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Author: Kate Korber

I'm a passionate educator who loves helping teachers and parents understand how to engage our students in this digital world. I'm also a Mum who is learning to tackle the everyday challenges of being a parent of a our two year old Ella and new born son, Hudson!
A little day out at the Tesselaar Tulip Festival

A little day out at the Tesselaar Tulip Festival

Spring has well and truly sprung in Selvin! Yesterday, we had one of those glorious spring days as we headed to the Dandenong Ranges to check out the Tesselaar Tulip Festival. The Tesselaar Tulip Festival is in its 64th year making it one of Australia’s longest running festivals. A proud family tradition, the Tesselaar family has been opening their farm to the public since 1954. I’ve seen pictures and heard about the festival over the years, but this was our first time attending. I must admit, I was unsure about what to expect, but was literally gob smacked when we arrived. Not only are there fields and fields of glorious colour, but dozens of amazing sculptures, market stalls and things to see and visit. It is truly wonderful.

After the kids ran up and down the rows of tulips, and we took a bazillion photos, we took a tractor ride around the farm!

We then headed to the stage to check out the Trolls Show – part of childrens’ week that is on right now! One of our favourite and most surprising parts was the beautiful fairy garden. Ella was completely captivated by the story telling fairy, who mesmerised the children with her version of the three little pigs! The kids climbed amongst the magical trees and even rode their own rainbow!

Some of my tips would include:

  • Bring along a picnic and rug, and have lunch amongst the flowers!
  • Buy your tickets before the event to skip the huge queue when you arrive
  • Head to the face painting early as the line is also very long
  • Make sure you check out when the stage shows are on
  • Wear your gum boots! Whilst it was dry, this is a farm and this means dirt!
  • Bring a good camera….the photo ops are like no other!
  • Get the treasure hunt flyer when you arrive. The kids can find their way amongst the Wizard of Oz characters and get a special prize at the end!

Some other interesting facts about the festival…

 

• This year there are over 900,000 tulips including 130 different tulip varieties on show. Set across 25 acres of gardens where visitors are encouraged to roam free, enjoying the wide open spaces.

• Well over a million spring flowering bulbs will be on display including tulips, daffodils, ranunculus and anemones.

• The garden display is planned over a year in advance, so before this year’s show has even begun, we will already be planning for 2018.

• They have have planted hundreds of blossom trees to add to their floral show including cherries, apples, pears, dogwoods, forest pansies and magnolias.

• Theesselaar Tulip Festival is home to the largest clog in the Southern Hemisphere, coming in at almost four metres long. It was carved by renowned chainsaw artist Robbie Bast.

• During the Festival, the staff wear costumes from the Dutch fishing village Volendam. This includes traditional Dutch farming shoes – clogs. Clogs have been worn in the Netherlands for hundreds of years (though they don’t often get around in them today). While wooden shoes might seem cumbersome, they are actually comfortable and light, being made out of poplar or willow. Clogs are waterproof and warm – perfect for a tulip farm!

To check out more information and purchase tickets head to their website here! The festival is on until October 10.

Peppa Pig Giveaway

Peppa Pig Giveaway

After her cinema debut earlier this year, the world’s most famous and loved pigPeppa Pig is back!

PEPPA PIG: MY FIRST CINEMA EXPERIENCE: PEPPA’S AUSTRALIAN HOLIDAY will be available to own on digital and DVD from September 20.

What’s even more exciting is the fact that we are giving away 5 Peppa Pig Prize packs to five lucky followers!

THE PRIZE: Five winners will win 1 x Peppa Pig Australian Holiday DVD, Peppa Ears & a Peppa Bag Tag.

TO ENTER: Simply head to our Facebook Post Here and leave a comment sharing your child’s favourite Peppa Pig character, and tag a friend!

Take part in one whole hour of fun, featuring all brand new episodes as well as exclusive new interactive content, where you can dance, sing and play along with Peppa, George and their new friend Daisy!

Join Peppa on her first Australian holiday as she visits her friend Kylie Kangaroo and family! On this exclusive four-part adventure see Peppa visit the outback for a BBQ, learn to surf, throw a boomerang and visit the Great Barrier Reef in a submarine!

Watch out for special new appearances from Mr Wallaby, a platypus and a koala! Plus 5 other brand new episodes, including a trip to London, a day out at the Zoo, a cruise along a canal and some advice from Policeman Panda!

