The sky isn’t always blue! Sunrises and sunsets are not only beautiful but also full of science. The colours we see during these times depend on the angle of the sun and the distance its light travels through the atmosphere. The lower the sun is in the sky, the more atmosphere the light has to pass through. This causes shorter wavelengths, like blue and green, to scatter more, leaving the longer wavelengths, like red and orange, to dominate the sky. That’s why we see those breathtaking colours during sunrises and sunsets!

Clouds, pollution, and weather can also change the sky’s colour, making it look grey, white, hazy, or yellow.

Where do birds go at night?

Children might wonder where birds go when it gets dark. You can say, “Birds have special nests or cozy spots where they rest at night, just like we have our beds to sleep in.

How do plants grow?

Children might be fascinated by the growth of plants and flowers. You can say, “The plants have roots at the bottom that absorb water and minerals in the ground, and then the stem starts growing. With the help of the sunlight, the stem grows in branches. Green leaves start growing out of the branches. The five things plants need to grow are sunlight, water, minerals, and food..

Why do we have seasons?

Seasons happen because the Earth goes around the sun. The Earth travels around the sun, called an orbit, once a year or every 365 days. As the Earth orbits the sun, the amount of sunlight each location on the planet gets every day changes slightly. This change causes the seasons. When it’s closer to the sun, it’s warmer, and when it’s farther away, it’s cooler.

Where does rain come from?

Children may be curious about rain and weather. Sunlight heats up water on Earth’s surface. The heat causes the water to evaporate/dry up into the sky, or to turn into water vapor. This water vapor rises into the air and makes up clouds. As the water vapor cools, it turns back into water, in the form of droplets or rain drops.

How do airplanes fly?

Little ones might be fascinated by airplanes in the sky. “Airplanes have special wings that help lift them into the air. When they move forward, the air goes over and under the wings, which creates lift and allows the airplane to fly.”

If they have follow-up questions, we liked the answers from Britannica Kids.

Growing up

Why do I have to go to bed early?

Children may question bedtime rules. You can say, “Going to bed early helps our bodies and minds rest and get ready for a new day of fun and learning.”

Why do I have to eat vegetables? 

Answer with something like, “Vegetables have special nutrients that help our bodies grow strong and healthy. They are like superhero foods for our bodies! We need a variety of food that have different types of nutrients so our bodies can get everything they need to be the best they can be.

How come your body doesn’t look like mine?

We bet you thought the puberty question would come later! But nope, your child has noticed there’s a slight difference between their bodies and their parents’ bodies. We know this can feel awkward to answer, but your child doesn’t understand why it could be hard for their parents to explain, so use proper words and keep it simple.

  • Why do you have hair down there? Getting hair under your arms and on your private parts is a normal part of growing up for boys and girls.
  • What are those bumps on mummy’s chest? They’re called breasts and they come in all different sizes. They can make milk when mummies have babies in their bellies and can feed babies while they’re little.

It’s okay not to have all the answers, and it’s perfectly fine to keep explanations simple and age-appropriate. If you don’t have the answers, you can look it up together. By embracing your child’s questions and engaging in open conversations, you’re nurturing their curiosity and building a strong foundation for their learning journey. Be sure to let your lead educator know you’re having these conversations at home. Your child is likely not the only one wondering some of these questions, and your educators can find ways to help them understand life’s curiosities!

Do you have a child who’s struggling with separation anxiety, especially at when being dropped off at school or early education? Perhaps they’re going through a developmental milestone that makes them need Mum or Dad a bit more than before. This is common starting around six months of age, peaks at 14-18 months, then can happen again when your child hits preschool and school-age. Or maybe your child is new to our service or has recently transitioned studios. The transition from home to early education is a milestone for both children and families.  Separation anxiety can even happen for children who’ve been in Little Scholars for a while. It can be hard moving into a new studio where she or he doesn’t yet know new routines, where things are kept and spending time with different educators with different ways of doing things can be overwhelming for the child. This is all normal.

