Setting up your classroom Part Three - creating a clutter free environment


Does this look familiar?


  • Takes time away from teaching and engaging with the children to constantly clean up and fuss
  • Decreases our ability to focus and may restrict creative thinking and play
  • Produces sensory overload
  • Increased stress in the environment has a negative impact on a child’s ability to learn

Marie Kondo's book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organising, is brilliant!

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"Clutter is a failure to return things to where they belong," Marie Kondo

Marie is a firm believer that decluttering your home or work environment will have a positive effect on all aspects of your life.

Rid Yourself of the Joyless

The first rule of Kondo's KonMari method is to discard. Marie Kondo suggests that you take each item in hand and ask, "Does this spark joy?" If it does, keep it. If not, thank it for supporting you in your career and then dispose of it promptly.  You will be amazed at how much extra space you will create in your learning environment!

  • Remember: do not transfer your discarded items on others. Whenever you ask someone if they would like something you want to discard, they feel obliged to take it. It might make you feel better to believe that it will be used, but all you are doing is transferring the burden of an object onto someone else. 
  • Create a personal digital "feel good" file - Once you make it to the sentimental items in your room, consider how each item is best honoured. If it's truly something precious to you, how should you display it so that it gets the recognition it deserves? Alternatively, you can start taking pictures of these notes and cards and keep a file on your computer. This not only saves valuable space in your drawers, yet it makes it easy to search for an item if you want a little pick-me-up.
  • Add joy - Add things in your classroom that make it a more joyful place to be. So far, this article has focused on getting rid of things in your classroom, but it's also acceptable to add things in that bring you and the children joy. Actually, that is the entire point of the book. You should get rid of things that are weighing you down, causing you guilt, or taking your focus away so that you can highlight and appreciate the things that bring you joy.


Tackle Clutter by Category

The KonMari method requires you to sort your possessions by category, not by location. So, for example, tackle books first, then displays, then paperwork, then electronics. You will be amazed at just how much equipment is broken or in need of repair that is just not worth keeping.

Teachers are natural hoarders, and I am no exception. Maybe when you've tried decluttering in the past, you have mental blocks like "What if I need this one day?" "I could make so and so craft with this!" "This cost too much money to throw away!" and so forth.  This is where The Life-changing Magic of Tidying Up excels. The way Kondo explains how the Japanese view objects really hit home for me and allowed me to change my views on decluttering. 

  • Start with non-sentimental items. Don't go straight for student artworks, work samples or books. You have to build up your decluttering muscles before tackling sentimental items.
  • Do one cupboard or drawer at a time. Take EVERYTHING out. This part is very important. Kondo advocates making a huge pile on the floor of every.single.thing you own in that category. For instance, you might have books in the storeroom and the book corner, make sure you gather all the items in that category before you start discarding! 
  • Once you have decluttered, it's time to put things back in an orderly way. Your mind will see a clean slate and will automatically not want to clutter it back up by filling it with junk. This is also where your budget will thank you, as you will begin to think long and hard before making any purchases.
  • It's totally up to you what sort of organising containers you invest in. Kondo advises not to be frugal with things if they truly bring you happiness, so if pretty containers are your thing, go for it! You can simply group things according to their use.
  • While the classroom is, indeed, one room, it would be easy to fall into the habit of cleaning "spaces." The educator's space. The storeroom space. The book corner space. The art space. The problem with cleaning by room or space is that you start shuffling things around, from one space to the next. This isn't decluttering. Instead, you need to focus on one category - art supplies, for instance - and do that one category only for the entire room.

You won’t believe how good it will feel to finally be rid of the items that don’t bring your early learning culture joy anymore. You may find you don’t even need to replace anything. Early learning services have always had smaller budgets than they have wish lists, but holding onto things you don't regularly use has a way of being a burden each year as we revisit what to do with that cupboard or space.


Find Storage Solutions that will Work for your Space

When using the KonMari method, you have to designate a spot for everything. After you use something, put it back in its designated spot. Everything is exactly where it's supposed to be. Marie Kondo says to store items of the same type in the same place and not to scatter storage space. 

  • Organise office supplies and stationery - The KonMari method is to find small, attractive boxes to store items in drawers and on shelves. This gives everything a home and keeps the items easily accessible.
  • Manage large items like furniture and electronic equipment - Make sure all furniture is safe and clean before finding a storage space for it.


