In recent years, there has been a growing recognition of the importance of incorporating natural elements into early childhood education. These loose parts, such as sticks, stones, shells, and branches, all offer children unique opportunities for exploration; creativity; and learning.

With the change in season and the leaves changing colour to brilliant shades of yellow, orange and red, Autumn is the perfect time to collect natural materials and explore loose parts play with your little one.

Incorporating the discovery and selection of these natural materials is also a great way to extend on the experience and helps your little one better connect to nature. For example, Grow Early Education Narre Warren North run a Bush Kindy Program from Monday to Friday, which allows the children to explore and learn about nature, whilst also selecting their own natural materials to use later in the classroom.

At Grow Early Education Kelso, the children celebrated ‘Tell a Fairy Tale Day’ by exploring the fairy tale ‘Jack and the Beanstalk’ and then collecting their own natural resources outside to make their very own beanstalk.



Using natural resources within play encourages children to observe more closely and use all their senses. Furthermore, natural materials are open ended materials as they can be used by themselves or with other things.

There are many creative ways in which our Grow Early Education centres incorporate natural material loose parts play into our educational programs. Let's delve into the benefits of integrating these materials into our childcare centres, including providing examples:

1. Encouraging Creativity and Imagination

Natural material loose parts are open-ended materials, meaning they can be used in countless ways according to a child's imagination. A stick, for example, can become a magic wand, a fishing rod, or a sword in the hands of a child. By providing children with these materials, childcare centres encourage them to think creatively and explore the endless possibilities of the world around them.

The Pre Kindy children at Grow Early Education Maroochydore created amazing potions out of natural materials. The children were so creative with their potions and what they were creating.  Using their imaginations, they also created stories around their potion making.


2. Fostering Sensory Development

Engaging with natural materials stimulates children's senses in ways that plastic or synthetic toys cannot. The textures, smells, and sounds of natural loose parts provide rich sensory experiences that contribute to children's overall sensory development. For instance, playing with sand, pebbles, or leaves can enhance tactile sensitivity and fine motor skills.

At Grow Early Education Bushland Beach, the Tiny Tots Classroom used rosemary sprigs from their herb and vegetable gardens instead of a paint brush as they explored their creativity and indulged their senses.



3. Promoting Environmental Awareness

By using natural materials in childcare centres, educators have the opportunity to instil in children a deep appreciation for the natural world. Through hands-on experiences with materials like wood, stones, and shells, children develop a connection to nature and learn to respect and care for the environment. This early exposure lays the foundation for future environmental stewardship.

The children in the Kindergarten Classroom at Grow Early Education Tarneit have used natural resources as a large focus in their learning this year. The children enjoyed using clay, leaves, sticks, bark pinecones and loose parts to construct a range of different sculptures.



4. Supporting Cognitive Development

Manipulating natural loose parts involves problem-solving, decision-making, and spatial reasoning skills. As children engage in activities like building structures with sticks or arranging stones in patterns, they are exercising their cognitive abilities and developing important skills for academic success.

At Grow Early Education Bridgeman Downs, the Kindergarten Classroom used stones to explore name recognition.


5. Facilitating Social Interaction

When children play with natural loose parts, they often collaborate, negotiate, and communicate with their peers. Whether they are building a fort together or sorting leaves by size and shape, these activities promote social interaction and cooperation. Through play, children learn important social skills such as sharing, taking turns, and resolving conflicts.

At Grow Early Education Gunnedah, the children from the Toddler Classroom collaborated as a group to make their own ‘Wombat Stew’.


6. Embracing Risk and Resilience

Playing with natural materials inherently involves an element of risk, as children explore uneven terrain, balance on logs, or climb trees. While ensuring safety is paramount, allowing children to engage in risky play with supervision encourages them to assess and manage their own risks, fostering resilience and self-confidence.

