Harmony Newsletter
13th February 2001

Dear Parents,

Welcome everyone to another exciting year at Harmony Child Learning Centre. It is wonderful to see all our smiling faces from last year. Harmony staff warmly welcome our new parents and children and look forward to many special times with you. This newsletter is a joint effort from Jackie and Robin, and we ask for your comments.

Jackie's Hours

My hours of attending the Centre have changed from last year. I am in the Centre every morning from 9.00am - 12.00noon. If you would like to see me about anything at all, you can see me at these times or make an appointment that suits us both.

Much appreciation to Matthew J's dad once again, this time for making Harmony a copy of his video-taped end-of-year concert. Also thank you to our own Carissa for bringing in her hermit crabs (which the Kindy children have named Wendy and Peter Pan), to our Jackie's mum for the tadpoles, and to our Janet for shoulder bags for children's dressups. Many thanks to our Jackie for loan of a doorway gate and a video camera. Ozzie B's dad came to our rescue when we needed to find Santa, and we are very grateful. We have been given a big pile of wonderful story books and activities magazines in French by one of our parents-would that parent please identify herself so that we can thank her properly.

Plastic shopping bags are always welcome, so please bring them in at any time.

Harmony has been very lucky to have friendly, new additions to our staff. You have probably met them by now-Dale, commenced this year as Early Childhood Educator with our 2 year olds, and Tanya as Assistant for the precious babies.

We are very pleased to see that our three latest Assistants, Deb, Tanya and Hannah, have demonstrated their enthusiasm and commitment to high quality child care and education by signing up for accredited traineeships. After completing a year's on-the-job training and TAFE study, our three young people will receive a Certificate which also can count towards a Diploma qualification, if they wish to study further.

The 2 year olds and Babies rooms are doing a staff swap. Janet is now assisting Simmone in the Babies room and Deb is assisting Dale in the 2 year olds room. All the staff are eager and enjoying the change.

Our centre staffing is as follows:

Babies: Simmone Qualified Early Childhood Educator
Janet Senior Child Care Assistant
Tanya Child Care Assistant
Janet Qualified Early Childhood Educator
2 year olds: Dale Qualified Early Childhood Educator
Deb Child Care Assistant
Kindergarten: Carissa Qualified Early Childhood Educator
Yvonne Senior Child Care Assistant
Hannah Junior Child Care Assistant
Kitchen: Lisa Part-time Cook
Administration: Jackie Coordinator
Robin Manager
Ian Part-time Bookkeeper

Computerized child care management
As many of you are aware, Harmony is in the process of changing its computer software to Smart Fees, a system which we feel will benefit families and management alike. Some of the changes are the new method for payment of fees and the new enrolment form. It is very important that the payment envelope is completed exactly like the sample under the clock at the front entry.

The new fees statement that has been distributed to all families sets out clearly the invoices and payments that have been made from the beginning of this year, plus the usual weekly fee related to your child/ren's normal enrolment. If you have any queries at all, please feel free to see Ian, Robin, Jackie or Janet.

Quality Assurance and Accreditation
Accreditation, a word that the Harmony staff are very familiar with, has come around again. Our last accreditation process resulted in Harmony being awarded the highest possible rating in all 52 principles, which means not one of the 5,000 centres in Australia can be better than Harmony. We are doing very well at present, with the staff continually assessing our policies and how things are done along with the 52 principles. Our accreditation meeting in December involved all members of the Parent & Staff Committee. The Accreditation Council in Sydney has chosen our Reviewer who will evaluate our self-study in approximately three weeks' time. In the next few days we will be forwarding to all parents a survey form (a follow-up to the same survey of last year) to ask you if we have improved the delivery of our quality program to Harmony families.

Sun Protection Policy
With summer upon us, now is a good time to talk about sun care. The Harmony Centre follows the Cancer Foundation's recommendations and has several procedures in effect to prevent sunburn and heat exhaustion, these being:
To meet Cancer Foundation recommendations, parents need to provide the children with:

Harmony purchases bulk SPF 30+ sunscreen in pump containers. Would all families please pay their child's annual sunscreen fee to staff as soon as possible--$5 for each full-time child and $3 for each part-time child.

Also, could all Preschool Kindergarten children bring in to the Center one large box of white tissues for all our little noses.

Parent & Staff Night
The Harmony Center is organising our first Parent/Staff meeting night of the year for early March. We have a special guest speaker (topic to be advised) and also will show a video that Harmony staff are making over the next few weeks, giving parents a glimpse of what happens during a typical day at the Centre. We look forward to a big roll-up of parents on this night, so keep an eye on our notices regarding the date and topic. We would very much like families ideas and needs for future Parent & Staff Nights. We have the space, the parking and facilities for refreshments, so please let us know what other courses or one-off workshops you are interested in having at Harmony. Some suggested workshops, for no cost, are Words Mean Different Things, Self-Esteem Building, Handling Stress and Anger, Ages and Stages, Playing and Sharing, Wise Consequences/Discipline. Please help us to help you by completing and returning the tear-off slip as soon as possible.