Make Tidying a Special Event, Not a Daily Chore

I know the year has already begun, but maybe there's a staff development day coming up. You can't do a massive decluttering a little bit at a time, or with a spare half hour here and there. You have to commit, save this knowledge and plan a time when you have a day together to create a special event, maybe have a shared lunch to look forward to.

Everyone should get to feel good about a tidy, clean new learning environment. Why not invite children, teachers, and families to come in and KonMari your early learning environment together? Modelling how to declutter and be respectful of your belongings is good practice for everyone. I have also found that by using the KonMari method and getting rid of all the clutter and chaos helped me focus on the important things I am supposed to be working on and enjoying.

Happy decluttering!



Setting up your classroom Part Two - creating a sensory smart classroom

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The layout of your environment will affect how children play and learn. Small spaces allow for quiet, small group play and individual play. Large, open spaces encourage large muscle, loud play.

With Sensory/Arousal in mind:

  1. Try to plan activities that incorporate as many sensory components as possible. For example, finger paint on textured surfaces. Consider having a “treasure box” with a variety of sensory toys. You can send a child to pick a sensory toy that helps them calm and become centred/organised. For example, fill the box with stress balls, fidget toys, chewies, body brush, etc…
  2. For children who need to calm, use deep pressure such as pressure with your hands to his/her shoulders. Another great way to calm is to give a child heavy resistive work to do, for example, carry heavy books to the table, push/pull a heavy cart. Make a “bean bag snake” using a long sports sock and dried beans. The over-aroused child can put it on his shoulders or lap to help calm during circle time or at a table.
  3. For children who need increased arousal, have them do a few jumping jacks, wall push ups etc… or use light touch from your finger tips or a feather to awaken their senses. 
  4. For children who touch other peers during circle time, consider sitting them against a wall or bookshelf for extra grounding and trunk support or give them a fidget toy to hold. Touching others can be an indication that the child needs tactile input to his hands. You can brush the child’s hands, have the child play with playdough/other resistive mediums, play hand clapping games, crawling or wheelbarrow walking.
  5. You can begin all table activities with a little “chair exercise” program that allows all the children to get their state of arousal at the same level. For example, prior to commencing a maths task. Sing a song with the children that wakes up the arms, legs, stretches etc…
  6. Outdoor activities are an all around wonderful sensory experience.

Here’s a few more tips:

Classroom Organisation:

  • Set up your classroom in learning centres and make sure you have a quiet area where kids can calm and regroup if needed when class get too loud. Make sure the quiet area has lots of book, heavy blankets, pillows. Bean bags, earphones.
  • Provide fidget toys such as tactile balls, “stress” balls. During circle time. Keep the children that have a harder time keeping still next to you or make sure you give them something to hold like a puppet. Or give them a fidget toy to hold on to or even a weighted lap pad.
  • Use visual schedules at the beginning of the day that “maps” out the children’s routine. This helps children transition more easily from one activity to the next and can keep them more organised. Make sure your schedule allows for movement breaks as well as table activities.
  • For a child who has difficulty transitioning from one activity to the next, allow him/her to hold on to an object that they like (aka.  A transitioning object) This helps them “keep it together” during the transition. You can also assign a task to the child such as “helper” (for example, he/she holds the cards you will be using and brings them to circle time). Use songs to help children transition such as “Clean up…clean up…”

Where can I find sensory resources?

Providing sensory experiences in a comfortable, accommodating environment can offer infants and toddlers lots of new, exciting, and beneficial opportunities. Taking into consideration children’s individual needs can really make them feel at ease and allow them to follow their interests!



Setting up your classroom Part One - achieving a language rich environment

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What is a language rich early childhood learning environment?


  • It sounds like conversation and play and singing and reading and interacting and true listening.
  • It looks like a space where learners and educators are interacting in all these activities in a positive, nurturing way.
  • It feels like a place where children grow in confidence as their early adventures with speech are encouraged, respected and supported.
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A language rich environment is one in which children are surrounded by talking, singing, and reading and have many opportunities throughout their day, across all learning experiences, to communicate with others and engage in back-and-forth conversations.

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A rich language environment is important to children’s early learning, and can have strong effects on early language, vocabulary, reading, and math skills, as well as on children’s social-emotional development.