The Junior Kinder Classroom from Grow Early Education Narre Warren North engaged in risky play as part of their Bush Kindy program.  They challenged themselves (while supervised) as they explored their surroundings, including crossing a rope bridge.


7. Connecting with Cultural Heritage

Many natural materials have cultural significance and historical relevance. By incorporating these materials into childcare settings, educators can introduce children to different cultural traditions and practices. For example, using pinecones in art activities may lead to discussions about their use in indigenous cultures for decoration or symbolism.


In conclusion, natural material loose parts offer numerous benefits for children's development and well-being in day care settings. By providing opportunities for creativity, sensory exploration, environmental awareness, cognitive growth, social interaction, risk-taking, and cultural connection, these materials enrich the learning experiences of young children in profound ways.

We have Grow Early Education centres located across Queensland, Victoria and New South Wales and as early childhood professionals, we embrace the beauty and potential of nature to nurture the next generation of curious, compassionate, and resilient individuals.

If you are looking for quality early education and care for your little one, call 1300 934 769 or visit our website for more information.

Easter time has arrived and what better way to celebrate with your child than with some egg-citing arts and crafts? Grow Early Education have put together a basket full of ideas for you and your little one to enjoy over the Easter long weekend.

From decorating eggs with bright and wonderful colours to turning household objects into your little one’s very own Easter Bunny, we have something for each age group to enjoy.

Arts and crafts play such a critical role in a child’s early years of development and learning. It allows them to first learn to properly grip a pencil before learning how to write, builds fine motor skills as they cut, stick, and paint, and encourages mental development as they begin familiarising themselves with shapes, colours, and numbers or letters.

Let’s hop into it!

Egg-cellent finger painting for Nursery children

Starting with the perfect arts and crafts experience for our Nursery-aged children. Finger painting is a great way for children to explore different textures, colours, and consistencies of paint while stimulating their senses.

To finalise the artwork, cut their pages into an egg-shaped piece or use it as a background for an Easter Bunny cut-out.

Watch as tiny hands create their very own masterpieces in our delightful Easter craft activity for nursery and tiny tots!

Egg-stra special egg decorating for Toddlers

Graduating from finger painting, your little ones will have the time of their life with this egg decorating activity perfect for Toddlers.

Create beautiful, marble-looking eggs by adding whipped cream to a baking tray and dripping a few drops of food colouring on the top. Using a toothpick, swirl the colours around until you’re satisfied with the marbling effect. Then, your little one can roll the eggs through the whipped cream creating these gorgeous (and edible…) eggs.

TIP: Switch the whipped cream for shaving foam and the eggs for wooden or plastic ones for long-lasting (non-edible) decoration.

This activity is great for sensory exploration and fine motor skills as the children use their fingers to feel the whipped cream and drop the food colouring.

Eggs-quisite paper plate bunnies for Junior Kindy crafting

From painting to pasting. How about we create our very own Easter Bunny friends using coloured paper, paper plates, and markers?

Paper plate crafts provide a fun and engaging way for children to learn, explore, and develop a wide range of skills essential to their growth and development.

Creating an Easter Bunny using paper plates uses fine motor skills as the children can cut and paste their own Bunny features for their paper plates.

You can assist your little one as they cut out bunny-shaped ears and stick them to their paper plates. Then, using a marker, draw on your eyes, noses, and mouths to complete the masterpiece.

TIP: Stick cotton balls to the plate for added sensory fun to create a fluffy bunny tail, pipe cleaners for whiskers and finally stick on googly-eyes!

Eggs-tremely fun egg carton crafts for Pre Kindy

Looking for a way to get use out of all your egg cartons? Why not use them for some egg-citing egg carton characters?

Your little one can encourage their fine motor skills by cutting the egg holes from the cartons and sticking them together to create little bunny bodies. Add the bunny features by using a marker to draw on the little face and some scrap paper to add ears, tails, and feet! Get creative and colour your egg cartons bright colours.

TIP: Fill your bunnies with mini-Easter Eggs and gift them to friends!

