Childcare Conversations February 2015

Hello Everyone,

 Welcome to the first edition of Childcare Conversations for 2015. If these first few weeks are any indication, the childcare world is shaping up for a very busy year – but that’s how we like it, isn’t it? Over the holiday period, I had time to look at some of the early education and care networking sites – and found it quite exciting to see how many educators share ideas and support one another.   As usual, Childcare Conversations covers a variety of topics.   Enjoy.

February 2015

Awe and Wonder

This week I have been fortunate to be working at Bargara near Bundaberg, and have taken the opportunity to visit Mon Repos – the Turtle Rookery. The experience has been awesome. It has also reminded me of the extent of my responsibility to care for the natural world and the creatures that live in it. As an educator, I also need to pass on my love of nature to children and foster their commitment to caring for it.


I was surprised to see the ‘loose play parts’ provided by the rangers for the children, and obtained the children’s permission to photograph (and share) their beautiful creations.  

If you would like to learn more about loose parts play Click here to watch a brief but informative YouTube Video.

I shared the Little Green Steps resource book with you last year. However, you might also like to take a look at the Small Green Steps program. It has some professional development options well worth considering.

Cultural Connections Booklet

This ACECQA resource is a must have. It explains cultural respect and cultural competency in clear and simple terms, and provides some strategies as to how we can develop these in children.

ACECQA will send a copy to each service in due course, but you might like to download it before then for a sneak preview.

The illustrations are just beautiful.

View Pdf Booklet Online Here...


Cultural Calendar

Now is the time when we timetable celebration days and other activities for the year.

As usual, JJ from Global Kids Oz has produced its annual calendar of cultural events across the world.

You can download it free from

Sun Smart

 Fieldsend ELC in East Maitland has set up this sunscreen station at the entrance to the service. It also has a chair (not included in the photograph) where children can sit to apply sunscreen under the careful eye of their parents as they arrive at the service.

Great idea, Tamara. Thank you for sharing.

While we are on the topic of SunSmart, many of the services I mentor and support check the UV Index each day by accessing If you have not seen the site yet, take a look, you might find it useful.

Social Media Policy

Social media is a hot topic in the early education and care sector. Many services have also asked if I would write a policy on the topic … so I have. The Policy meets the requirements of the National Regulations and the National Quality Standard, and is suitable for all states and territories.

You can order a copy by emailing
The policy costs $27.50 (including GST).

 Quality Educators

It is the time of year when we pay specific attention to the way our learning environments are arranged and the resources in them. This is because we know how much the physical environment influences children’s learning. It is also timely to evaluate our knowledge, skills and practices in the light of the important role we as educators play in that learning. This article on Quality Educators can be used as your guide.

Read Article Here...


Professional Development

Many services will be timetabling their professional development and team meetings for 2015. These DVDs have proved to be very popular for this purpose. They are part of an Educator Professional Support Library. Each DVD runs for approximately 50 minutes, and can be paused for group activities and discussions. The DVDs are also streamed to Universities, TAFEs and RTOs across Australia.

View the range of DVDs here.

Rest Time

Children sleeping directly on stretchers as in this photograph (or mats) do not meet the requirements of the NQS, the National Regulations, or health and safety standards. If parents do not supply appropriate bed linen for their children, then it is up to the service to ensure that this health and safety issue is addressed. The explanation that the parents have not provided an adequately sized and/or fitted sheet – despite the service’s multiple requests – does not alter this.


Top 20 Books Every Child Should Own

Mum’s Grape Vine has released its list of the top 20 books every child should own.

The list should also guide our choice of books for young children.

Check out the Top 20 Book List Here...

Green Cleaned

 In response to the many requests for information about a company called Green Cleaned which I mentioned in the December 2014 Childcare Conversations, the website link is

My reasons for mentioning the company in the first instance was that its cleaning system consists of only three cleaning products; it provides sturdy and easy to read labels for spray bottles; and, the MSD sheets are easy-to-follow and have the same name on them as the spray bottle labels. Compliance issues addressed!

Bacon & Vegetable Slice


  • 250g Zucchini, grated

  • 125g Carrot, grated
  • 125g Pumpkin, grated
  • 1 Large Onion, finely diced
  • 3 rashers bacon, chopped
  • 5 eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 1/4 cup self raising flour
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup cheese, grated
  • 1 cup parmesan cheese, grated


 Preheat oven to 180°C. Mix all ingredients together. Spread out evenly in roasting tin. Sprinkle parmesan cheese on top and bake in a roasting tin for 35 minutes or until golden on top.  Serves 8 

Recipe sourced from the Woolworths Baby & Toddler Club



Soothing Spaces – Report 

In November's Childcare Conversations, I invited services to share photographs of their soothing spaces. My favourite photograph came from an OSHC service. It really appealed to me as I am sure it will you.
Click HERE to view this month’s "Inspiration Gallery".

Share your Entrance Ideas

A reassuring and welcoming entrance for children and parents alike is essential in every Service. A big thank you to J.A.C.’s  Early Learning who have kindly agreed for me to share a photograph of their beautiful entrance taken a few years ago. Their current entrance is quite different but equally as beautiful. I would love to share a photograph of your service’s entrance, and you will also be in the running to win a set of posters. Just email me your photos to be in the running.


If you have any ideas or photographs for the next edition of Childcare Conversations, I would love to hear from you. In addition, please feel free to contact me about my consultancy services and resources, or just to have a general chat about child care.

Visit to see the many ways I can support you in your quality care journey.

Dr Brenda Abbey

Principal Consultant
Childcare by Design
M: 0419 661 921


Brenda is widely recognised for her expertise in the NQS, EYLF and MTOP. She is in demand across Australia as a consultant, mentor, author, conference presenter and workshop facilitator. Contact Brenda to discuss your service’s specific needs via mobile 0419 661 921 or email her at