Exploring Small World Play with Prue!Who knew there were so many different ways a felt play mat could be used within the classroom? From exploring animal habitats & discussing the Jurassic period, to acting out children's favourite story books, it is such a versatile, multi-purpose resource!
Join Prue for some play inspiration as she explores the multiple ways to encourage Small World Play with the children in your Service.
Shop small world play items online www.step4.com.au
Mini Whiteboards for Classroom UseThe most useful classroom resource - Mini A4 Dry-wipe boards for individual pupil use.
Lightweight but tough, made from durable gloss white poly-vinyl. These mini whiteboards encourage neat handwriting, help children to form letter & number characters & write in straight lines. Boards come in various designs, including lined, grid, handwriting, blank & more! Available in a Value Pack with whiteboard markers & foam erasers.
Tried and trusted by thousands of schools worldwide, the Whiteboard markers feature a standard size bullet tip with slim barrel for small hands. Foam erasers are an easy solution that wipes away dry-wipe pens ink quickly and easily.
3 Ways to Utilise Blocks in your Learning ServiceHere at Step4, we know the importance of meeting the ELYF, and that’s why we want to help you get more out of your learning resources. Today we will be discussing 3 different ways you can utilise blocks in your learning centre.
1. Incorporate animals, figurines and natural resources from the garden such as leaves and twigs to create a farm or zoo to tie into your animal project. Your blocks can turn into fences and animal habitats!
2. Create a block maze! Use the blocks to create dead ends and tricky paths for their friends to attempt to move through.
3. For older children tape letters to the blocks and encourage the children to move the blocks around to write their name and other basic words. It is a great opportunity to develop letter and name recognition.
Timber blocks are a classic must have for any construction area but such a versatile resource that doesn’t need to be limited to just the one developmental area!
If there’s a particular learning resource in your centre you would like tips on how to utilise, reach out to us today. Work with our team of experts who understand the learning curriculum.
#blockplay #imaginativeplay #learningthroughplay #childcare #preschool #step4
Product Review: DANTOY ResourcesStep4 is proud to range the popular and trusted brand of sand & water resources, Dantoy.
So what sets Dantoy apart from other similar products?
Ranging from buckets & spades, to vehicles, cooking sets & gardening tools, Dantoy products carry the Nordic Swan Ecolabel, meaning they comply with the world’s strictest requirements for plastic contents, and are packaged in recycled cardboard.
We love that the Dantoy Bio-plastic products are made from sugarcane, and are a 100% recyclable & sustainable material. Our bio-products feature lovely subdued tones that portray a soft Scandinavian look & feel to any learning space. Dantoy sand & water products are extra thick and very heavy duty, designed to endure the rigours of play at early learning centres.
Partner with STEP4 today to supply your centre with Dantoy resources & grow your Early Learning service sustainably.
Are you embedding Sustainable Practices into your Service?Do you want to exceed the National Quality Standards in your approach to sustainably?
Embedding sustainable practice within your service involves a little more than just adding a vegetable garden, worm farm and some chickens to your outdoor environment.
It is advised to research, consider and plan how to incorporate sustainable practices when implementing activities and planning excursions.
Some ways to consider embedding sustainable practice within your service can be to:
• Use living plants as opposed to plastics, creating vegetable and herb gardens that can be harvested and cared for by the children and used in centre cooking, install a rainwater tank to collect and use water for your gardens, plants, and lawn area.
• Consider conserving energy using natural sunlight within the rooms to avoid lights being turned on, use energy efficient globes or have earth hour each day at the service during rest time.
• Display child friendly visual signs around your service to encourage children, educators and families to be more sustainably focused ie: turn of the tap, turn off the light
It’s a great idea to ask suppliers about their approach to sustainability - this could be carrying an ecofriendly range of nappies and wipes, packaging, cleaning products, resources, materials for furniture.
Seeking input from families and children about how they focus on sustainable practices in the home is always helpful to gain more ideas.
Product Review: Custom Made Tables & FurnitureWe know the Early Education Industry is a competitive market and will continue to be for years to come! With Step4’srange of custom-made classroom tables & furniture you have the opportunity to give your centre the unique edge you need, to stand out amongst other centres.
We're offering you choice. Want a funky shaped table? Well make it. Got a unique colour palette? We can match it.
With more than 15,000 options available, we can help you create the learning space of your dreams. And it doesn’t stop there… Choose our Versatek Furniture range and continue the theme through your storage units & seating too. Mix & match the Horizontal & Vertical colours for a unique two-toned look.
So, whether you’re starting a new centre, or refurbishing your existing centre, think Step4 for your tables, seating & storage! We are committed to creating the safest learning environments, and promise you quality, bespoke furniture that will last and delivery many years of fun & learning in the classroom!
Top Tips for Creating Functional Learning SpacesThe functionality of a learning space determines how children maximise opportunities to explore their environment and utilise their resources in a childcare centre. Ideally, spaces and furniture should be multi-functional to deliver the most benefit to both educators and children alike.