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If you’re at a loss on how to make things easier on your little one, and yourself, we have some ideas.

Our tips for drop-off

  1. Don’t sneak away 🏃‍♂️ We know you’re trying to prevent tears, but sneaking away creates anxiety and mistrust for your child
  2. Keep goodbyes short 🙋‍♀️ There’s a saying that goes, ‘quick goodbyes make for dry eyes’
  3. Be aware of your own emotions 😭 🙅‍♂️ – When you’re calm and confident, that tells your child that s/he is safe. Young children rely on co-regulation to manage their emotions.

Acknowledge and validate their feelings by saying something like “I know goodbyes can be hard, but I always come back. I will see you later today. I love you.” Give a big hug, a smile and a wink.

Talk it out

Then at home, if your child is old enough, have a chat about why she/he is having a hard time at drop-off, and think about what you can do to alleviate it. Ask him or her what make things easier. Perhaps it’s including a comfort toy, blanket or family photo. Maybe you each have a special bracelet that you can touch when you’re missing each other. Make a plan for something special together when you pick him or her up, like a walk or playing a game together, which will give your child something to look forward to through the day.

Prepare in advance

If you’re preparing your child to go to early education or school, it’s best they understand what their days will look like. So the conversation could look something like ‘we’ll all have breakfast together and get ready for the day. Then we’ll get in the car and first we’ll stop at Little Scholars. I’ll walk you in, give you a big hug, and you’ll go off to have a day of play while I go to work. When I finish work, I’ll jump in the car and come right over to pick you up, then we’ll go _____” These conversations may have to happen several times for it to sink in.

Also, if you’re pondering signing your child up for early education, this is why we offer play dates to children newly enroled but yet to start – this allows them to begin to become familiar with their new educators and studios.

Remember, you can always chat with your educator or campus manager about how to help. We’re always available, and we’ve been through this before, we can offer ideas or reassurances everyone will be OK!

We also know separation anxiety can be a two-way street, especially for new parents, or returning to work after maternity leave. Don’t forget we have our Little Scholars app so you can see pictures of your child, and be reassured that if there were tears from your child, they likely didn’t last long and they’re busy having fun and learning while you’re at work.

Related links:

Teaching a small child self-respect, to find and use his or her own voice can be one of the most valuable lessons you share as a parent or special adult in that child’s life. When children can speak up for themselves, this will help them in every aspect of their lives, for the rest of their lives. Having the ability to use their voices, they’re able to command respect, protect their feelings and their bodies, and increase their confidence in their ideas, their relationships and in various social settings. There are several facets to teaching a child to use his or her voice.

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Examples of self-respect for children

Allow your child to make choices about his or her body. You can start by allowing them choices on what to wear, and checking with them if it’s ok to help them dress or undress. This is the beginning of teaching your child about consent, even if he or she is a baby. Loved ones can also model consent by asking, ‘May I pick you up?’ or ‘May I give you a hug?’ and in the bath or nappy changes, asking permission before you clean or wipe your child in private places. Those conversations can lead to discussions about appropriate versus inappropriate touching, and even little children should expect to be asked permission from anyone who comes into contact with them. Even if they’re your children and you’ve been looking after them literally since day one, you’re showing them you respect their body by asking first.

Respect for their bodies

This is the same in our campuses. It’s our policy to maintain the rights and dignity of the children, that includes in terms of nappy changing and toileting, so we try to provide privacy where possible from everyone in our campuses. Our educators are all trained in respectful care, and host not-for-profit visitors such as Bravehearts, who teach children about advocating for body safety, yes and no feelings, the difference between parents, trusted adults like doctors or educators looking after their bodies, versus strangers and unsafe adults.

We recommend teaching children young the proper names for their body parts and use them any time you are talking about them. When they’re first learning to speak, this can be a great bathtime conversation as you point out the names of various body parts. Keep any cringing when talking about body parts to yourself. The sexualised nature of private body parts — giggling or shame when talking about them — that’s adult stuff that we don’t need to put onto children.