 4 indicators that demonstrate a strong language environment:

  1. Responsiveness: Does the educator respond when the child addresses them? Do they respond by getting down on the child's level, positively with a smile and encourage the conversation?
  2. Attention: Does the educator have the attention of the children? Are they talking about things the children are interested in?
  3.  Reading: Is the room filled with written materials and books? Does each educator regularly read to the children?
  4. Expansions: Is the educator asking questions and building on the children’s talk?

When setting up your classroom this year, I encourage you to take a moment as a team to look around and see if you have created your ideal language rich environment. If you have, what an amazing opportunity for the children in your care to be able to enjoy that space!



Children's Book Review - The Pigeon Finds a Hot Dog!

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Are you looking for a great book to read with children over the holidays? We've done the hard work for you!


Title: The Pigeon Finds a Hot Dog!

Author: Mo Willems

Suitable Age Group: 3 - 5 years

ISBN: 1844285456

Date Released: 06 Mar 2006

Binding: Paperback

Pages: 40 pages


A special guest features in this book, a very clever little duckling who has not tasted a hot dog before. The duckling enters the scene, just as the pigeon is salivating over the hot dog he has just found. Will he manage to outsmart the Pigeon and get his share of the hot dog? Oh, yes...

This book comes highly recommended from my 4 year old nephew George, who finds the pigeon character very amusing. The hilarious tone of the book is set up by the illustrations, also cleverly created by Mo Willems. The writing lends itself to an animated response when reading this story aloud. There are scenes where the pigeon is exasperated with the duckling, this page particularly is a lot of fun to read.

This book is a follow on from the popular “Don’t let the pigeon drive the bus!” 


What have theories got to do with it?


There is a fantastic article which I think we should all revisit from National Quality Standards Professional Learning Program written back in 2012.

This article can be accessed at What have theories got to do with it?

These newsletters are not at all overwhelming, they are a great little summary of information to read through on a lunch break, or through your programming time.

If you're feeling extra nerdy and want to seek further information, there are always helpful links at the end of the article to assist.



4 ways to extend conversations by asking great questions...

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Asking stimulating and developmentally appropriate questions can help boost the language environment. Below are four strategies for extending conversations with questions.

1. Ask children about what they are doing.

  •  What are you working on today?
  • You are working very hard, tell me about your project.
  • What are your plans for those resources?

2. Ask children to provide explanations.

  • Why do you think that happened?
  • How can I help you solve this problem?
  • How did you do that?

3. Ask children to make predictions.

  • What do you think will happen next?
  • What else could we use this container for?
  • What would you do if that were you?

4. Ask children to connect learning to their own lives.

  • What does this remind you of?
  • These blocks are blue – what blue objects do you have in your home?
  • The girl in the story loved her pet rabbit. Do you have any pets? Tell me about them.

For children with limited language, giving them a choice can help them respond more easily to questions. For example, “did you use crayons or textas to draw that picture?”

Keep high expectations for all children and gradually increase the complexity of your questions as children progress in their development.



3 tips for authentic observation photos


1. Get down on the child's level

This might sound so basic that you skim over it, but there are so many observations out there where educators stand over the child's play and take the photo. This results in an odd angle and the photo you end up with doesn't capture the child's emotions. The child could be so excited by the dinosaur they have just created out of playdough, however the educator has captured the table and the top of the child's head. Oops!

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2. Be super stealth... 

One of the keys to capturing an authentic moment is to be quiet and hidden in the background, therefore making the photo as natural as possible. Capturing the child when they are engaged in play can be tricky, however, if you are respectful of their play and quietly move towards the group or individual, you should be able to capture a photo where they are still fully engaged in the experience. It will interrupt a child's focus on their task if you are loudly hovering over their play or even worse, ask the child to stop for a photo. Ahh!

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3. Lastly, remember that not all observations require a photo.  

There will be observations where a work sample will be more authentic than a quick photo. Or where, as an educator, you were either be engaged in the play, or watching the child play and do not want to interrupt their play by taking a photo. A description of their play is perfect for this type of observation, including language such as conversations where you can. If the play continues over the next few days, there might be another opportunity for a photo which you can later add to your reflections and observation.

I hope these quick tips will be super helpful to keep in mind next time you are documenting a child's learning.



What is a "thick" conversation?


I'm so glad you finally asked!

