We are excited to welcome Susan Cooper, our new group Pedagogical Leader for Little Scholars School of Early Learning.


Susan will support educators to guide and influence children’s love of learning by fostering family engagement, ensuring fidelity to Little Scholars curricular philosophy, using data to evaluate the effectiveness of the learning program, and ensure we are exceeding standards to optimise learning environments and prepare children for successful futures.

Through pedagogical leadership, Susan hopes to raise the benchmark to overall quality of teaching and recognises that providing children with strong foundations for ongoing learning and development is underpinned by a strong pedagogical practice.

Pedagogy is a form of teaching strategies in the practice of educating. It is the techniques, strategies and approach taken by educators to let learning and development to take place. Pedagogy refers to the interactive process between the teacher, 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.

Susan’s primary role will be to provide leadership to pedagogy and support educators in relating their pedagogy to content knowledge and educational theories. Susan will be working across the 13 Little Scholars Early Learning Campuses mentoring and coaching our educational leaders to implement curriculum delivery. Susan will inspire educators to employ new approaches to their teaching against up-to-date research, which will shape the quality of experiences and interactions across our campuses.

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Susan has worked in the Early Childhood Sector for more than 16 years and has extensive knowledge in the field of Pedagogical Practices. Having worked in many fields within the Education sector, from operating a family day care, to being an educator within long day care sector as well as outside school hour care services, through to management and leadership.

“To take on this role is exciting as I can share my passion, influencing pedagogy approaches and practices and place emphasis on children’s play to promote continuous child development and quality outcomes for children,” she says.

Susan is passionate about advocating for children’s rights and is a firm believer of a child-centred approach and that the quality of interactions between adults and children play a fundamental role in stimulating early learning.

According to Jae Fraser, founder of Little Scholars School of Early Learning, pedagogical leadership is about leading or guiding pedagogical practice, supporting Little Scholars educators in their work with children and families, and translating the Little Scholars values and principles into practice.

What Is After School Restraint Collapse?

Why do our children sometimes express some big bursts of negative moods after they come home from a seemingly fun day at childcare? This could be due to after school restraint collapse. Meanwhile, you expect them to come home happy and excited to tell you all about their day of crafts, books, playtime and outings, after all, you often get reports that your child was an angel all day. But when he or she comes home, that angel seems to have taken those wings and flown away, being replaced with something not so angelic.

Some child experts call it ‘after school restraint collapse’, and it seems to happen because children hold it together all day in childcare. Children use a lot of energy being well-behaved, following direction, sitting still, retaining information, and all of this without their primary attachment figures, their parents/caregivers. It can also simply be that some children meltdown because they are tired or overstimulated. Wanting to learn more about Little Scholars and how we deal with these big emotions? Contact us today.

Why Do Children Wait Until They Are Home?

This leaves your child’s best opportunity to release their emotions when they get to a safe place, their home. Those emotions can take the shape of crying fits, whining, screaming, disrespect or physically acting out to parents or siblings.

“I always say to parents, ‘do you have a best friend, someone you let all your emotions out when you see them? You are this to your child and when they see you after a big, busy day at Kindy, it all comes out,’” says Libby Kissell, a lead educator with our Redland Bay South campus.

“Rest assured they had an amazing day, but they let it all out when they see you because YOU are their person, their safe zone.”

Young children haven’t yet developed the essential brain wiring or had the necessary life experience to be able to calm themselves down from big feeling states, which is why they experience such frequent meltdowns. They know they can do this at home because they’re in a place where they’re loved and supported.

Little Scholars Can Support You With After School Restraint Collapse

Your child is loved and supported by our team at Little Scholars, talk to us if you’re struggling and we can think and discuss how to make things easier for your little one.

“As an adult, we come home from a big day at work and we just want time to ourselves to zone out and not have to think,” says Holly Medbury, an educator from our Stapylton campus.

“We might even get annoyed if people want our attention, kids feel the same, but often have difficulty expressing it. Children are little people with big emotions, they too need some time to ‘chill out’ or a friend to be there and hug, with no expectations. It’s just reassurance for parents out there that they are doing an amazing job and providing useful strategies to help children cope with their big emotions.”