Eggs-traordinary letter learning for Kindergarten & Preschool

Using crafts to teach letters in kindergarten is a fun and effective way to engage young learners while reinforcing letter recognition and phonetic skills.

Further implement letters (or numbers) by creating letter cutouts for your little one to stick easter-themed bits and pieces too. You can use cotton balls, fake grass, paper nesting products, feathers, or even the foil wrappers from your Easter Eggs, all for additional sensory experiences!

TIP: Why not use this opportunity to also help your little one continue learning how to write their name? Create letter cut-outs of each letter of their name! Or, use numbers for improved numeracy skills.

We love implementing holiday-themed activities into the curriculums across our long daycare centres!

If you would like to see more Easter craft ideas, check out your closest Grow Early Education centre's Facebook page... We have been very busy this week with Easter-themed activities in the lead-up to the Easter weekend:




Happy Easter everybunny!

Entering the world of early childhood education can be both an exciting and daunting experience for young children and their families. Most importantly though, it marks the beginning of a new chapter filled with opportunities for growth, learning, and socialising with peers.

As early education providers, we play a crucial role in ensuring that this transition is as smooth as possible, providing a supportive environment for both children and their parents.

All our long day care centres offer families additional support during their initial weeks of enrolment. Even our brand-new centres like Grow Early Education Heathmont, will implement processes like gradual entry programs which allow children to acclimate to the new environment at their own pace. This approach helps build a sense of trust between the child and the caregivers, promoting a smoother transition.

In this blog, we will explore the ways in which our Grow Early Education centres assist new children and families settle into care; transition to new classrooms; and graduate to a formal school environment.


Supporting New Families

First and foremost, it is important to create a welcoming atmosphere for both children and parents so that they feel comfortable right from the get go.  We encourage parents to bring their children with them when they take an initial tour of one of our centres to see if the centre is the right fit for their family.

At Grow Early Education Gunnedah, they schedule tours at times when the whole centre can be on display to families. This ensures the families can meet the entire team and view all their wonderful facilities.

‘We love to introduce the children and parents to their potential new Educators on a tour of our centre.  This assists new families with making the important decision of which childcare centre best suits them and is an important part of the orientation process at Grow’ says Grow Early Education Gunnedah Centre Director, Brianna McCumstie.

‘One of the things parents love most about our centre is our large outdoor areas.  Not only do we have lots of room for children to explore outside, but our facilities are also state-of-the-art. We have creek beds, sandpits, adventure forts, bike tracks, vegetable gardens, jumbo games and more. We like to do our centre tours when the children are actively playing in these spaces as it helps potential new families better visualise their own children utilising these facilities’, continued Brianna.

As part of our enrolment process at Grow Early Education, we book ‘Meet & Greets’ for our new families. These ‘Meet & Greets’ are also known as ‘Stay & Plays’ and this initial connection meeting is a great way to help build trust and establishes a positive foundation for the child’s experience.

Families are invited to attend 1-3 ‘Meet & Greets’ at our centres prior to their first official day of care, however they can have as many as they need to start building that important bond between Educator and child. It is important for children to feel safe and somewhat familiar in their new environment on day one of care.

Our aim at Grow Early Education is for our long day care centres to be a home away from home for the children in our care, because children thrive in environments that feel safe and familiar. Our purpose-built childcare centres are carefully designed to be child-friendly, inspiring and filled with age-appropriate educational resources. Creating an environment that mirrors the comforts of home helps children feel at ease and more willing to explore their new surroundings.

As part of our enrolment process, we also ask new parents to fill out an ‘All About Me’ form on behalf of their children.  This provides important information like how to best comfort them, what they enjoy playing, their interests etc. so that our Educators can provide build a bond as quickly as possible and provide the highest quality of care.