“I teach my children “Your body belongs to you and you only” as well as naming their correct private parts which are theirs only,” says Holly, a lead educator in the Senior Kindy studio at our Staplyton campus. “Children really need to be educated about body awareness/safety.”

Why is teaching them proper names so important? Getting used to these conversations young can reduce embarrassment, something unnecessarily expressed by many adults and in previous generations, and establish ongoing communications with children about sex/sexuality. But most importantly, this educates and empowers little ones about their body safety, and research shows this could protect them from predators.

Explain to your child that nobody is allowed to touch our private parts unless it’s for hygiene or medical reasons and that people who have to come in contact with your child’s private areas have to ask permission first. But while there’s no shame in their bodies, they should also know there are parts of the body that are private and have it explained to them those parts are just for them.

Holly says additionally, they have conversations with the children with scenarios about stranger danger and the steps they need to remember in case anything like that happens. They also have conversations about who the children name as their ‘safe people’.

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Respect for children in public

There are lots of ways to show children respect, and it’s important when you expect them to respect others. Try to refrain from talking about your child, especially in front of them, to others, or be mindful of what you do share. This shows your child you respect his or her privacy. You may remember a time when you were younger when a parent or someone you loved shared a story that embarrassed you – even as an adult, you remember. Your child could too. Before you tell a story, ask yourself how they’d feel about you telling it.

In our increasingly digital world, this also goes for sharing everything about them on social media. Once it’s online, it’s there forever. Even if it in theory disappears after 24 hours, screenshots can be taken. That also goes for other people’s children – other parents may not want them on social media, so keep online sharing to your own children. Consider what you are posting, would your child want to have a picture for the world to see of themselves on the potty or with a bare bottom when they’re older? Keep in mind others may Google them in the future; potential and current employers, associates, and most scarily, predators.

Another way you can show your child respect is by discussing inappropriate behaviour away from public settings. Keep important conversations for a time when you can discuss them privately. You may think embarrassing them by calling their actions out in public might stop them from doing it again, but this will likely backfire. You can say in public something like ‘We will have an important talk about this later.’ and stick to that. But highlighting negative behaviours in public only causes humiliation and shame, and no one needs to feel that way.

Respect for their physical boundaries

Don’t force children to hug or kiss anyone, even family. You could ask, for example, how they’d like to say greet people in each social situation.

“I offer children the choice of a hug, holding hands or sitting together as an alternative to allow them to make the choice. When saying hello or goodbye they can say just the words, high five, fist bump or hug, but it is always up to them,” says Claire, an educator from our Nerang campus. These options still teach them to be polite if that’s important to you, but shows them how they can do it within their comfort level and respects their physical boundaries.

Respect by owning up to mistakes

Parents often focus on teaching children to be respectful, such as learning to apologise when in the wrong, but teaching children to just say ‘sorry’ versus understanding how their actions actually affect others and learning to own their actions is a better way to develop their emotional maturity. By asking the children questions such as ‘how do you think your sister felt when you hit her?’ or ‘how were you feeling when you broke that toy?’ and ‘what would you like people to do if they recognise they made you feel sad?’ will get them to begin to understand owning up to their mistakes and learning to say sorry meaningfully.

This is also where modelling comes in. It’s important to apologise to your child when you make a mistake. They learn from you, and by saying you’re sorry sincerely shows children that no one is perfect, that everyone makes mistakes, but it’s how we respond to them that counts. This could be done in other ways, rather than an adult yelling when angry, but by speaking kindly and respectfully to them, even when it’s difficult to, or if you’re setting a limit, children begin to understand their actions have consequences and can respond to situations differently in future.

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Respect their voice

Let your child answer for themselves. Refrain from answering questions directed at them. If they don’t want to answer, don’t make a big deal about it.