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5 Tips For Parents Dealing With After School Restraint Collapse

1. Comforting Method

You can send them to their centre with a comfort toy or blanket that they can reach for when they need it. You could also send them with a picture of their family, or a note in their bag telling them how proud you are of them and how much you love them

2. Spending A Few More Minutes Before School

Spend an extra five to 10 minutes with them before they start their day at Little Scholars. Just a few connected minutes with your child can make a significant difference in their day

3. Future Planning For After School

Have a conversation with them on the way to childcare or when you get to their centre that focuses on what they can look forward to after you pick them up later, maybe that conversation looks like, ‘When I come to get you, would you like to go to the park or go pick out some new books to read at the library?’

4. Bring A Snack After School

Bring a snack for the trip home, sometimes hunger can be distracting for them and can stir up emotions.

5. Listen To Your Children’s Needs

When you pick them up, maybe all they need is a big reassuring hug. Maybe they need quiet. Maybe they’d like to tune out to some music they enjoy for a few minutes. Maybe they need to relax on a park bench or burn some energy at the playground. Follow their lead and take some time before asking questions about their day.

Again, feel free to talk to your educators about what’s happening at home. We have an open-door policy and we’re here for you. Your child’s educators, after spending time with your little one, may have specific ideas on how to help your child or can try to dedicate some quality time with your child to help them relax and feel cared for.

By understanding a little better why there are strong feelings coming from your child after a day of childcare, you are better armed to handle after school restraint collapse or even moderate reactions before their start.

For more information:

Are you a parent racking your brain trying to figure out how to get your little one to stop hitting, biting, or pushing other people?

The good news is, it’s really common. The bad news for you is, it’s still your child doing it and you have to deal with it.

For babies, this is a way to explore the world through cause and effect. Besides teething, babies bite to see what you’ll do. If you laugh, they might try it again to get the same reaction. If you get mad, that baby might be fascinated by your reaction, not quite understanding facial reactions and meaning.

For toddlers, they may have seen other children do it. They might do it because they’re angry, upset, hurt or excited and don’t have the means to express it differently.

Both babies and toddlers could be pushing, biting or hitting because they feel overwhelmed, bored, overtired or hungry.

No matter why your child is doing it, it can be frustrating and embarrassing for parents. But know that it’s not about you. It’s not your failure as a parent. When we think our child’s behaviour with us is a reflection on ourselves, we bring a lot of baggage with our response.

Now’s the time to manage it calmly.

“I like to explain to parents that these kinds of behaviours aren’t usually appropriate, but are age-appropriate and can come from a place of frustration in children,’ says Claire, an educator at our Nerang Campus.

“Biting is common around the age where children are beginning to learn how to talk and can’t quite get the words out and are frustrated.”

It is important to ensure when you are guiding a child’s behaviour to label the behaviour and not the child, Claire says. Telling them they’re being bad or naughty isn’t effective, and it isn’t likely to change the behaviour. Remember, every child is good. They are learning everything, including regulating and dealing with emotions and impulse control.

Claire also recommends not projecting your own feelings about your child’s negative behaviour. For example, try not to make statements like ‘Stop it, you’re making Mummy sad’ or ‘Look what you did!’ Try to remember that your child is learning empathy, so putting shame or guilt on their actions won’t fix the negative actions.

So how do you respond?

Stay calm. Your emotions can set the tone for how to bring down a heightened moment. By yelling or immediately punishing, you’re giving that undesirable behaviour attention. It’s also modelling explosive reactions, like what you as a parent are trying to adjust.

A calm, firm response could look like ‘Hitting/Biting/Pushing is never OK. I won’t let you hurt your brother.’ If the behaviour continues, a follow-up ‘I’ll move your brother over here to keep everyone safe.’

This sets and actions the boundary for behaviour. Once everyone is calmed down, that’s a better opportunity to teach coping skills, according to Sarah, an educator in our Senior Kindy studio from Deception Bay.