To best support parents, effective communication between our childcare centres and parents is essential. Regular updates, whether through daily reports or informal conversations, keep parents informed about their child's experiences, milestones, and any concerns. This transparent communication helps parents feel involved in their child's daily life at the centre, easing any anxieties they may have.

At Grow Early Education we provide families with a parent communication mobile app called Kindyhub. The app allows you to share in your child’s learning journey, including providing daily photos, stories and achievements and is a valuable tool for us to support parents.

Transitioning to a New Classroom

This is the key time of year when children begin transitioning to their new classrooms.  Children who have completed the Kindergarten or Preschool Program will be starting primary school in January or February and so many children will move up to their new classroom as space becomes available.

At Grow Early Education Gunnedah, they have children ‘visit’ their new classroom multiple times over a two-week period so that can become familiar with their new classroom, Educators and routine.

Knowing what to expect provides a sense of security for children, helping them settle into the new environment more comfortably. This predictability fosters a sense of stability, which is crucial for early childhood development.

‘We have found that classroom visits in small groups are a great way to support a smooth transition into new classrooms.  They can become familiar with the environment and Educators and know what to expect when it comes time to officially changing rooms,’ said Brianna, Centre Director for Grow Early Education Gunnedah.

‘We find that most children are excited to be in their new classroom when they know what to expect.  A classroom change is a positive experience as it provides new inspiration, stimulation, interactions and new resources to play with,’ continues Brianna. 

Preparing for Formal School

Knowing what to expect in the school environment helps children to make a smooth transition, and preparing children for this needs to begin long before their first day of school.

Our school readiness programs (Kindergarten or Preschool depending on which state you live in), equips children with the skills needed to transition to a formal school environment. However, at Grow Early Education our aim is to also ensure they are well prepared for their onward learning journey into a formalised school setting.

As part of our programs, Teachers will coordinate several visits to local schools across the year to support the children’s transition to school process. At Grow Early Education Gunnedah, in addition to organising visits to their local primary school, Gunnedah South Public School, they are also looking to introduce ‘Lunch Box Days’!

‘We know the importance of incorporating activities to support the transition to school in everyday play-based learning opportunities, such as encouraging children’s participation in group games and experiences, and having regular ‘lunch box’ days so children can practice opening and eating their own lunch,’ said Brianna.

At all our Grow Early Education centres, a formal discussion towards the end of the year is scheduled to share information with parents and Teachers and support each child’s transition to school. This discussion provides an opportunity for parents and other partners to collaboratively create a summary of a child’s learning in the form of a transition statement.

Celebrating with a Graduation Ceremony at the end of the year is also an important part of supporting children to transition to school at Grow Early Education. A graduation event can help ease the transition to big school, by showing children that it is exciting that they are moving on and there are more thrilling things to come. Above all, it allows children to feel proud for all they have achieved while they have been at Preschool or Kindergarten.

Our childcare centres play a pivotal role in helping families settle into care by creating welcoming environments, establishing consistent routines, providing relationship building opportunities, maintaining open communication, and offering transition support. Through these thoughtful practices at Grow Early Education, we contribute to the positive development and well-being of the children in our care and inspire a foundation for future learning and growth.

Are you looking to start your child in care this year?  We are still accepting enrolments for 2024, so book a tour at your closest Grow Early Education centre and start your transition journey today!  Call 1300 934 769 to book.

As the festive season gets into full swing, what better way to embrace the holiday spirit than by engaging in delightful Christmas crafts with your children?

Crafting is not just a fun way to spend quality time with your little ones; it's also a crucial component of a child's development and comes with a myriad of benefits.

At Grow Early Education, we recognise its role in nurturing various skills in children. So throughout the year, arts and crafts is a significant component of our educational programs at our long day care centres.

Why are arts and crafts beneficial for children? Engaging in craft activities fosters communication, attentiveness, imagination, and crucial developmental skills!