T&C’s: This giveaway closes on Friday 29th September @ 9pm AEST. This giveaway is in no way endorsed, promoted by or connected to Facebook. Open to Australian Residents only.

GOOD LUCK!

 

Book Review: ‘The Birthday Thief’ by Wonderbly

Book Review: ‘The Birthday Thief’ by Wonderbly

You’ve surely heard of the ever popular ‘Lost my name’ series of books, where your child can star in their very own story, in search of their long lost name. In recent times, this clever company have also released ‘The Kindgom of You’ and most recently, have rebranded to become ‘Wonderbly’. Their latest offering is ‘The Birthday Thief’, a personalised story that changes based on the birth date of the child it belongs to. When their birthday is stolen, our protagonist follows a mysterious trail to find it. This is a book designed for a child’s birthday that will show them how special they really are, on this day and beyond.

By far the best thing about these stories are the chance to completely personalise the story using not only your child’s name, but their favourite things, their likes, their dislikes. You also include your child’s birthday, as it tells the tail of searching through lost lands to find their true age. Every story is unique, with a curious cast of characters personalized to your child’s birthday. So little ones born in June will encounter his royal highness, Lord June. While September children will meet Sir September. And that’s just the beginning… Put them at the centre of their birthday quest by choosing the beautifully-illustrated character that most looks like them!

Ella was able to include her favourites including dolls, pizza and cupcakes! Each and every night, she not only reads the beautiful tale, but also the inscription on the front page. Written by us, especially for her.

It’s unique gifts like these that bring utter joy and happiness to families, over and over. Books that you will treasure forever, that you will read together and look back on in years to come, wondering where that time has gone!

To order your own book, head to WONDERBLY here! You can currently get 15% to celebrate their birthday! The Birthday Thief is $34.95 (before discount)

 

Silvers Circus Ticket Giveaway

Silvers Circus Ticket Giveaway

ROLL UP ROLL UP SILVERS CIRCUS IS HEADING TO MARIBYRNONG!

with all your favourite acts and more!!……..

Established in 1976, Silvers Circus provides world class family entertainment and fun.

Silvers Circus is a household name in Australia and after almost forty years on the road has evolved into one of the Top 10 Circuses of the World. Silvers maintains all the sparkle, glamour and death defying acts expected of Australia’s premier circus, dedicated to constant innovation and modernisation with extraordinary artists continually arriving from all parts of the world. Silvers circus presents a line up of stunning international artists, Las Vegas style illusions and captivating production techniques.

We are thrilled to be offering our followers the chance to see it with their family these Melbourne school holidays! We’re giving away:

3 X Family Passes (Two adults, Two children) to a Silvers Circus Performance in Maribyrnong these school holidays.

Session to be chosen by the winner. Tickets to be collected from box office prior to performance. 

HOW TO ENTER: Enter via the Facebook post HERE. Just comment on the Silvers Circus Post and tag a friend to be in the running. Comp Closes Thursday 21st September at 8.30pm. Winner chosen as random and notified via FB.

Silvers Circus

The 2 hour action packed show in the HEATED BIG TOP, featuring Ringmaster and Master of Illusion, Simon Tait includes:

  • Wheel of Steel. Two young men with nerves of Steel, Dominik Gasser and Merwyn Garcia run, jump, skip and flip through a routine of sheer physical ordacity, just as the apparatus they challenge defies description. Its wheels osolate and revolve from group level to dizzying heights. This spectacle will leave you chewing your nails and squirming in your seats! The Wheel of Steel…. (for strong constitutions only!!)
  • The Globe of Death. The world famous Phoenix Riders speed around inside a 3-1/2 meter diameter metal globe

on motorbikes, missing each other by mere millimetres.

  • Hoola Hoops. Up to 80 hoola hoops at once are managed while a balancing act is taking place upon a mobile mirror ball all at the same time
  • Clowns. Expect the unexpected. These acts are guaranteed to tickle the funny bone
  • The Roman Rings. A very unique act, which is performed with extreme strength and elegance. Little girls will be amazed by the beauty and grown men in awe of the control and physicality.
  • Ringmaster Simon Tait has over 25 years’ experience in circus and will mesmerise the audience with his celebrated illusions and audience repour.
  • Juggling Monchito. Meet the comedic stylings of the juggling Monchito! Ariel Barralle is a second generation circus performer from South America. In his years he has performed in several disciplines including trampoline, juggling, aerial straps plus performing with his family the traditional Argentinian dance of the Gauchos.
  • Agility, speed and precision is just some of what Yonas showcases here as he manoeuvres high above on unicycle after unicycle. Wheels are this mans thing and you will be surprised over and over again!
  • Cloud Swing. Madeline Bisby is a highly skilled aerial artist born and based in Australia. She combines stunning artistry with compelling elegance and beauty as she pushes the limits, and heights, on her edgy Cloudswing.

and with many more world class acts, Silvers Circus is guaranteed to tap into the nostalgia we all hold for a unique circus experience.