Children benefit from “thick” conversations. Thick conversations are characterised by giving children many chances to speak and communicate, asking open-ended questions, encouraging them to think and imagine, and having many back-and-forth exchanges.

Here are four key strategies to engage children in thick conversations in English or in their home language:

1. Encourage back-and-forth exchanges.

  • Tune into children’s interests and experiences and talk about them.
  • Take turns communicating and provide time for children to respond.
  • Show that you are interested in what they are doing and listening to what they say.

2. Extend children’s language.

  • Expand on children’s words or their attempts at words by adding a little more. For example, if the child says “ball”, you can say “the blue ball is bouncing!”
  • Add new vocabulary words to the ones children are already using when talking to them. For example, if a child says "that cloud is big", you might be able to introduce the word "enormous" such as "and this cloud is enormous".
  • When appropriate, it might be helpful to repeat a child's language using correct grammar to model how to arrange their words.

3. Invite children to talk about what they are doing.

  • Comment on what children are doing.
  • Ask children questions about what they are doing, what they did before, and what they plan to do next.
  • Encourage children to make comparisons and consider other possibilities. For example, "I can see you are using the small yellow shovel, what would happen if you used the big blue spade to shovel that sand?"

4. Encourage higher-level thinking.

  • Help children make connections between what is happening in the classroom and what is happening in their home or community.
  • Explain your thinking process.
  • Introduce new concepts or ideas. Make suggestions during play such as "what do you think would happen if we..."

Source: Tips for preschool teachers

Source: Tips for preschool teachers

I encourage you to start off this year introducing the term "thick conversation" into your everyday language. Aiming to help extend on each child's vocabulary throughout your conversations during their play.



4 benefits of outdoor play during winter...


Anyone who takes children outside regularly sees the enjoyment, and sense of wonder and excitement that is generated when children actively engage with their environment.

Even though it may be cold outside, here are 4 main benefits of heading outdoors during winter.

1. Breathe in fresh air

Not all children have easy access to natural spaces outside, with many families living in built-up urban areas without a backyard. So make the most of your spacious playgrounds, it might be the only chance some children get that day to enjoy the outdoor environment.

It’s no secret that most parents blame winter air as the cause for colds and the flu. Although the viruses that cause flu and colds are more common in the winter months, the circulated air in closed environments (school, childcare) are the main cause of your child getting sick. All of the bacteria, dirt, and other germs simply get recycled through the air vents over and over. The more time you spend inside, the more you are exposed. Nothing is more refreshing than that first deep breath of cold, winter air before starting hours of fun outdoor play.

2. Amazing sensory experiences

Wind blowing the leaves through the grass, tree branches swaying, clouds moving in the sky...

The changing nature of the outdoors makes it an incredibly stimulating and multi-sensory place to play. This is important as babies and young children learn and gain experience through all their senses.

Playing and learning outside also helps children to understand and respect nature, the environment and the interdependence of humans, animals, plants, and life cycles.

3. Boost immune system and promote physical activity

Playing outside allows children an escape from indoor germs and bacteria. This will not only be good for the healthy bunch; the children who are unwell benefit from the fresh air as well. Just make sure they are properly bundled up and moving around to capture and generate warmth. Being outside more often also allows each child to develop a stronger autoimmune system and a resistance to allergies. 

Just because it’s cold outside doesn’t mean children have lost their energy or desire to play. In fact, many health programs suggest that outdoor winter play gives children an opportunity for a change of environment, a balance in play and routine, and large muscle activities which aid gross-motor development.

4. Opportunities for risk taking

For many children, playing outdoors at their early years setting may be the only opportunity they have to play safely and freely while they learn to assess risk and develop the skills to manage new situations. 

The outdoor environment offers space and therefore is particularly important to those children who learn best through active movement. Very young children learn predominately through their sensory and physical experiences which supports brain development and the creation of neural networks.


So rug up and enjoy the outdoors this winter!

Sarah Cameron


Winter play ideas for outdoors


Activities for Cold Days

  • Go on a nest hunt. With all the leaves off the trees, nests are much easier for children to spot. Look high and low for bird nests.
  • Search for and collect the colours of winter. These can be used indoors at the art or sensory tables.
  • Build forts and cubby houses!
  • Decorate bare trees with paper snowflakes, coloured balloons, streamers, wind chimes.
  • Plant bulbs indoors – hyacinths.
Sourced from

Sourced from

Activities for Rainy Days

  • Put on gumboots and splash in puddles. Encourage children to look at their reflection in the puddle.
  • Bring paintbrushes outside and use the water from the puddles to paint on the fences and paths.
  • Talk about how water flows: down gutters, along creek beds, down hills, down to where puddles form.
  • Bring out plastic tubes for water flow experiments – what else can travel down the tubes?
  • Incorporate water play into the sandpit.

