Fun and educative ways to support children 

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Whether it’s giving a child a leg up on their education, or finding something fun to do as a family, in this sponsored post “CityNews” speaks to Canberrans who can give parents a helping hand.

BEING a parent is one of the most rewarding experiences, but it can also be one of the most challenging, especially as parents navigate their way through a whole new lifestyle.

Whether it’s supporting mums with newborns, giving a child a leg up on their education, or finding something fun to do as a family, “CityNews” speaks to Canberrans who can give parents a helping hand.

The National Zoo and Aquarium’s new “adventureland playground”.

New playground has something for everyone

CHILDREN can monkey around with life-size, fibre-glass gorillas at the National Zoo and Aquarium’s “adventure land playground” this summer, says zoo manager Jemma Walsh.

The playground is one of the newest additions to the zoo and is considered by Canberrans to be one of the best in the ACT, she says.

It features 55 activities such as slides and raised walkways, as well as the miniature menagerie of replica animals, such as bears and hippos.

“There is something for everyone in the playground, from the little ones to about 14 years of age,” says Jemma.

Off the back of a busy school holiday period when more locals than usual came to visit the zoo, she says parents are taking advantage of the 12-month membership program to make weekly visits.

Parents with small children often bring them during the day to “burn off” energy, while parents with school-age children come in the afternoons, says Jemma.

“We have lots of kids that love coming in and visiting their favourite animals whether that’s one of our beautiful big giraffes, or our lion family or tigers,” she says.

“Penguins are also another big favourite of the kids.”

And for those rainy days, Jemma says the aquarium is a favourite.

National Zoo and Aquarium, 999 Lady Denman Drive, Yarralumla. Call 6287 8400, email frontdesk@nationalzoo.com.au or visit nationalzoo.com.au

The team at Kidstart Southside Education and Activity Centre.

Giving kids a head start on schooling

KIDSTART Southside Education and Activity Centre understands that the first five years of a child’s life are crucial for development, says owner Kristen O’Connor.

“Kidstart offers classes for children from five months to five years of age to develop them socially, physically, emotionally and intellectually,” she says.

Operating since 1996 and located in Wanniassa, Kristen says Kidstart offers three distinct and age-appropriate programs to ignite in kids a love of learning. 

This includes a “pre-preschool” program for children to attend by themselves in the year before preschool. 

“It focuses on literacy skills, social skills and all round school readiness so that children can thrive in a school format,” says Kristen.

KidStart is proud to have just welcomed their 21st class of three-year-olds into the program.

“It has been amazing to see 21 years worth of three-year-old Kidstart kids and their families growing, loving, enjoying and benefiting from the program,” says Kristen.

“We are passionate about developing a love of learning in each and every child.

“By allowing them to thrive in an educational setting and experience the joy in exploring and achieving we hope learning will be a lifelong passion for all our Kidstart kids.”

 Kidstart Southside Education and Activity Centre, 65 Sternberg Crescent, Wanniassa. For enrolment enquiries visit kidstart.com.au

School has the teaching qualities to inspire

The Anglican School Googong principal Merryn Clarksmith.

DREAM. Discover. Grow. They’re the three qualities that The Anglican School Googong wants to inspire in their teaching, says principal Merryn Clarksmith.

“We focus deeply on agile, collaborative learning that reflects a real-world environment,” she says.

“Desks are not positioned in rows and sliding classroom walls allow learning spaces to be easily transformed into breakout collaborative spaces.”

The Anglican School Googong is growing incredibly quickly, says Merryn, with enrolments throughout the year groups going fast.

Currently the school offers classes from kindergarten to year 10, with a roll out to year 12 happening over the next two years.

“We also pride ourselves on building relationships,” says Merryn.

“Not just between student and teacher, so that each individual can be focused on, but also between student and student, and teacher and teacher to facilitate a strong community spirit.”

Students are also encouraged to participate in co-curricular activities such as music, drama, dance, chess, gardening, cooking and social sport, to encounter educational experiences outside the classroom, says Merryn. “We pride ourselves on teaching students important, real world skills,” she says.

The Anglican School Googong, 136 Gorman Drive, Googong. For enrolment enquiries visit googongschool.nsw.edu.au

Helping mums breastfeed with confidence

THE Australian Breastfeeding Association (ABA) offers information and support to more than 80,000 mothers each year, says Canberra group co-leader Emily Stait.

“We know that successful breastfeeding depends on confidence, knowing you can do it and having good information,” she says.

“We aim to provide information on breastfeeding and support mothers in their journey, making them feel comfortable and safe.”

In Canberra, the ABA team of breastfeeding counsellors, community educators and volunteers organise local events and activities to help mums on their journey.

This includes playdates at playgrounds around Canberra, where mums can meet others who have “been there”, says Emily,

“We post regular updates on our Facebook page and website to keep mums up-to-date on all our upcoming events,” she says. 

The ABA also has the “Mum2Mum” app, which allows mums to find information based on their child’s age, as well as record baby’s feeds, sleep, nappy changes and features a button to directly access the ABA’s helpline, “live chat” or website for resources to help with breastfeeding.

“In 2021 we have heaps planned,” says Emily.

“We want to get back out there and continue to build our supportive community.”

Australian Breastfeeding Association, 3/70 MacLaurin Crescent, Chifley. Call 6162 2716, visit breastfeeding.asn.au or facebook.com/ABAACTSNSW

Popular, practical kids’ products that last

OWNERS of online baby and kids shop CAI Design, John and Helen Kane understand the difference that good quality, practical and stylish products make to caring for children.

As the director of a childcare centre for more than 20 years, and a kindergarten teacher before that, Helen says “there’s nothing worse than a bib that won’t absorb dribble or a sheet that doesn’t wear well”!

John and Helen’s shop CAI Design sells textiles for children and babies, including bibs and face washers, bedding and sleeping bags, hooded towels, aprons, change mats and art smocks.

“We know parents want to use items that are well made and will last, and we make sure that everything we stock in the store is exactly that,” says John.

“We supply to around 200 childcare centres throughout Victoria and several in Canberra, who recognise the quality.”

Their range includes products from New Zealand-based store Mum2Mum, which was started by two mums who created the Wonder Bib to help them deal with dribbly babies, reflux and eczema.

“The bibs are very popular and practical, designed with the kind of attention to detail that only a parent would know about,” he says.

Mention the “CityNews” mums and bubs feature for a five per cent discount on any order.

Visit caidesign.net

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