So Welcome to our world of spectacular family entertainment. There is no other circus like Silvers Circus.

For all show details visit – www.silverscircus.com.au

My favourite bingeworthy shows on Netflix

My favourite bingeworthy shows on Netflix

If you are anything like me, then you rarely get the chance to have the entire house to yourself. When you do, there always seems to be this stupid Mum guilt where we put the laundry as a priority over relishing in the peace and quiet, and watching something on the telly. I literally cannot remember the last time that I had the chance to just sit down and watch my favourite shows. So much so, that I don’t even know what my favourite shows are! Well, in a week school holidays will be upon us, and I will be taking the opportunity that good old day care provides (ie. kinder still continues in school holidays). I will be putting myself first and will be spending a few hours on the couch, catching up on something other than the latest episodes of Paw Patrol.

Even though we are renovating our new home, and currently living with my Mother in Law, we have once again fallen in love all over again with Netflix. You see, it doesn’t matter if you haven’t got the latest smart TV…as long as you’ve got a mobile device and wifi. Voila! But if you don’t want to waste time trying to find out what to actually watch, then I will save you your precious TV watching time and share with you my favourite recommendations!

Totally binge worthy shows that you can’t just stop watching after one episode. Nope, these shows are for the serious netflix junkie. If you’ve got a whole day to yourself, then lay back and get ready to enjoy some TV magic….

The Defenders : super heroes with a difference. Very cool show!

Lovesick: In his quest for true love, Dylan found chlamydia. Joined by friends Evie and Luke, he relives past encounters as he notifies all his former partners.

Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt: Tina Fey’s new show follows the tale of titular character Kimmy (Ellie Kemper), who spent 15 years in an underground bunker thanks to a doomsday cult and is now living in New York City. Her mission? To pursue a normal life.

Riverdale: In a town where everything is perfect, but nothing is as it seems!

So here’s hoping that you can sneak in some time for some Netflix shows this week! Let me know if you find anything worth watching!

 

Hood Mamma Edit Coolness

Hood Mamma Edit Coolness

You may or may not have recently seen the amazing collaboration shoot that we did with Motherhood Melbourne recently. An amazing idea that celebrate all things Melbourne : bloggers, businesses and services. Holly from Motherhood Melbourne brought together the most amazing team to help shoot and showcase gorgeous clothing and accessories for Mums and their babes. It was such an honour to be part of this team, to help shine some love onto some up and coming businesses. Having my children be part of the day was so exciting, and seeing the results made my heart sing. It’s amazing what can happen when people come together to support one another!

✖️ The dream team ✖️
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BEHIND-THE-SCENES //
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HOOD MAMAS //
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MAMA THREADS ETC. //
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KIDS THREADS N’ TOYS
Here are my favourite snaps from the shoot, featuring some amazing threads from the above businesses!
The Do’s and Dont’s of being a school parent

The Do’s and Dont’s of being a school parent

In the coming weeks, children and their parents everywhere across Australia will be visiting their new schools in preparation for Prep Transition. Whether you live in a state that knows the first year of school as Prep, Kinder, Foundation or Year 1, we will all be in the same boat. Chances are, your child is feeling a mix of excitement and nervousness about heading off to Big School. For some parents, this won’t be a new experience, having had other children previously head off to begin their school adventure. If you are anything like me, and experiencing this for the first time, you are probably (no definitely) feeling many things: nervousness, happiness, and just generally freaking out. On Thursday our Ella has her first Prep Transition morning at her new school. I honestly cannot believe that this time has come. What I do know however, is that for many years, I’ve been dishing out advice to parents (like myself) who have a little one starting school. Advice on how to get both their child, and themselves prepped for prep. Literally, in a few weeks time, I will be running a prep transition session as a teaching leader, and the next day will see myself thrown amongst it all, as a parent. I bet that I won’t be able to remember a word of my own advice. Advice like Stay calm, stay positive, don’t stay too long, don’t cry…in front of them! Eeek.