 Activities for Snowy Days

  • Catch snowflakes on black construction paper and use a magnifying glass to get a good look at them. 
  • Catch snowflakes on your tongue. Ask: How many can you catch?, or What does it feel like when it melts?
  • Identify each child's footprints in the snow (stand in a row and then have everyone take a few steps).
  • Use sand play toys, such as buckets, shovels and trucks, to shape the snow, just as you would sand.

Layer up and get outdoors to enjoy the fresh air!

Sarah Cameron


3 simple strategies to get children excited about group time!


Gathering children for group time is probably one of the main transitions throughout the day in early childhood. There can be quite an art to a successful transition, and knowing what your group will respond to on a particular day is the work of an experienced educator. Below are some strategies you may want to use to signal a transition for group, or to use during group time. 

Musical instruments

Do you have access to percussion instruments? Playing a rhythm on the drums, tambourine or even a wood block is a great way to gain the attention of children and encourage them to come and join in the group time. Children will quickly pick up on the cue and you may even want to share around the responsibility of playing the instrument.

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Play a movement song

Movement song are a great way to begin group time as children get excited and want to be involved. Heads, shoulders, knees and toes is a classic song with a lot of actions to get children moving and engaged. There is a high level of success for varied ages to experience during this song as it is familiar and easy to follow.

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Also, on the CD Jumping Jelly Beans, Gen Jereb has a great track called "Row The Boat". This is a fantastic partner game/song as children are encouraged to work together rowing through the water. Your children will love looking around seeing their friends rowing and try and work with their partner to row faster. Be careful, they might even see a shark!


Every child loves holding something in their hands during group time. You could use one prop, such as a talking stick. Whoever is holding the talking stick has their turn to talk. Or, you could have each child holding a prop, such as a piece of felt for the story. They will each have a turn to contribute to the story and place their prop onto the felt board.

You could also have a box of fidget toys which every child can have access to. In this scenario, the prop they are holding might not relate to the group time, however, it will help each child to focus and maintain attention.

Your aim is for each child to be asking themselves "What amazing things will happen at group today?" as they make their way towards you.

Sarah Cameron


5 tips for a successful group time


 So much learning can take place in group time, make the most of it! 

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1. Know the children in the group

Does Adele need to dance or jump before group time so that she can sit still, or does Sam need to tell the group a super exciting story before he can sit and listen? Sometimes Lucas might need a fidget toy to help him to focus or Tom needs to be at the front during group time. You've also noticed Lucy is more relaxed and engaged during group time when she can see the visuals and knows what is coming next. 

And I know educators say it ALL the time, but it's true, plan for the children's interests. If they love playing with dinosaurs, why not include dinosaurs in your group time, you could be dinosaurs for your movement, count/sort dinosaurs or read about them in a big book.

The length of your group time will rely soley on the group of children you have and what stage they are at.

2. Be prepared

Have all of your resources ready to go, practise reading the book you are going to read, or singing the songs. Stop and think through each step of the group time and visualise it.

Questions to consider:

  • What strategies will you use to gather children for your group time? (It is important to plan each transition, the start and finish of your group time)
  • Will the group be sitting on the floor or at a table? (Indoors, outdoors, it's up to you. A place with minimal distractions, plenty of space, nice temperature)
  • How will you get the group's attention? (Is there a song you could sing, or musical instrument to play)
  • Are there enough resources for each child? (If your movement experience uses scarves, count them before group time begins)
  • What will you do if it looks like they're losing interest? (Have Plan B's - If something is not working, or if it is taking too long, have something prepared that you can move onto)

3. Use visuals

Visuals can be used as a schedule for group time, as rules/reminders, or as songs/books/dances. Feel free to use them however it suits your group of learners. Here are some examples below of visuals used as group time rules.

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4. Include a variety of sensory experiences

To create a balance of interactive and quiet learning experiences you need to plan experiences that use different types of sensory input such as...

