BALANCING CHILDREN'S EDUCATION, HEALTH & WELLBEING
BY MARCIA LEONE
Last week I attended a beautiful Q&A Spring brunch hosted by Australia's most inspired early learning and pre-school provider, Only About Children. The panel included esteemed early childhood experts Sam Wood (yes, Bachy!) Founder of Gecko Sports, Nutritionist and chef Zoe Bingley-Pullin and Child Psychologist and Education specialist Dr Fiona Martin alongside the ever inspiring OAC parent and Founder of Bounce4Batten Peta Murchison.
Sky News Presenter Jacinta Tyran did a fabulous job as MC mediating the discussion as the panelists explored the importance and balance between education, health and wellbeing. Despite the heavy topic the panelists delivered personal stories and their expertise in a warm, engaging and entertaining way, with many of us having a good giggle along the way. Obviously each panelist discussed what they thought the most important aspects of growth and development for young children were, but perhaps surprisingly, what they all agreed on was that education alone does not prepare a child for school.
Dr Martin reinforced the view that Education experts have long held the view that approximately 90 per cent of the brain's development occures before the age of five, hence stressing the importance to give then a head start before they start school.
Sam Wood spoke about the direct link between being active and a child's confidence, self esteem and a capacity for learning and development.
Zoe Bingley-Pullin stressed the importance that good nutrition plays in a child's physical and mental development, but also stressed (to the relief of many) not to worry if your child doesn't eat every type of fruit and vegetable. If they just want to eat fruit or protein, let them do that.
Raising a child with debilitating Battens Disease, Peta Murchison spoke about the importance of love, connection and respect. "A child that feels that security; that they are good enough just the way they are is more confident to engage, participate and try new things." Being included and accepted by their local community as a family at OAC and now Mia's primary school has provided important connections and support.
Personally, I resonated with each of these views, but in particular the importance of acceptance and connection that Peta spoke of. Throughout Archie's early childhood years at OAC the care and guidance from the educators to provide a nurturing and supportive environment were our first priority. This emotional security has given Archie the confidence to socialise, become involved in activities and develop a love for learning. We have also been so impressed with the inspired holistic care that goes far beyond education- right down to encouraging a non-fruit and veg eater to come home asking for carrots, pear and apple "like pre-school make it!"
The daily reports and pictures we get through the OAC app also allows us to see and hear what he has been up to in the day and is a great way for us as parents to connect with the educators. As we is now preparing for "big school" the education aspect is becoming more relevant, and we are confident that he will transition well with the foundations that have been set.
All in all it was such an enjoyable morning and another big tick for OAC for putting on such a beautiful event. xx