Encourage Early Readers With the Perfect Book Displays In Your Home!

Encourage Early Readers With the Perfect Book Displays in Your Home!

Books squashed into bookcases where they collect dust are becoming a thing of the past. For pre-schoolers and babies, you are likely to find them picking books that are creatively displayed and within their reach.
Here’s what you need to consider when displaying your books:

Are they within reach?

There’s not much point having books stacked so high that they can’t be reached by little ones. Eventually they will stop asking you to get them. Make sure there are enough books within reach of little hands.

Do they stand out?

Books that are facing outwards are much more likely to be picked up and read, rather than thrown and left in a pile! Make sure the titles and pictures are easy to see.

Are they in an inviting space?

An inviting space always encourages you to engage in the activity that the space suggests. Make the space inviting to their aesthetic, even get them involved in the décor. You will find that it’s a spot they will then spend plenty of time in!

Are they the right books?

Provide a variety of books within your child’s age range. Board books with brightly coloured, labelled photos are perfect for toddlers.

Are there the right amount of books?

Too many books can be overwhelming. Make sure you provide 5-6 books for early readers and rotate them weekly. They will soon develop favourites that will stay in the rotation for longer than that. Let them! Who doesn’t have a favourite book they could read over and over if given the chance?
Developing a love of reading is doesn’t need to be complicated! Zerotothree.org explains that toddlers develop a love of books by simply playing and exploring books. Find out more early literacy here.
To make your book displays stand out, consider these ideas!

Book Slings

Book slings are a fun, creative way to display books anywhere in the home, and on a budget.



Book Trees

A tree that grows books? Yes please! The simplicity in this allows creativity but still keeps the books as the most prominent part of the display!



Book Walls

Book walls are a great way to display many books facing outwards. You can have the top ones out of reach, and continually rotate the books by bringing swapping the ones up high for the ones down low.

Do you want to see how your child engages in early reading skills at their daycare or early childhood centre? JourneyTree is the perfect app to track your child’s literacy learning! Contact us today to find out more.

Nature Based Play Spaces: Creating Optimum Learning Opportunities at Home or School

Playing outside

It can be so easy to gravitate to bright plastics and tech-type toys when considering play spaces in the home or at school. These products are readily available and marketed heavily in shops and school resource catalogues. That’s why you can end up buying them. They are convenient and easy. However, thinking outside the box to create nature based play spaces in children’s environments is so important. Once you offer this type of space you’ll see the benefits immediately and wonder why you didn’t do it sooner!

What exactly is a nature based play space?

A nature based play space is any play space that includes natural elements within the space. Natural elements can include:
• rocks, boulders
• sand, bark or pebbles
• logs, wooden planks
• plants, vegetable gardens, beds for planting
• water, mud, leaves, grass, twigs
• recycled materials such as barrels

Are the benefits that great?

In comparison to a synthetic play space, the answer is yes. A literature summary written by Dr Lisa Wood and Dr Karen Martin from The University of Western Australia, states that nature based play has been shown to improve the amount of active play by children. This can assist in combating obesity and promotes resilience, creativity and emotional wellbeing.
How do you feel when you get outdoors and reconnect with nature?
Do you feel relaxed when you leave your phone in the house and get outside in the garden?
Most people feel relaxed and at ease when they are doing these things and children feel the same way! It’s a stress reliever for adults and children alike.

How can you incorporate a nature based play space in your school or home?

Nature play spaces can be as simple or as intricate as you choose, depending on the space and budget you are working with. The first step is to look at your space and dream big. Sketch ideas, shop around and imagine what the space could look like. It doesn’t all need to happen at once. You may slowly renovate a space by trading one synthetic toy for one natural at a time!
When you incorporate a nature play area, factoring in accessibility in a school is important. Ensure that the play area can be easily accessed by the age group it is aimed for and ramps are available.
In your home, keep things changeable. Permanent structures can be grown out of quickly and you may find it a costly experience to keep up with your child’s development and change equipment to keep them challenged and interested. By keeping things interchangeable you will be able to give them the creativity to create what they like at their development level. You’ll also save money by having products that inspire rather than restrict imagination.
JourneyTree is a great way to establish comprehensive, regular communication between educators and families. It also provides you with the perfect way to capture the best memories of your child in the great outdoors. Contact us today to find out more!

Photo Books: The Best Educational and Nostalgic Gift This Christmas

Photo Books

Photo books at Christmas are a beautiful way to round off the year’s memories. They also provide you with a gift that grandparents will absolutely adore! Then there is the added bonus of keeping one for yourself so your family can look at them and see just how much they’ve grown and developed over time.
It might seem like photo books are simply a trip down Nostalgia Lane, but they are so much more than that. Photo books create a timeline for your child that helps them have a better understanding of themselves and their world.
Here’s 5 ways you can make photo books just right for gifts, but educational too!

1. Identify the seasons

Putting the images in your photo book in order of the calendar year means children can identify and clearly see the changes in our seasons. Photos of the beach, snow or park show obvious signs of seasonal variations; as do photos that show everyone rugged up or wearing shorts!

2. Talk about growth and change

Children grow and change a lot over one year. Comparing what they looked like and what they could do at the start of the year as opposed to the end of the year can help them see that as they grow they continue to change and learn new skills. They may have learnt to read more complex books, write longer words, draw more detailed pictures or hop on one foot – every little milestone can be commemorated.