I’m a little worried that I’m simply not going to be able to listen to my own advice. Not on those first mornings anyway. There IS however, a great deal of advice that I can give to parents about how to both be a great ‘school parent’ in the long run, once things calm down. I can in the same breath, also give advice on what NOT to do. In the coming weeks, parents will be given  a lot of advice on how to prepare their child for these early days of school. What they don’t always get, is advice on how to help themselves, both in the beginning and throughout their child’s schooling years.

Sometimes, we need help to save us from ourselves. Sometimes, we need help to jolt us back to reality. I know many people who have said that things will be ‘so much easier’ once their child starts school. As both a Teacher and a Mother, I know that this could not be further from the truth. Primary school is, and will continue to be, both an amazing journey, but it is also an all consuming one. All I can say is get set to be amazed, bamboozled, tried and tested. There are things you probably know, and there ate things that you won’t. In the end, your child will be at Primary School for seven years, and there are some tips I can give, as a teacher that will help you to enjoy your time and solve problems that will come up along the way. So without further adue…..

Do’s

  1. Do get involved in your child’s learning: W e are all crazy busy in this parenting game. Everyone can give time differently and be involved in various ways. Whether it be volunteering at school or reading with your child at night. Get involved.
  2. Do speak up if something is wrong :  I always get asked whether or not they should speak up if they believe something is wrong with their child, or if they are feeling as though something isn’t right. My answer would be if it effects your child, then yes. Teachers always do their best to look out for your child, but sometimes things do slip through the cracks, because, well…they are human. Sometimes they may not know and finding out may actually help them, help your child. However always do it in a reasonable and calm way. Before you say something however, refer to the next point.
  3. Do check with a trusted other if you are worried about something: As stated above you should always, always have a trusted other who can put your worry through the ‘reasonable’ test. Is it something that your should speak up about, or is it something that you should just let go. Sometimes, we can catastrophise things and it’s always good to get someone to hear you out first before you address it.
  4. Do read the communication that comes home from school: I often hear that ‘things will get easier once my child starts school’. Hmmm….not the case when it comes to information. You WILL receive loads of information from your child’s school on a daily basis. Whether it is via email, newsletter, paper letters or via an App that your school may use, its super important to read about what is going on. Mark in important dates in your diary. You don’t want to be making Book Week costumes at the last minute.
  5. Do expect that your child will stuff up at some stage: This one can be really confronting for parents.  It’s normal for kids to stuff up. It’s normal for kids to make poor choices. Expect that they WILL at some stage do the wrong thing. It does not mean that they have a black mark against their name. It just means that they need to learn from it.
  6. Do expect your child to get tired and cranky: especially in Prep. In those first few weeks, kids work out that they actually have to keep going back….EVERY DAY. They probably will crack it at night, and be more emotional. This means that after school time is super important to calm down and relax. Do expect that it WILL calm down eventually. Starting school is one of the biggest changes both your child and your family will experience, and once you get in a rhythm, everything will be ok~
  7. Do give your child’s teacher positive feedback: It’s unfortunate, but often as humans, we only speak up when something makes us annoyed or angry. What I can say is that just like children, teachers love receiving positive feedback from parents. When your child is feeling safe, supported and happy. When they achieve something. No matter how big or small, as a teacher, receiving positive feedback from parents can help make their day, week, year.
  8. Do be positive about mathematics: Research tells us that children really are impacted by their parents, in in particular Mothers’ perception of Maths. I’m sure that you’ve heard people say ‘I hated maths’ or ‘I wasn’t good at Maths’. My biggest advice is FAKE IT TILL YOU MAKE IT. Be positive about maths – even if you hate it. Your child will develop their self perception about maths by the end of grade 1 and will carry it with them FOREVER! SO…..BE POSITIVE!
  9. Do regular spot checks of your computer’s browsing history: If you don’t know how to do a search on your computer’s browser history then I suggest learn how to. This will be your best friend. Be big brother, and particularly for your big kids, check where they have been online. Do this regularly!
  10. Do get your child to prepare themselves for their day: It may shock you but I have witness parents actually carrying their prep child into school. The beginning of prep is all about independence and resilience. Get your child to prepare themselves. Unpack and pack their bag, get their clothes ready. Get them involved so that they can feel good about school and not be reliant on you for everything!
Tired and cranky. Something you should prepare yourself for, once school starts!

Almost as important as what to do, is knowing what NOT TO DO.