“We use language to acknowledge how children feel for example, ‘I can see that you are upset, how can I help you?’” says Claire. “We use this language to help children to speak for themselves every day so it becomes second nature to them.”

We guide our educators to tune in to the behaviours, actions and emotions of the child to identify what they may be trying to communicate.

“Through listening to gestures cues, along with words, shows respect and ensures we are responsive to children and value their rights,” says Susan Cooper, group pedagogical leader for Little Scholars. “It is important for early childhood educators to validate what the children may be feeling and this is done by our educators asking the child about their emotions and setting spaces and environments where the children feel safe and secure to express their feelings comfortably.”

Tell them it’s OK to say ‘no’ if they feel unsafe or unsure. This teaches children and young people that it is OK to stand up for themselves and to be assertive if something doesn’t feel right. Following this, they should know that nothing is so ‘yucky’ that they can’t tell someone they trust about it. Hopefully, this is something your child never has to deal with, but if they’re asked to keep something secret that hurts them or makes them uncomfortable, then by talking to them about situations like this, they’ll speak up straight away and not worry about getting in trouble by breaking a ‘secret’. Teach them the difference between secrets, privacy, and surprises.

Here’s an explanation of the differences. A surprise is something that should be fun, happy, and temporary. Secrets that are meant to be kept for a long time are usually meant to protect someone or keep someone from getting in trouble. Although we want children to be wary of secrets (therefore, keep language in mind) —and especially to come to us when they have an unsafe secret—they also need to learn that some things should be kept private. Privacy isn’t about keeping someone from getting in trouble; it’s about respecting a person’s personal information.

Finally, please feel free to talk to your educators or campus managers about how they manage any of these conversations and talk to them about how you prefer it handled. We want your children and your family to feel respected and heard, safe and happy in our care, and if we can help with those conversations, we’d like to. These are also conversations you should have with extended family or people who will be in your child’s life.

Most importantly, model the person you want them to become. Children will remember their biggest role models their entire lives, so being a respectful, caring, supportive, confident adult influence will teach children the best person he or she can become. By showing them the respect they deserve and teaching them about self-respect, we’re setting them up for their future. Self-respecting and resilient children who spend time in positive, affectionate and supportive environments, led by clear and reasonable guidelines, and have healthy connections to parents and other adults, grow to be adults with the ability to bounce back from challenging situations their entire lives. And, all of the ways you show respect for children teaches them how they should show respect for others.

In today’s fast-paced world, science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) are the driving forces behind innovation and progress. To equip the next generation with the skills they need to thrive in this exciting landscape, we have to recognise the incredible impact of early childhood education. A recent study conducted by researchers at the University of California Irvine has revealed the transformative power of high-quality early childhood education and care (ECEC) in nurturing children’s STEM achievements throughout their educational journey.

The study’s findings are both exhilarating and promising. They show that children who have access to top-notch ECEC before starting school are more likely to excel in STEM subjects as they progress into high school. This underscores the vital role of investing in early education and providing children with the necessary tools and support to build a strong educational foundation.

The Secret Ingredients: Curiosity and Care

The researchers identified two key factors that contribute to the success of early childhood education in fostering STEM abilities. Firstly, igniting children’s curiosity through cognitive stimulation has a profound impact on their problem-solving skills and overall STEM performance. Early childhood educators who create engaging learning environments and incorporate hands-on experiences play a pivotal role in nurturing children’s passion for STEM. Secondly, the study emphasised the crucial role of educator sensitivity and responsiveness. When educators demonstrate empathy, attentiveness, and genuine care for children’s needs, it not only supports their overall development but also significantly influences their STEM achievements. The emotional connection established during these early years lays the foundation for children’s social-emotional skills, which are closely intertwined with cognitive development.