  • Movement - songs, games
  • Touch - games with resources that have various textures, partner games/songs
  • Listening - told story, music that requires actions, playing instruments
  • Visual - books, or a science experiment to watch reaction

5.  Routine, routine, routine...

Routine makes young children feel safe and while we may be more easily bored by it, children crave it. Sticking to a routine doesn’t mean for example that  you have to sing the same 4 songs after you do the weather every day, but it does mean that you should sing something after the weather every day. Keeping to a general routine for your group time makes it predictable and lets children know what is expected of them. 

What will your next group time hopefully look like? Children are sitting, watching you and are actively engaged. Un-rushed, relaxed, fun.


Sarah Cameron


Wow! A library just for toys! Is that a real thing?


Toy Libraries Australia (TLA) is the peak body for over 280 not for profit toy libraries across Australia.

This website has some brilliant information, answering questions such as:

What is a toy library?

According to Toy Libraries Australia, toy libraries are where fun, creativity and play are valued and promoted! At a toy library you can borrow from a vast array of well made toys that have been designed to support your child’s skill development and imagination. Toy libraries aim to support families and encourage togetherness with quality time spent playing with children.

Toy libraries vary from library to library. They may be located in the local scout hall or within the municipal library; have 20 member families or 1200; employ a staff member or rely solely on their members doing roster duty.

Toy libraries do have some fundamental characteristics. They:

  • Provide quality educational items for loan.
  • Are inexpensive (usually an annual subscription is charged).
  • Principally cater for younger children.
  • Have a range of items covering all stages of growth and development.
  • Provide an opportunity to meet other caregivers to share concerns, interact with others and make new friends.
  • Help parents and carers learn about the ages and stages of child development.
  • Usually open on set days and hours.

Where is your closest toy library? 

When looking at the map, you may not see a little carousal image in your area. Instead, type in your town in the "Type Keyword" box (grey area above the map) and it will give you a more accurate idea of where the closest Toy Library is located.

Why is this article so amazing?

This would make a great newsletter item for your parents. I'm sure they would love to have access to a huge amount of free toys which they can borrow and return, rather than finding storage in their lounge rooms!

Sarah Cameron


5 chickens that will make great children's pets...


Chooks are the ideal pet for introducing kids to responsibility. If pet hens are not fed, their egg output drops. If the chicken coop isn’t locked up at night, a sad pile of feathers may be all that’s left in the morning. Chooks help kids to accept the realities of life.

Chickens will eat your food scraps and will help prepare garden beds by fertilising and turning the soil, however they can make a good old fashion mess too. Are you willing to go free range? Or do you have a designated spot picked out for their new home?

When thinking about having chickens around children, it's important to choose a breed that has a quiet temperament.

Here are 5 chickens that would make great pets for children...

1. Silkies

Silkies are well known as one of the most affectionate, loving chicken breeds your little flock will ever come across.  All people who own Silkies fall in love with their gentle nature and tendency to want to snuggle on your lap – adults and children alike!

They aren’t great egg layers, but these chicken breeds make up for it in being adorable, sweet pets that children will love to pat and play with. Plus, they will love touching their fuzzy feathers!

2. Orpington

These heavy-set, fluffy and cuddly chickens are super friendly pets for kids. Their docile and curious natures make them the perfect backyard companion – happy to follow your kids around and assist on their garden adventures. 

They have a beautiful silky coat that can come in an array of colours, and they lay an average amount of eggs – around 175-200 per year.  They really do love to be held and petted, and are one of the more affectionate chicken breeds perfect for little hands to hold. 

3. Pekin

Pekins are docile and gentle-natured girls who are so cute! Their small stature makes them an adorable and easily handled pet for small children. Not to mention their beautiful full plumage which will delight young and old as they busily forage around the backyard.

They don't produce a huge amount of eggs, so you would choose a Pekin to enjoy their good looks rather than in the hope to do some baking.

4. Isa Brown

The Isa Brown is one of the chicken breeds that seem to just be perfect in every aspect.  They have a friendly, calm personality, which means that they don’t mind children holding and petting them, and might even follow children around as they do the gardening. They are very inquisitive creatures!

What’s even better is that these chicken breeds are amazing egg-layers, and will produce over 300 per year! Which means not only do your children have sweet natured pets that they can run around with and (gently) hold, but that they will have a constant supply of fresh eggs that will keep them well fed at every breakfast! 