Don’ts

  1. Don’t worry if you cannot be at everything. Life. It’s crazy busy. You will be overwhelmed with the amount of events, expos, information nights etc that will appear in your calendar. Prioritise. If you can’t make it, send someone else. Chances are, most schools use apps that allow you to see what has been happening in your child’s classroom. So if can make it, great, but if you can’t…make sure your child knows and then follow up by talking to them about what happened that day.
  2. Don’t be a keyboard warrior. Your annoyed about something and its 10.53pm at night. Sending an angry email won’t help anyone. Make an appointment and talk about it face to face. It’s always better. Trust me.
  3. Don’t approach another child if you have a problem with them. These days Child Safe standards are in place to ensure that each and every child is safe and supported. If you have a problem with another child, DO NOT take it upon yourselves to approach them. Your school should have a communication / grievance policy that you need to follow. I’m not joking. Never, ever approach another child if you are angry. Always, always speak to the school about it in a calm and reasonable manner.
  4. Don’t ignore important information and dates. When you know about a date, put it in your diary / calendar as an alert. Dates sneak up on you at the last minute.
  5. Don’t carry your child into school. As stated above. Build independence and resilience by encouraging them to do things on their own.
  6. Don’t ask “how was your day’ or ‘what did you learn today’.  How was school? GOOD. What did you learn? Nothing. If you ask a broad question, you will get a broad answer. Asking specifics like ‘what did you learn in maths today’, or ‘did you do something you were proud of’ or ‘what was something you found difficult?’. Often using routines like ‘what was the peak and the pit’ can help kids to share their thoughts and feelings. It will also give you a better insight into school, rather than just hearing ‘good.
  7. Don’t expect your child to be great at everything. The world needs artists, musicians, scientists, vets, builders. Your child may excel at sport, but find maths difficult. They may love reading, but hate science. It’s been said time and time again, but every child is different. The purpose school is to help each and every child discover their gifts and talents, and to use them to make a difference to themselves, to others and the world.
  8. Don’t praise your child for being clever. This is a big one. Research shows that if we praise IG, or how ‘clever’ we are, children are more likely to play it safe, and stick to tasks that they are good at, and know that they will do well in. If we praise ‘effort’, children will feel good about having stretched themselves, for trying something new. Growth Mindset is a theory that focusses on helping children to learn to grow, do better, be better. Developing ‘grit’ or the ability to persist at tasks for a long time is key in helping kids to be resilient and learn to improve themselves. It’s a really big thing for a parent, but learning not to say ‘you’re so clever’ is really important. It actually makes a lot of sense. Praising your child for trying helps them to know that making mistakes is ok, and it’s actually important for learning. This is my biggest tip as a parent!
  9. Don’t ask your child to do things. This is not what it sounds. If you want your child to do something by asking them ie. ‘can you please sit down’, you are actually giving them an option to say no. Some children will follow your directions, but others will not. If you rephrase it as a statement ie. ‘you need to sit down thank you’, you are still being polite, but you are expecting them to follow you. There is no option. Those three little words ‘you need to’ will change your life. It’s about assumed compliance. You are assuming and expecting that your child will listen to you. It’s a routine that we use at our school, and it really works.
  10. Don’t put your child’s dreams down. If your child wants to be a dancer, nurture it. If your child wants to be a builder, encourage it. If you didn’t get to achieve your dreams, don’t put that on your children. Let your child learn to love life and what they are good at. Nurture their dreams. Sir Ken Robinson (aka, the Education God) shares a lovely TED talk which we use with our new parents each year. He talks of a man who told him that when he was young, he wanted to be a fireman. Every child wanted to be a fireman at 4 years old. As he grew, he dream never wavered. However as he progressed through school, many adults said that his ‘talent was wasted’ on that profession. A teacher in particular told him that he should strive for greater heights. Years later he became a fireman. One night he attended an accident and saved a man’s life. That man was his teacher who had told him that being a Fireman was beneath him. He shared how his teacher had eaten his words and had not thought much higher of his profession and his dream. He had after all, saved his life and the life of his wife. Each and every child, as they progress through school will have dreams. Some will stay and some will change. As Sir Ken says in this video below. We should tread softly on the carpet of our children’ dreams. Even if they are at odds with what we want. You can see it below…

So there you have it. My top ten do’s and don’ts in being a school parent. Enjoy the ride, but remember to pull your head in and try to keep calm. Or as best you can!

From a Mother who is a teacher to another….