Promoting STEM Equity and Inclusion

Interestingly, the study also revealed that sensitive and responsive caregiving in early childhood has an even greater impact on STEM performance for children from low-income families compared to their peers from higher-income backgrounds. This finding highlights the importance of addressing equity in early education and ensuring that all children, regardless of their socioeconomic status, have equal access to high-quality early learning that fosters STEM engagement. Speaking of STEM, did you know that Little Scholars offers an exciting STEM program for our kindergarten children? In collaboration with our friends at Lab Kids, we provide an incredible educational STEM program that aligns with the Early Years Learning Framework and the Australian National Curriculum. From exploring motion and states of matter to learning about light, sound, and chemical reactions, our curious little scholars embark on an exciting journey of STEM discovery!

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Finally, the University of California Irvine study reinforces the immense value of early childhood education in nurturing STEM success. By providing high-quality early learning that fosters curiosity, responsive caregiving, and an inclusive learning environment, we begin to realise the full potential of our Little Scholars.  Book a tour at Little Scholars.

When you think of childcare, you might not necessarily think of early education, but that’s precisely what Little Scholars is doing; providing high calibre early education for the critical first five years of a child’s life, and at the same time, changing society’s perception of what childcare, or early education, is.

Little Scholars has always considered itself as a leader in the sector, but we elevated the quality of education with the addition of Susan Cooper, our group pedagogical leader one year ago.

Pedagogy is a form of teaching strategies in the practice of educating.  It’s the techniques, strategies and approach taken by educators to let learning and development to take place. Pedagogy refers to the interactive process between the educator, the learner and the learning environment and provides reason to the design of learning spaces, materials, and resources on offer. Pedagogical leadership supports educators in relating their pedagogy to content knowledge and educational theories.

My aim is to support educators in entering the child’s world, enabling them to reflect on their practices and build capacity to support the child’s development.

– Susan Cooper, group pedagogical leader for Little Scholars

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One year of pedagogical leadership

In the year since Susan joined us, she’s gone above and beyond to support our educators. Through her pedagogical leadership, Little Scholars has raised the benchmark of its overall quality of teaching, and recognises that providing children with strong foundations for ongoing learning and development is underpinned by a strong pedagogical practice. She inspires educators to employ new approaches to their teaching against up-to-date research, has helped translate the Little Scholars values and principles into practice and has without a doubt increased the quality of experiences and interactions across our campuses.

But the role was daunting at first, according to Susan.

“Having come with approximately 16 years’ experience in having been in varied roles across the sector within early childhood, my love of sharing knowledge and inspiring others drew me to apply to this role,” Susan says. “My experience in playwork allows me to see the true value in children’s play, the need to create spaces and support the learning and approach to working with children to support and facilitate play in its true essence. What really resonated with The Scholars Group and my own personal values and beliefs, was placing children as the core and central to all that we do.

“I see myself as an advocate for children’s rights, being the voice for many and striving to excel toward quality outcomes.”

Mentorship and guidance

The group pedagogical role is focused on mentoring and guiding teams in their practices and challenging new ways of working, to support innovative curriculum ideas, while supporting children’s learning across all Little Scholars campuses.

“I found the team to be so supportive and receptive to change, which has allowed me to share my vision, passion, and skillset,” Susan says.

With Susan’s support, our Deception Bay campus was rated exceeding against the National Quality Standards (NQS) in late 2022. A thrilling result, but not without a lot of preparation. Susan guided Nat, the campus manager, and her team, in the Assessment and Rating Process.

“It was critical that the team worked collaboratively toward a shared goal. This involved building strong relations with the team to build trust and mutual respect. This partnership saw me engage with all stakeholders, while we worked toward targeted goals and worked through evidence-based data to the exceeding themes,” Susan says.


Strong knowledge of theory and pedagogy underpinned the quality outcomes, according to Susan. Another great achievement Susan says, was the team being ranked 3rd out of 3,126 early learning centres across the state.

“My role is to take an active role in the development of pedagogy in the early childhood context. I primarily work alongside teams, across our 13 campuses to provide the opportunity to share pedagogical practice, leading knowledge to research and child development,” Susan says. “Not only does pedagogy inform direct work of teaching, but also the more indirect work of leadership. This develops a community of practice, where professional educators can share ideas and knowledge and engage in peer learning.”