5. Sussex

The Sussex is a curious and friendly bird that are intrigued by humans – so much so that they often love to follow their owners around the yard.  They love to be petted and held, and delight in foraging and exploring with their human friends.

They also are very good egg layers, so you can expect around 4 large brown eggs per week.  The Speckled Sussex is particularly popular as it is one of the most beautifully feathered chicken breeds, displaying a beautiful spotted coat.


According to Burke's Backyard, pet roosters are definitely out; even the most placid bird will either become bored and nasty or overly protective of his hens. Roosters can inflict serious injuries so have no place around children.

Rules for kids:

  1. No chasing chooks.
  2. No teasing.
  3. Never carry birds upside down by their feet.
  4. Never leave small children unattended around chooks.
  5. Cover arms and legs before handling chooks in case of scratches.

I hope this inspires you to find the perfect chooks for your playground or backyard...

Sarah Cameron


Eeek, don't sneeze on ME!


It’s worse than we thought!

When you sneeze, you don’t just produce a spray mist of potentially infectious saliva droplets. Instead, you launch a wide sheet of fluid that starts off ballooning, then bursts like a bubble, and finally disperses into a spray - much like the dynamics of tossing paint into the air.

Most people instinctively just use their hands, which is a terrible idea. All that fluid - a nice mixture of saliva, mucus, and germs - ends up on your hands, and will transfer to the next surface you touch, where it can live for at least a few hours. Furthermore, the hands usually don’t cover all of the droplet cloud, and the potential for spreading disease is still high.

NSW Ministry of Health advises that you should use a tissue to cover your nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing - and importantly, throw that tissue out afterwards. This advice is echoed by health departments worldwide. If you don’t have a tissue or paper towel handy, it’s best to sneeze into the crook of your elbow.

According to a Mythbusters program back in 2010 called The Safe Sneeze, sneezing into your elbow is the most effective way to prevent the fluids from spreading, whereas if you sneeze through a tissue or hanky you will end up with fluid all over your hands. Don't even think about putting that handkerchief back into your pocket! Eeek! Whatever you choose to do, cover up that sneeze and wash your hands afterwards.

The Sneezesafe® program is an educational health program designed and developed for Australian classrooms and has been running in schools since 2011. By participating, teachers can download resources to teach children how to prevent the spread of coughs, colds and flu whether at school or home. This might be something helpful to get you through this upcoming flu season.

Sarah Cameron


School holiday adventures...


No more school lunches to pack or rushing to catch the bus. Two weeks of freedom! What are you going to do with yourself? Whether you're an educator on a well deserved break, or a parent with children to entertain, here is a quick guide of what's happening in each state during the school holidays. There were so many amazing events I've come across, this is just a small sample.


  • The Visit NSW website has a lot of ideas for school holiday trips and adventures.
  • Australian Museum in Sydney has a school holiday program for children aged between 3-12 years.


  • has a list of ideas for school holiday adventures.
  • If you are wanting to visit Brisbane, they have a great website with planned events throughout April.


  • Weekend notes have put together a list of events happening in Canberra during the school holidays.


  • Play and Go have a great website with the mission "Keeping South Australian families in the know and on the go". 
  • Monarto Zoo is always an interesting place to visit with children.


  • Buggy Buddys have put together a list of what to do in Perth during upcoming the school holidays.
  • Scitech are based in West Perth, they have so many amazing workshops planned across the school holidays. It's definitely worth a look!

Wishing you safe, fun and restful school holiday adventures,

Sarah Cameron


3 things to remember when greeting a friend


At around 18 months, children begin to grasp that there are certain accepted social graces. Start teaching in small doses, setting realistic goals. Greeting friends is a great place to start. Children would have been watching how you greet and interact with adults and children, and will be keen to learn.

1. Eye Contact

Good, solid eye contact shows others that we are both interested in what the person has to say and that we have confidence in our ability to listen. Remember to look someone in the eye when you greet them.


2. Smile

A friendly smile adds warmth and will make both children relax during the interaction.

3. Say "hello"

Introduce yourself if you have not already met "Hello, my name is ..." or if you know the person, you could say "hello, how are you?"


This is a Hello Song that you may want to use during group times to practise the new skills.

If you are wanting to find social stories about greeting friends or visuals, there are so many on Pinterest, or simply spend some time on google.

Sarah Cameron