Classes of interest
Harmony has arranged some classes for parents and staff, as follows:

St John's "Caring for Kids" First Aid Certificate
The course of 9 hours will be run at the on three nights as follows:
Venue: Harmony Centre
Times: 6.30 to 9.30 p.m.
Dates: Monday, 2nd April
Monday, 9th April
Tuesday, 10th April (negotiable)
Cost: $75 per person, payable before first class
Class size: Maximum number of 12, on a first-paid basis
Registration form: Print this page, and tear-off slip at the end of the newsletter, and give to Jackie or Robin

Integral Yoga
(includes relaxation, breathing, and posture, but excludes pregnant women)
The first course of 5 weeks commences 27th February and is conducted by a very experienced yogi named Prem. He can accommodate a mixed group of women and men and asks that participants bring a cushion/pillow and two small blankets or shawls to keep yourself warm. He recommends wearing loose clothing and no eating for two hours beforehand (water is okay). Participants should let Prem know about any medical conditions/problems.
Venue: Harmony Centre
Times: 6.30 - 8.15 p.m.
Dates: Tuesdays
27th February to 27th March, inclusive
Cost: $45 per person, payable before first class
Class size: Minimum number of 10
Registration form: Print this page, and tear-off slip at the end of the newsletter, and give to Jackie or Robin

Raising Happy and Cooperative Children
This course runs over 3 nights, 2 hours per night, and uses the 10-week STEP Program (Systematic Training for Effective Parenting) at Tuart College as a basis. The course provide strategies to help parents: We need a minimum of 12 participants and a maximum of 20, at a total cost of $23 per person, to run the course. To guage response from Harmony families, would you please indicate your interest by returning the tear-off slip at the end of this newsletter.

Early Arrivals/Late Departures
Harmony Child Learning Centre operating hours are 7.30 am - 6.00 pm. Parents who arrive at the Centre early are asked to wait outside until 7.30 am as our insurance will not cover us before this time. Also, parents who arrive after 6.00 pm will be charged a late fee which is payable on the day to the staff on duty. The charge is $10 for every 15 minutes. We understand circumstances arise that cannot be helped-a quick phone call to let staff know is always greatly appreciated.

Parent Carpark
The parent car park is located on the Sackville Terrace side of the Centre. Could all parents please park in the marked bays. The reason we ask this because with the Centre becoming increasingly more popular, this means a greater flow of traffic in and out of the Centre in the mornings and afternoon. Also, we remind that the grassed verge on Hancock Street has been allocated for staff car parking, so please do not park there as space is limited.

Book clubs
As you all know the Centre has book clubs which enables us all to purchase books at discounted rates. In previous years the books and order forms have been located on the display cabinet in the entrance foyer. They have now been relocated to the shelves just near the Bookkeeper's computer.

With Kindercams it is possible for authorised families with a secure password to view their child/ren at the centre remotely from any computer with Internet access. Many parents will remember the Kindercams' broadcast, over a secure Internet server, of live images of the Harmony Centre's Christmas Concert to two dozen parents via a system that operates the same way as the online banks.

Kindercams' viewing system is affordable in different packages, starting at $1 per day for grandparents, and with cost savings packages for parents who sign up for several months access. Access can be offered to Harmony parents very soon after they register.

As in the U.S., where the system is very popular, Kindercams utilises digital cameras that take snap-shots of children at their activities every few seconds and "publishes" them directly to the web, where parents with an authorised password can view their child/ren via a secure 128-bit encrypted connection. http://www.thawte.com . Since the successful technical trial at Harmony, Kindercams has installed three web cameras at the Melville Day Care Centre (phone 9330 4497) which is the first 24-hour, 7-days a week child care centre in WA. Now parents have the chance to have their questions answered, on Thursday, 15th February, from 4.30 p.m.. If parents are unable to be at Harmony at that time, please see Jackie or Robin, so that your comments or questions can be forwarded on your behalf. For further information and media articles over the last few months, go to www.kindercams.com.au.

Kindercams is scheduled to feature on TV's A Current Affair program and is seeking parents who wish to speak out about this new internet service. Please speak to Robin by Friday, 16th February, if you wish to participate.

News from the Babies Team
Well, it is the beginning of another year and the babies have not been shy in showing off their new skills. Over the first couple of weeks we have focussed on settling in all the children and forming bonds with our new children by supporting them in their new environment. The children have enjoyed songs and stories (language experiences) each day, with action songs like Miss Poly had a Dolly, Five Fat Sausages, Ring-a-Ring-a-Rosie and Round and Round the Garden being favorites.

The babies are also beginning to demonstrate their emerging social skills by often initiating games with each other. Peek-a-boo and chasey are popular games at the moment. Thomas will often initiate games with his friends, seeing how much noise they can make, be it verbally or by banging toys together. This play will often lead to the musical instruments being brought out, which allows our budding musicians to make sounds which are somewhat more gentle to our ears.