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“Little Scholars has always been a leader in our field, due to our commitment and passion to the early years. With the addition of our Group Pedagogical Leader, the effectiveness of our educational program and practice has been elevated to a level we didn’t think was possible,” says Jae Fraser, founder of Little Scholars.

“In Susan’s role she is supporting and mentoring the team to influence children’s learning by fostering family engagement, ensuring fidelity to the Little Scholars curricular philosophy, using data to evaluate the effectiveness of our learning program, and exceeding standards established to optimise learning effective environments,” says Jae. “We couldn’t be happier with the results of this new role just after one year, and we are so excited to see the future.”

Susan’s goals for her role are simple: to continue to strive toward excellence, raising the benchmark in early childhood and placing children at the forefront of everything Little Scholars does.

“I take great pride in the relationships I’ve developed, the partnerships I have established, creating a safe space for the children and educators I work with,” Susan says reflecting on the past year. “Our impact is significant, and I’m thrilled to witness the progress in both the children and educators. I feel grateful to be part of such meaningful work, knowing that we’re making a real difference in the lives of these children.”

We have the very best early education educators at Little Scholars School of Early Learning. It’s our great honour to present our 2023 Little Scholars Employee Award winners. 🎖

These outstanding recipients, through some challenging times, have demonstrated their dedication, commitment and have gone above and beyond this year with fellow educators, children, and parents. Time and time again they show us, their peers and the families who they have the privilege of looking after their enthusiasm, their eagerness to learn and grow, and their unfaltering dedication to educating and developing small humans.


Ella Stanton

Inspire – Little Scholars Pillar Award 2023
Learn more about Ella

How long have you been an educator, Ella?
I have been an educator for four years now, and with Little Scholars since my placement when I began my certificate 3 at TAFE.

How did you start your career?
I had been looking at Little Scholars as a centre for my daughter since I was pregnant and fell in love with it from the get-go. Since beginning to have my daughter at the centre, I saw the love and care that the educators gave the children. Working with children had always been on my agenda as I used to study to be a music teacher and knew I could do so much more as an early childhood educator to assist the children in excelling in all areas before beginning “big school.”

What did being recognised for the inspire award mean to you?
The award completely blindsighted me as I turn up to work each day just to do my best for these little humans so to be recognised for my relationship with the children in my centre was so special to me and really instilled my role within the company and the importance I hold alongside my other educators in this industry.

Ella’s nomination
Ella is an educator with the Little Scholars Deception Bay campus, which recently was assessed Exceeding under the National Quality Framework for Early Childhood Education and Care.

In Ella’s nomination to us, it said, “Ella is an inspiration for all in the Deception Bay community. We had some outstanding feedback from the department through our assessment and rating process. Before the process even started, the assessor had mentioned the passion and authenticity observed in Ella’s interactions with our children, families and community. In the assessor’s words – ‘she could sit and watch Ella all day long.’ From one of Ella’s colleagues, ‘the educator she is, is who I aspire to be in my future teaching career. She is strong, but also so caring to each individual child.’

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Ellissa Gunn

Learn – Little Scholars Pillar Award 2023
Learn more about Ellissa

Ellissa is a lead educator at our Ormeau Village campus. She was named winner of the Pillar Award in the Learn category because she stepped up to become a lead educator, and we’re told she is always happy to keep learning from her peers and further her education in the sector.

How long have you been an educator?
I’ve been an educator since I was 16, but even younger I was at my mum’s centre helping out wherever I could.

How long have you been with Little Scholars?
I’ve been with Little Scholars for about 18 months, since Ormeau Village opened.

What made you want to become an educator?
I think just having the inspiration of my mum being in that environment, seeing what she does, seeing how she helped shape the children, it made me want to do it as well. Just seeing how I could help children as well.