Children will take their cues from the layout and natural flow of a room including the transition to outside learning spaces. Furniture placement determines what they see, touch and how they move around a room.
Open display cupboards allow children to approach and interact with the resources from any side. Large furniture items work best at the edge of rooms or as a zone divider. Supervision and movement is easier in well-organised spaces.
Colour affects mood and the way that children learn. For example, red and yellow tones encourage creativity, orange increases alertness and blue is calming. As well as colourful learning resources, STEP4 manufactures custom furniture with a variety of colour options. You can choose table-tops, chairs and storage units in custom colours or add a subtle colour splash on table legs or edging.
There is no limit to the imagination – ours, yours, and theirs. We can help you create a totally unique, functional & flowing learning environment with our custom-made tables & furniture, that gives Australia’s young learners the best learning opportunities possible.
Thankyou & Merry ChristmasHello to all our valued friends in the Early Learning and Childcare profession.
This is just a quick message on behalf of the team here at Step4 to say thank you for your support throughout 2020.
We understand that this has been a challenging year for everyone. We have needed to adapt and change our routines, interaction and ways of life. We understand and appreciate those particularly in the Childcare Sector and would like to thank for your support throughout this time.
The challenges that Covid-19 has posed to everyone’s lives & workplaces hasn’t taken away joy that we experience in supporting Centres to create safe & dynamic learning environments.
STEP4 will be closing over the Christmas break, and will be resuming again early 2021. We look forward to 2021 with cautious enthusiasm, and will continue to provide furniture & resource solutions that inspire creativity and individuality amongst Australia's young children. We have many new and exciting items being added to our range and look forward to launching these in the new year.
So we wish you all the very best for the holiday season, stay safe and we look forward to seeing you all in 2021!
3 Effective tips on Refurbishing your Service within BudgetCarrying out a refurb project within your budget is possible. All you have to do is a little bit of preliminary planning. Here’s 3 simple & effective tips on how to refurbish your centre within budget:
1. Set the budget in advance: This is the most important preliminary step. Setting the budget allows you to establish the framework for the refurbishment. It gives you a chance to plan strategically about hiring contractors or looking at supply options.
2. Find the right supplier: Do online research and compare the cost of supplies from different vendors. Get in touch with the suppliers like us – we can provide you with a personalised quote with generous discounts. One of our staff will be willing to come and visit your centre and offer design tips unique to your centre.
3. Buy Off season – Often, childcare suppliers will run discount campaigns and sales. These give you an opportunity to reduce the cost of acquiring new resources, equipment and furniture. We always maintain a selection of clearance items. From shelf units and furniture pieces to paper and toys, you can easily discover a good selection of essentials that are affordable.
Quick and easy tips for creating an effective Nursery roomHere’s 5 quick and easy tips for ensuring an effective Nursery room in your Childcare centre:
1. Use back saver cots. Sleeping cots that feature a higher base and one drop-side are more ergonomic for the educators back as they don’t have to lean so far over to pick up a child, and allows for a smoother transition in and out of the cot.
2. Purchase appropriate highchairs. The decision is yours, whether you prefer High or Low chairs, wooden or moulded plastic frames, choose according to the centres needs & requirements.
3. Have a designated changing station. Some centres feature a built-in changing station area, specifically for changing the children’s nappies. This is a good practice for maintaining hygiene and organisation within the centre.
4. Age-appropriate resources. Choose wisely when selecting learning resources for the nursery, and ensure there are no small or loose parts that could be a hazard for little children. Soft toys, baby books and teethers are great resources to include.
5. Maintain hygiene supplies. Keep good stocks of hygiene supplies including wipes, gloves & child-safe cleaning chemicals. Children can be unpredictable, so we need to be prepared .
And there you go, you’ll have an effective Nursery room quicker and easier then you thought.
Product Review: Silishapes Soft BricksOur Silishapes soft bricks are chunky, colourful, silicon pieces that young children can use in their everyday play. Made from ultra-soft, flexible silicon, these bricks are safe for littlest of hands.
Children can stack, use them for sorting or arrange them into patterns with ease. They are translucent so light can pass through them, and they light up when placed on a light panel. Ideal for being used in construction and small world play as well as in sand & water.
They are dishwasher safe for simple & easy cleaning. Silishapes soft bricks are available in a set of 24 or 72, and are suitable for children from the age of 18 months.
View product online: https://step4.com.au/blocks-construction/silishapes-soft-bricks-72pcs/
Product Review: Magnetic Multicultural KidsMagnetic Multicultural kids is a set of brightly painted wooden blocks, depicting 8 different multi-ethnic characters. The pieces are 2-sided and are held together with magnets, making them easier for young children to connect together.
They encourage young children to put parts together to create characters and teach them about face recognition and clothing. Great for hand-eye coordination as well as logical thinking, and will promote conversations about the differences and similarities of the characters.
Ideal for children from 2 years of age.
View product online: https://step4.com.au/multicultural-resources/magnetic-multicultural-kids/