The babes are becoming increasingly independent, many being able to feed themselves at the low tables. As the children begin to assert themselves, we are supporting them to help others and respect the equipment by encouraging the children to pack toys away (put on the shelf). This is very entertaining when Devlin, Simonne, Amy, Olivia, Eloise and Thomas put the toys on the shelf and Asha, Lili, Joel, and Sophie go behind and pull them straight off again!

News from the 2 year olds' team
It has been great to meet all the parents and children in the Centre. For the past few weeks in the 2's room we have been getting to know each other and all the children have been settling back into the routine. We have been doing a number of activities including balloon painting, sponge prints and collage. These all help to develop emerging hand-eye co-ordination.

Great social skills are displayed during dress-up times and when exploring our restaurant drama corner. The pretend cakes and cups of tea have been delicious! In the coming weeks we will be focussing on "all about me". Through talking about ourselves and exploring our bodies (e.g. with foot and hand prints), the children will develop a sense of their own self and also develop their ability to express themselves. To help us achieve this it would be wonderful if you could bring some photos of the children from home, so that we can display them on the wall and share stories with our friends (if parents write the name on the back, we can return them after we have finished).

We are always available for a chat so if you have any concerns or issues to discuss please feel free to see or call us at any time. There is an art box near the 2's room glass doors on the lockers with masterpieces in it. Please feel free to look through and take home your child's most beautiful and creative work.

News from the Kindy team
Once again the preschoolers have been very busy in the Kindy room. We have spent the first month of the year discussing shapes and colors through activities such as teddy bear counters, hammering boards with colored shapes, color mixing, various stories and group color games.

Our excursion to the Police and Citizens Club at Scarborough Civic Centre, arranged by one of our parents, was a huge success and was enjoyed by all staff and children involved. A big thank you to parents and volunteers who came along to help with supervision. We will be displaying the happy snaps when available. The children had access to a huge array of gym equipment and foam climbing toys. A big cubby house was set up, not to mention trampolines, large balls, suspended rings, balance beams, foam slides, spring mats and rocking horses. The children performed amazing skills on the equipment and, as you can imagine, this lead to loads of fun and a group of exhausted yet satisfied children afterwards.

We had a fun time last week with our Pyjama and Teddy Bear Day. Yvonne definitely lost the fashion stakes with her fluffy Tweety Bird slippers! The Preschoolers have also been fortunate recently to have ethnic visitors from Belgium and from France to organise cultural activities for them and a special lunch and afternoon snack for the whole centre. The children made Belgian coronet hats from newspaper, heard stories and learned a song counting to four in Flemish, and compared Belgium and Australia on the globe and atlas. Two French children, 4½ year old Joakim and 6 year old Lore-Elene, joined the Harmony Kindy group for a week, and their parents taught the group a poem about "Petit Pouce" (Little Thumb). We are looking forward to Nicole's continuing the French sessions as she returns to part-time work, beginning on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays-it is wonderful to have her amongst us again, especially with her many warm hugs.

At present the children are enjoying role play as they explore the hospital corner which will be in the room for two weeks. This coincides with our current theme of "Occupations". It is great to see the children bandaging and "mothering" each other in a nurse and doctor like fashion.

Our creative abilities are still in full swing as the children produce a variety of paintings and drawings. On the agenda are native collages, screen prints, crayon resist drawings and play dough sculpting. The children are working very well as a group. Our social skills are developing as we all learn to use our words to discuss concerns and problems as they may arise with peers.

Yvonne and Carissa are very proud of the group, and welcome Chad, Mitchell, Harley, Jade, Oscar, Toby and Holly who are new to the centre. Also a big hello to Alicia, Patrick, Becky and Michael who have taken a big step up into the Kindy room from the 2 year olds room this year. We look forward to a fun-filled and busy educational year ahead.

Questions and Queries
Well that is about it for the first newsletter of 2001. If you have any questions regarding anything mentioned or have a topic of your own that you would like to discuss, the staff are always here for you

Jackie Davidson, Coordinator

Robin Garbutt, Manager

"In the end these things matter most: How well did you love? How fully did you live? How deeply did you learn to let go?" --Buddha

St John’s “Caring for Kids” First Aid Course

I,. ………………………………………….., wish to register for the above course to be held at the Harmony Centre on 2nd and 9th April and also 10th April (negotiable). I understand that there is a maximum limit of 12 participants and attach my cheque for $75, made out to Alert Medical.

Signed:……………………………………     Date:………………………
Integral Yoga

I,. …………………………………………. wish to register for the above course to be held at the Harmony Centre for 5 weeks on Tuesdays from 27th February to 27th March inclusive. I understand that there is a minimum of 10 participants and attach my cheque for $45, made out to .……….

Signed:…………………………………..     Date:……………………..
“Raising Happy and Cooperative Children”
I,…………………………………..……… wish to register my interest for the above course to be held at the Harmony Centre for 2 hours x 3 weeks (dates to be advised). I understand that there is a minimum of 12 and a maximum of 20 participants, and the applications will be accepted in the order that they are received by Jackie or Robin.

Signed:…………………………………     Date:…………………….