What did winning the award mean to you?
I’m always trying my absolute best to do the best possible work I can do, so it meant that someone else was seeing that, that it was appreciated. It’s made it feel worth it!

What do you like about working with Little Scholars?
Just the support and having the creative freedom to do things that I couldn’t do at other places. Like taking them on Bush Kinder adventures and all these other fun things they get to do that they may not have the opportunity to do anywhere else. And everyone at head office as well, like Susan, Mel and Jae-them being so active in our centre, that’s something I really appreciate as well.

On the quick move from an assistant educator to lead educator, Ellissa says:
The support I had helped me to grow so fast, because if I was somewhere else and didn’t have the support, I probably wouldn’t have become lead, but the support from everyone about what I could do, what I would have to do, really helped when I stepped up.

Ellissa is finishing up her studies with her Cert III, then she’ll be moving onto her Graduate Diploma.
From the award submission: Ellissa has stepped up into her Lead role during last year and we have watched her grow from assistant to well-deserved Lead and take charge in her space, leading her colleagues while taking feedback on board and striving to excel.

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Jackie Lowe

Contribute – Little Scholars Pillar Award 2023
Learn more about Jackie

How long have you been in educator?
I’ve been an educator on and off for about 20 years. I’ve been with Little Scholars for a year now.

Hey that’s pretty good to get recognised in your first year!

I know it was so good!

What’s made you want to become an educator?
Just from being young and starting off babysitting, which I loved, and then Year 12 back then we had work experience and that was just going to a centre and from that first day I knew what I wanted to do. I just fell in love with it, and from then it was my goal to finish school and become an early childhood teacher

What is it now, 20 years on, that you still love about working in this sector?
It’s just the love of being around children, i’m just being with a team of educators, and I missed that like when I went away from it and did my business, I just missed it so much. It’s just working children just gives me so much joy.

All my children are older, are grown up, and it was just not a grandmother yet or anything it was just that feeling, it just going back into a centre and it just makes me so happy.

You won the Pillar Award for ‘contribute’ and you’re known as a ‘jack of all trades’, what do you do?
No job is too big or too small! I do the bus, I’m the after-school care educator, I can work in the kitchen, I can listen to other team members, there’s nothing that I won’t try! That’s just who I am, when I’m needed, I’ll do anything to help the team out.

Especially your first year at Little Scholars, what did winning an award mean to you?
My goodness, it was just so good, firstly I was surprised, but it was then good to know that the little things that I’m doing are noticed, I felt like, ‘Wow I am noticed!’ It just made me feel so happy knowing that all the jobs that I am doing people have recognised it, so yeah so then makes you feel like you are doing a great job!

I love working for Little Scholars. It’s an amazing company, I’ve worked with the other centres before, Little Scholars is just amazing and I’m happy to be there and helping out.

In Jackie’s nomination, campus manager Elise said, ‘Jackie is our jack of all trades! Jackie fits many hats at our campus. From driving the bus to being in the studios to going on vacation care, she wears her many hats with a smile on her face. Her bubbly nature and willingness to help the team wherever needed is admirable. We appreciate her dedication and consistent contribution to the campus.

Aleisha Relph

Aleisha Relph

Grow – Little Scholars Pillar Award 2023
Learn more about Aleisha

Ellissa is a lead educator at our Ormeau Village campus. She was named winner of the Pillar Award in the Learn category because she stepped up to become a lead educator, and we’re told she is always happy to keep learning from her peers and further her education in the sector.

How long have you been an educator?
I’ve been an educator since I was 16, but even younger I was at my mum’s centre helping out wherever I could.

How long have you been with Little Scholars?
I’ve been with Little Scholars for about 18 months, since Ormeau Village opened.

What made you want to become an educator?
I think just having the inspiration of my mum being in that environment, seeing what she does, seeing how she helped shape the children, it made me want to do it as well. Just seeing how I could help children as well.

What did winning the award mean to you?
I’m always trying my absolute best to do the best possible work I can do, so it meant that someone else was seeing that, that it was appreciated. It’s made it feel worth it!

