As we bid farewell to 2023, it's time to take a moment and reflect on the journey we've collectively experienced over the past 12 months.
From opening eight new Grow Early Education centres, to triumphs in professional development for our team members, this year has been progressive with lots of lessons and growth.
We would like to take this opportunity to thank all our Grow families for choosing us for your child’s care and allowing us to celebrate educational and development milestones with your family throughout the year.
Join us now for the highlights and milestones that made this year truly progressive for our Grow family.
As we continue to support families across Australia, we are proud to say we opened eight new long day care centres this year and expanded our footprint in Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria.
We take enormous pride in delivering communities with a personalised approach to childcare through our local Early Childhood Teams, establishing community connections and empowering our centre management teams to raise the bar in early education.
Our new childcare centres and the local communities we are now part of include:
We are also pleased to reveal that Grow Early Education Park Ridge will be opening early 2024!
Passionate and caring, our Educators are the heart and soul of our childcare centres. They are dedicated to supporting every child on their individual learning journey, and ensuring their time in our care is a rewarding one.
In 2023, we employed 346 passionate early childhood professionals to nurture, educate and support the children in their care.
To ensure our Educators keep abreast with current developments and research in the area of early childhood education, Grow Early Education runs ongoing training and professional development programs across the year.
In 2023, we ran a robust training program which saw an incredible 351 courses delivered so our Educators have the most up-to-date knowledge and certifications.
For the convenience and peace of mind of parents, we operate all-inclusive fee childcare centres. This means we have thought of everything children will need to thrive at our centres and included it in our daily fee, including nappies, wipes, sunscreen, meals and more!
In 2023, we supplied the following as part of our service offering:
Another one of the amazing benefits we provide as part of our daily fee are extracurricular activities. In 2023, we organised 1,040 extra-curricular classes, with popular activities at our centres being multi-sport classes, music and movement, Japanese lessons, children’s yoga, cooking and gardening lessons.
Whilst we’re here to nurture the children in our care, our free barista coffee was there to care for our parents! Drumroll please… in 2023 we made over 38,254 barista coffees for our Grow parents to enjoy!
We view parents and families as invaluable collaborators in a child’s educational journey. Open, transparent, and collaborative communication is fundamental to creating a supportive and enriching experience for every child.
A strong partnership establishes a crucial bridge between home and early education, fosters holistic development and also contributes to a child's sense of belonging and security. In 2023 we were fortunate to partner with 1,356 amazing families and inspire 1,665 little ones to learn and grow!
Again, we would like to thank our Grow families for entrusting us with your child’s education and care. We wish everyone a safe and happy holiday season and we look forward to sharing this wonderful learning journey again with you all in 2024.
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!
In the ever-evolving landscape of education, early childhood Educators are tasked with shaping the minds of the future generation.
This responsibility goes far beyond imparting knowledge; it involves fostering critical thinking, empathy, and adaptability. One powerful tool that aids in this process is critical reflection.
At Grow Early Education, we believe that it is vital for all staff to continuously and critically reflect on our practices and our curriculum to benefit the children’s interests and needs. The voice of the child and the voice of the parent are main components that influence our critical reflections and promotes ongoing learning.
In this blog, we will explore the significance of critical reflection in early education and understand why at Grow Early Education, we believe it is indispensable in nurturing young minds for a brighter future.
Promoting Deep Learning
Critical reflection encourages deep learning by prompting Educators to delve into the ‘hows’ and ‘whys’ of their teaching methods. By questioning their approaches, Educators can identify what works best for the children and adapt their strategies accordingly.
This reflective practice goes beyond the surface, allowing Educators to understand the underlying principles of early education and tailor their methods to meet the diverse needs of the children in their care.
Critical reflection enhances self-awareness among Educators. It encourages them to examine their beliefs, biases, and values, which can significantly impact their teaching styles. By recognising their own predispositions, Educators can create a more inclusive and supportive learning environment. Self-aware teachers are better equipped to identify areas of improvement and continuously work on refining their teaching techniques.