“Calm approach, sometimes for the older children, they need that time to themselves let them have their rage in a safe way, of course. There is no point in trying to get them to calm down when they are in the state they are in. It’s best to wait and then talk to them once they are ready,” she says.

Understanding those emotions

If you feel your child is old enough to have a conversation about what happened, you could follow with, ‘You seem to have a hard time not pushing, I wonder why that is?’ If they tell you what/who is bothering them, you could tell/make up a similar story and tell them how you handled it. By modelling a response to a negative feeling, parents can help children understand and regulate their emotions.

Brooke, a Schoolies educator also at our Deception Bay campus also suggests asking the child what they need in that time can help.

“Every child is different and an approach that will work with one might not necessarily work for another or might not work every time which makes things difficult,” Brooke says. “I feel like asking the children what they need in that time is a big thing in diffusing a situation, because some children could want the space, where others may need a hug to feel safe and secure.”

Hayley, an educator also at Deception Bay in our toddler studio, agrees how the situation is dealt with is not a one-size-fits-all approach.

“I would say it would depend on the situation, age group and other factors,” Hayley says. “If it’s a child that’s not going to stop, I would then definitely redirect either to a different activity or to someone that they feel more comfortable with. For example, say it’s a child from the Senior Kindy room who’s just moved up to the Kindergarten room, you could ask them, ‘hey would you like to go see (previous educator)?’ if they say yes, it removes them from the situation, and it’s the child’s choice too.”

“I also like to give them a choice when redirecting so, ‘hey I know you’re frustrated, would you like to go run outside or do you want to do some painting?”

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Helping to recognise others have feelings

Some experts also recommend trying to fight the impulse to force your child to apologise. Children need to focus on learning to regulate those emotions, if you’re asking more of the child by forcing an apology, it’s likely to make them more frustrated or ashamed, and they won’t do what you’re asking, and certainly won’t feel like they’re being seen. They will learn apologies in time, but we don’t want them to think ‘when I’m sad I should say sorry’ but rather ‘when I’m sad I should think about what made me sad, take deep breaths, count to 10.’

However, it’s still important for your child to understand that other people have feelings too, so you could say, rather than forcing an apology, ‘Let’s see how we can make him feel better.” By involving your child in the resolution rather than ordering them to do something, you’ll likely see better results.

Focusing on the positive behaviours

“Praise your children when they are doing something positive, even on the days it feels like all they have done is bite or hit,” Claire adds. “Soon enough they will be chasing the positive reinforcement and be replacing the negative behaviours with more positives.”

Guiding positive behaviour is a goal of Little Scholars by creating a safe environment for the children within our studios.

“This is guided by John Bowlby’s attachment theory,” explains Chloe, an educational lead at our Redland Bay South campus. Bowlby believed that the earliest bonds formed by children with their caregivers have a tremendous impact that continues throughout life.

“Every morning upon arrival, we create a warm welcome space for the children to be dropped off to. Once the children feel a sense of belonging within their learning environment, they are able to venture off and participate in the day’s learning.

“Respect and care are important parts of our day-to-day curriculum and is embedded in our learning by educating the children on their emotions identifying how they feel through use of conversation and cues, and guiding them in strategies that can assist with the way they are feeling,” she continues. “With these embedded practices, it helps to eliminate those rough behaviours.”

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Related topics

“ Loose parts play ” is an architectural concept from the 1970’s currently enjoying a resurgence in popularity in the early years learning curriculum framework. This development is enjoying burgeoning popularity in childcare centres and kindergartens across Australia.  Early educator are choosing to embrace ideas of empowerment, creativity and self-directed learning.  We believe that children are never too young to engage their minds through play, and we love seeing little people imagining big ideas!

What does lose parts play mean?

Loose parts play is effectively ‘junk drawer play’ but on a much larger scale. It involves all the bits and bobs and odds and ends of life that adults struggle to find multiple purposes for.Children, however, are the masters of imagination and creativity. With supervision and the slightest adult facilitation, they can turn what we would see as a pile of rubbish into a wonderland. Secret tunnels, magic portals, precious gemstones and buried treasure take their place alongside makeshift transportation, musical instruments and construction vehicles.No idea is wrong. No idea is too big or too small or out of place. Everything can shift and change and flow with the reversal of expectations and the removal of ‘rules’. It’s this very concept of a positive sense of self that links loose parts play directly to the Little Scholars philosophy of learning.