What do you like about working with Little Scholars?
Just the support and having the creative freedom to do things that I couldn’t do at other places. Like taking them on Bush Kinder adventures and all these other fun things they get to do that they may not have the opportunity to do anywhere else. And everyone at head office as well, like Susan, Mel and Jae-them being so active in our centre, that’s something I really appreciate as well.

On the quick move from an assistant educator to lead educator, Ellissa says:
The support I had helped me to grow so fast, because if I was somewhere else and didn’t have the support, I probably wouldn’t have become lead, but the support from everyone about what I could do, what I would have to do, really helped when I stepped up.

Ellissa is finishing up her studies with her Cert III, then she’ll be moving onto her Graduate Diploma.
From the award submission: Ellissa has stepped up into her Lead role during last year and we have watched her grow from assistant to well-deserved Lead and take charge in her space, leading her colleagues while taking feedback on board and striving to excel.

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Rachel Ferguson

Little Scholars Ashmore Campus
Educator of the year – Campus Managers Choice

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Leilani Fulton

Little Scholars Ashmore Campus
Educator of the year – Peer Choice

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Felicity Traynor

Little Scholars Burleigh Campus
Educator of the year – Campus Manager Choice

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Jodie Dzanir

Little Scholars Burleigh Campus
Educator of the year – Peer Choice

Deception Bay

Hayley Yates

Little Scholars Deception Bay Campus
Educator of the year – Campus Manager Choice

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Ashley Newett

Little Scholars Deception Bay Campus
Educator of the year – Peer Choice

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Maria Fierro

Little Scholars George St Campus
Educator of the year – Campus Manager Choice

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Amanda Fitisemanu

Little Scholars George St Campus
Educator of the year – Peer Choice

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Natalee Rixon

Little Scholars Nerang Campus
Educator of the year – Campus Managers Choice

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Jekoba Lino

Little Scholars Nerang Campus
Educator of the year – Campus Manager Choice


Mahtika Atherton

Little Scholars Ormeau Campus
Educator of the year – Campus Manager Choice

Ormeau (2)

Skye Bassett

Little Scholars Ormeau Campus
Educator of the year – Peer Choice

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Kim Hall

Little Scholars Ormeau 2 Campus
Educator of the year – Campus Manager Choice

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Sheridan Palmer

Little Scholars Ormeau 2 Campus
Educator of the year – Peer Choice

Ormeau Village (2)

Shaylee Campbell

Little Scholars Ormeau Village Campus
Educator of the year – Campus Manager Choice

Ormeau Village

Amanda Olsen

Little Scholars Ormeau Village Campus
Educator of the year – Peer Choice


Melina Solway

Little Scholars Redland Bay South Campus
Educator of the year – Campus Managers Choice

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Holly Hall

Little Scholars Redland Bay South Campus
Educator of the year – Peer Choice

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Lauren Bachmann

Little Scholars Redland Bay Campus
Educator of the year – Campus Manager Choice

Redland Bay

Rachel Clough

Little Scholars Redland Bay Campus
Educator of the year – Peer Choice

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Jodie Gray

Little Scholars Pacific Pines Campus
Educator of the year – Campus Manager Choice

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Brooke Gilbert

Little Scholars Pacific Pines Campus
Educator of the year – Peer Choice


Gordon Payne

Little Scholars Stapylton Campus
Educator of the year – Campus Manager Choice


Teagan Mitchell

Little Scholars Stapylton Campus
Educator of the year – Peer Choice

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Anelle Britz

Little Scholars Yatala Campus
Educator of the year – Campus Manager Choice

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Tori Banks

Little Scholars Yatala Campus
Educator of the year – Peer Choice

Come and see the Little Scholars difference

Let us hold your hand and help looking for a child care centre. Leave your details with us and we’ll be in contact to arrange a time for a ‘Campus Tour’ and we will answer any questions you might have!