Fostering Problem-Solving Skills
Incorporating critical reflection in early education nurtures problem-solving skills among both Educators and children. When Educators critically reflect on their teaching practices, they can identify challenges faced by their children.
By encouraging children to reflect critically on their own learning experiences, Educators empower them to become active problem solvers. This skill is invaluable for real-life situations.
Encouraging Lifelong Learning
Early education is the foundation upon which a child's lifelong learning journey is built. At Grow Early Education, we understand that children learn in different ways, and therefore we support each individual child’s learning needs, ensuring that every child feels and experiences success and accomplishment. Through this process, we aim to inspire all children and instil a love for learning that they will take with them through life.
Critical reflection instils a sense of curiosity and a love for learning. Educators who engage in reflective practices are more likely to seek out new teaching methodologies, educational theories, and research findings.
This continuous pursuit of knowledge creates a dynamic learning environment that stimulates young minds and prepares them for a future where adaptability and continuous learning are key.
Promoting Empathy and Understanding
Critical reflection encourages empathy and understanding among Educators. By reflecting on their teaching methods and the outcomes, Educators develop a deeper understanding of the children's perspectives, needs, and challenges.
This understanding allows them to tailor their teaching approaches, ensuring that every child receives the support they require. In turn, children learn empathy by reflecting on different viewpoints and experiences, fostering a compassionate and inclusive learning community.
In the realm of early education, critical reflection serves as a guiding light, illuminating the path towards a more effective, empathetic, and inclusive teaching practice.
By promoting deep learning, enhancing self-awareness, fostering problem-solving skills, encouraging lifelong learning, and nurturing empathy, critical reflection paves the way for a generation of young minds that are not just academically proficient but also compassionate, adaptable, and open-minded.
Grow Early Education will continue to champion critical reflection in early education, investing in a future where every child has the opportunity to thrive and contribute meaningfully to the world.
Say hello to carrots, capsicum and cauliflower! From October 15th to 21st 2023, it’s time to pay tribute to vegetables and the important role they can play in our health and wellbeing.
Nutrition Week is all about encouraging Australians to learn about making healthy food and lifestyle choices to improve their overall health.
As an early education and childcare provider, we play a big part in shaping many children's eating and drinking habits. At Grow Early Education, we take this responsibility seriously as developing healthy habits in childhood also leads to healthier decisions, actions and habits throughout life!
A child’s physical and mental development depends largely on the nutrition they receive during their formative years. Proper nutrition is essential for children’s health, development, and wellbeing. It helps them grow, learn, and build strong immune systems. A balanced diet that includes a variety of nutrient-rich foods is the key to optimal health for children.
Our centre menus, prepared by professionally qualified Chefs are age and development appropriate and include a wide variety of nutritious food of different tastes and textures consistent with the Australian Dietary Guidelines.
At Grow Early Education, we recognise the important role we have in promoting healthy eating and good food choices to the children in our care. We proactively do this by using the following strategies:
Wondering how you can get involved?
Check out Nutrition Australia’s ‘Try for 5’ website at www.tryfor5.org.au.
‘Try for 5’ is an annual awareness campaign by Nutrition Australia during National Nutrition Week in October that celebrates vegetables and the important role they can play in our health and wellbeing.
If you find it hard to get your little one to eat their vegetables, our hot tip is to head to the ‘Recipes’ section of this website. You are guaranteed to find one that suits your family’s tastebuds!
If you would like to know more about our approach to health and nutrition at our Grow centres, visit the Health & Wellbeing page of our website or call our team on 1300 934 769.
‘Good nutrition is necessary for the active growth and development that takes place in early childhood. Good eating habits and a well-balanced diet support children’s health and wellbeing, and minimise the risk of illness. Eating habits developed in the early years are likely to have a lifelong influence.’
(Get up and Grow: Healthy Eating and Physical activity for Early childhood p 20. 2013 Dept. of Health. Aust. Government)