3. Discuss belonging

Children who have a firm sense of belonging are more likely to feel secure and safe in their environment. Going over photos of the important people in children’s lives allows them to clarify their relationships, and their place within their social and familial circles. You can talk about their feelings towards family or close friends – your child’s ‘inner world’ – and those who are in their ‘outer world’, such as teachers or friends.

4. Brainstorm and get writing

Why not get your children’s creative juices flowing by having them choose a favourite photo to prompt a brainstorm session? It could be anything from “The Best Day of the Year!” to “It’s Beginning To Look Like Christmas!” Have them look at the photo and write down any words that come to mind, then use those words to formulate their own narrative.

5. Add the photo book to their reading collection

What’s better than a book that features you as one of the main characters? Yearly photo books can be a beautiful Christmas Eve present for everyone can cuddle up and read together. Adding text alongside the photos gives the book a ‘story’ feel and it will be a book they will ask you to read as part of their bedtime routine time and time again!
If you’re looking for the perfect software to create your Christmas photo book, look no further than JourneyTree. JourneyTree provides a secure and convenient way to store your child’s life story. It’s the perfect platform for your child’s Early Childhood Centre to add images, too!

Find out more about creating photo books by contacting JourneyTree today.

Preparing Child To Deal With An Emergency | JourneyTree


What Do Children Need To Know

Are you confident about preparing your child to deal with an emergency? How well do you believe they’d cope in a crisis?
It’s not something most of us want to think about, but no parent wants their child to be caught unprepared if the need does arise. Teaching your child some basic emergency skills could well save their life.

They need to understand what an emergency situation is

It’s important children can identify what an emergency situation is, and isn’t. Talking to them about what distinguishes an unpleasant situation from one that’s potentially dangerous or harmful is a crucial conversation to have.
Ideally you’ll want your child to feel confident trusting their judgement on this so they’re able to make a sound decision based on the facts of the situation and not just fear.

They need to know how to get to a safe place

Make sure your child is taught some basic safety procedures. Should an emergency situation ever arise, it’s important they’re able to remove themselves from any immediate danger.
Basic first aid can also be learnt from a young age. At the very least, teach your child to be able to determine whether somebody is conscious and responsive. This will help them to make the best decision about what to do next.

They need to know who to contact and what is likely to then happen

  • Education about making a 000 call is important for all Australian children, especially when their exposure to American media can cause confusion with 911. Explaining the importance of only calling 000 when there’s a true emergency is essential too, as misdials are all too common and a drain on emergency service resources.
  • Discuss with them the sorts of questions the 000 operator will ask and the information they’ll need to be able to provide, such as:
  • Their name and age and your name;
  • Their address and/or the location of the emergency;
  • Details of the event and a brief description of what injuries there are;
  • The emergency service they require (usually ambulance and/or police).
    Further questions will most likely be asked and your child should be prepared to answer confidently and as accurately as possible.

They need to know to be practiced in the procedure

Rehearsing the steps to take in an emergency will give your child the confidence to act calmly should a crisis ever occur. Regularly having the conversation, in a way they can clearly understand, is key to them understanding the seriousness and responsibility that comes with coping in an emergency.
Preparing your child to deal with an emergency may seem daunting, but you’ll be so glad you had the conversation if those skills are ever called upon.
For more information speak with your Early Childhood Professional who should be able to assist you with age-appropriate resources and tips.

Protecting Your Child’s Images Online | JourneyTree

Very recently we posted an article about how important JourneyTree believes data protection and security is when it comes to keeping kids safe. Protecting your child’s images and information online can be overwhelming, especially if you are not fully aware of the risks. The range of preventative measures you can take to minimise any security breach can also be confusing.
Cyber safety expert Susan McLean says the “only real way to protect images of our children is not to post them online”. But is this black and white solution even feasible given the online culture of most families?

Why we’re putting our children’s lives online

The early days of your child’s life create memories you want to hold onto forever. Luckily with smart phones and their high quality cameras, it’s almost too easy to grab photographic evidence of all that cuteness.
These days, too, our circle of family and friends is spread far and wide across the globe. They can now share in the joy of your child thanks to the convenience of social media platforms and email.
But once a pic of your child has been shared digitally, all control of it has gone. According to the Children’s eSafety Commissioner, and published recently by the Sunday Morning Herald, innocent photos taken from family social media profiles account for up to 50% of images found on some child exploitation sharing sites.
It’s a terrifying statistic, but thankfully there are steps you can take to protect your child’s images online.

The questions to ask yourself before you hit ‘share’

  • When your child is older, is this an image they’d be pleased to know was shared?
  • Is there any nudity? Don’t share photos of your children in the bath or getting dressed, no matter how innocent your intentions.
  • Have you checked the security and privacy settings of your social media accounts?
  • Have you ensured in your post settings that ‘friends’ and not ‘friends of friends’ can see your images?
  • Have you asked your friends to respect the privacy of your family?
  • Have you ensured there are no identifying factors in the photo, such as school uniforms or street names?
  • If your child is a little older, have you discussed with them that you are sharing their images online?
  • Have you done any Google image searches (or reverse image searches) to ensure images of your child are not being used in any untoward ways?
  • Have you avoided using hashtags or other grouping features?
  • Is your child’s school posting images of your child on their social media sites, and is this a closed group? Are they sharing images of your child on a website?

JourneyTree gives learning environments a secure method for image sharing and puts parents in control of sharing priviledges.