Loose parts play is a revolution for the burgeoning development of a child’s thinking processes. Our educators do not tell children ‘how’ to do things, only that they may do what they like. This means that sometimes materials are used in ways that adults would not have expected. This subversion of expectation creates a dynamic in which the children are in charge and they are permitted to let their imaginations run wild, forming a vital part of their early learning curriculum.

Learn more about Loose Parts Play by downloading this guide by the Australian Children’s Education and Care Quality Authority.

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What is used in loose parts play?

Our centres provide a wide variety of materials for loose play learning. We check every item for safety (no loose nails or splinters etc).  From there, the learning is at the direction of the child. You might find the following items in a loose parts play environment.  We encourage parents and carers to add anything they feel might be suitable for this wonderful explosion of delight and design.

  • Buckets and baskets
  • Logs, sticks, shells, seedpods, leaves and twigs
  • A variety of fabric of different colours and textures
  • Textures like gravel, stones, sand and rocks
  • Larger items like pallets, tyres, crates and boxes
  • Everyday items like balls, bands, paintbrushes and pens

Little Scholars are an innovative educational experience for children in their early years.

Contact us today to discuss your child’s enrolment. We give your child more than just supervision.

Our centres provide creative and intellectually stimulating activities for early learners of all ages.   Give your child the very best during this important developmental stage.

By The Age Of Three, It’s Already Clear – Early Learning and Care Wins For Early Childhood Development

The decision to enrol children in a reputable, high-quality childcare environment is no longer just to do with the working life of their parents. Increasingly, it’s become an active choice for fostering child development, socialisation and the gathering of real-world practical skills that will positively impact a child’s future academic pathways.

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Enhancing Child Development

Good early learning and pre-school programs encourage babies and toddlers to become active participants in the world around them. A ​kindergarten program school transition that follows a set of academic standards, supported by carefully chosen resources and highly-trained staff, has statistically demonstrated increased levels of numeracy and literacy by the time children reach formal schooling. Early childhood care that is lovingly and thoughtfully crafted to ensure best possible outcomes for children provides them with a stepping stone into their primary school education (and beyond) that may not be possible if they were taught purely in a home environment.

”{Childcare} offers long-lasting social, economic and academic benefits for kids and their parents. Studies have shown that children, including babies and infants from the ages of 6 months to 4 years, benefit from the {childcare} environment, including its quality instruction, structure and social lessons.”

6 Benefits of Daycare for Young Children, The Childcare Advantage.

Not only is child development enhanced by attending childcare but securing children into an excellent childcare and kindergarten environment can also increase the social support network for parents themselves. The ability to speak to, empathise and make connections with like-minded parents not only provides children with weekend play-date opportunities but the parents themselves are given a much-needed social lifeline.

Early Child Development Milestones Enhanced By Childcare

The Raising Children Network offers parents a glimpse at typical child development milestones. As with any resource, these should be read as a guide instead of a prescriptive map of behaviour.

Many of these milestones can be developed at a greater rate by engagement with highly trained childcare professional educators supported by an innovative and exciting early years learning program. Little Scholars prides itself on delivering the utmost care to the young people who attend its centres across South-East Queensland.

Babies will be encouraged to develop their movement, vision, speech and language and social behaviour through a gentle, compassionate early years program.

Toddlers will work on their emotional development under the watchful eye of trained educators. Their speech development, cognitive leaps and play-based learning will be encouraged through a curriculum designed to promote each child’s abilities.

Children embarking on their kindergarten program will be presented with a range of activities, including key extra-curricular involvement, that will allow them to be learners who question and interact with the world around them rather than passive engagement.

If you’d like to know more about how Little Scholars benefits child development and learning, book a tour today to see our unique curriculum in action.

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!