Here's a short outline of the skills children can grow through doing arts and crafts:

Fine Motor Skills:

Identification of Shapes, Colours, and Texture:



In this blog, we've curated our top five favourite and most popular Christmas craft ideas for you to enjoy at home with your children:

1. Paper Plate Baubles

This versatile craft allows you to use a variety of materials to decorate and hang paper plates, creating your own unique Christmas baubles. Whether it's stickers, paint, or coloured felt, choose materials that suit your child's age and development.

Here are some finished creations to give you and your little one some visual inspiration:

2. Popsicle Stick Ornaments

Transform ordinary popsicle sticks into festive ornaments, ranging from stars to Christmas trees and snowflakes. The possibilities for shapes and decorating ideas are infinite.

See below for different shape constructions and decorating ideas:

3. Hand Print Christmas Tree

Combining sensory play with craft, the handprint Christmas tree design is simple yet effective. After creating the tree on paper, canvas, or even a Christmas card, once it is dry it is then time to decorate your tree.

Here are some different designs you can make using your hand print:

4. Christmas Cookie Decorating

Perfect for baking enthusiasts, you can also involve your children in the baking part to extend their culinary skills. Use Christmas-themed cookie cutters or a cherished family recipe to start a lovely Christmas family tradition.

See below for some cookie decorating ideas and even how to create a Christmas cookie decorating board:

5. Pine Cone Ornaments

Incorporate natural materials into your arts and crafts by turning pine cones into mini-Christmas trees or creating unique figures like reindeers, angels, or owls. The natural texture of pine cones adds a unique element for children to discover and explore.

Here’s some amazing pine cone creations for you to see:

As Christmas Day fast approaches, our aim is to populate this month with festive experiences and activities for the children to enjoy in our childcare centres.

Follow us on Facebook for regular updates on our Christmas arts and craft activities, and get ready to be inspired by the wonderful Christmas creations from our Grow Early Education centres.

The holiday season, particularly Christmas, holds a special place in our hearts. It's a time for reflection, gratitude, and it’s also a chance to extend a helping hand to those less fortunate.

This sentiment is widely shared among Australians, as evidenced by the significant number of people planning to contribute to charitable causes this Christmas (47%). This makes the holiday season an optimal period for our childcare centres to perform philanthropic activities and community support work.

Since 2014, our Grow Early Education Centres have actively participated in the Salvation Army Christmas Appeal, or selected local charities to support. This annual tradition serves as a valuable connection to our local communities, fostering a sense of unity and shared responsibility.

In November of this year, we launched the Grow Early Education 'Annual Christmas Food and Toy Drive.' This initiative involved selecting charities, creating donation hampers, and gearing up for the generous contributions of books, toys, and non-perishable food items.

While supporting the Salvation Army and their Christmas Appeal remains a priority, some Grow Early Education centres have chosen to back other not-for-profits, such as Angel Paws, Ronald McDonald House, Give a Little Hope, Defenders for Hope, and Act for Kids to name a few.

With our childcare centres spread across Australia in Queensland, Victoria and New South Wales, each hosting their own Christmas Appeal, the collective efforts of the Grow Early Education childcare centres can make a significant and positive difference.

Moreover, our Annual Christmas Food and Toy Drive demonstrates our commitment to making a positive impact locally and instilling a sense of community contribution in children. It serves as a crucial opportunity to initiate and expand conversations about generosity and gratitude with the children in our childcare centres.

At Grow Early Education, we firmly believe that it's never too early to instil the value of giving back in little ones. Nurturing generosity and teaching children about the significance of charity from an early age empowers them to have a meaningful impact on the lives of others.

For parents wondering how to introduce charity to their children, simple actions like dropping money into charity boxes, involving them in selecting canned foods for a drive, or taking them to fundraising events can be impactful. Plus, these moments offer an opportunity to discuss the importance of giving and the joy it brings.

If you're interested in joining your local Grow Early Education centre's Christmas Appeal, there's still time to get involved. You will need to be quick though, as donations and hampers are set to be collected by December 12th from all centres!

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