Tuesday, November 22, 2016

UPDATE: 05.12 Free software is available to NSW DoE students and their families.

Our new Technology for schools website outlines the Enterprise Agreements:
Software is sourced by DoE for all public schools in NSW to support teaching and learning.
Staff and students can access certain software to use on various devices and locations including work at home (WAH), see the individual software for availability.
Agreements and inclusions vary according to the software vendor.

Standard software

There is a supply agreement in place covering all of DoE with:
Google Apps for Education and Office 365 are accessed online and can be accessed from any device with internet access.

Student owned devices and BYOD

There are many products are available at no cost to all DoE students under our enterprise agreement.

  • Google Apps for Education 

    Now known as G Suite)

    Google Apps for Education (GAFE) are online productivity tools that work on any device. GAFE let teachers and students create, communicate and collaborate in real time.
    Teachers and students have access to tools that allow:
  • Collaborative word processing, presentation and website creation
  • Easy delivery and management of assessment
  • Time and task management
  • Unlimited online storage.
  • Google Apps for Education is accessed via a dedicated DoE domain rather than downloading. Once an account is approved, set up and linked to this domain, it can be accessed from any device with internet access.

  • Students - Google Apps is in the Learning Tab on the DoE student portal
The enterprise agreement with Adobe allows school students to install Adobe software for free on one personally owned device. This gives students access to Adobe Creative Suite 6, Presenter, Captivate, Photoshop Elements and Premier Elements. Staff can access Adobe software on school computers. Access for staff from one non-department device is made available by individual subscription under the WAH program.
A range of Adobe software is available for all DoE devices and student BYODs. The capacity of the device and the needs of the user determine which of these programs are installed onto the device.
 Visit Technology for schools website to discover the full list of what can be installed on DoE devices.

FAQs for student free downloads

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Your child is unique & special...Make sure they know it!

The Resilient Doughnut shares: Parents worry about many things when their child first starts school. Will she adjust to the long day? Can he remember where the toilets are? Have I given her enough to eat? But one concern often looms even larger than all of those: Will he or she make friends?

In her article The Making of Mates some simple but sound advice is shared: " parents can help by talking with their children about what they can do or try, the responses they might get and how to handle these. Rehearsing certain social behaviours at home such as making eye contact, speaking in a clear voice and asking to join in can also be useful." Zyron Krupenia, a Perth-based clinical psychologist, who has worked with families for over 25 years advised.

"...... girls are more exclusive about their friendships from an earlier age than boys. They’re either eager to lead or eager to please- they have all sorts of rules and hierarchies, and there’s none of this casual coming in and out of a game as boys do.”   Bernadette Healy, a primary school teacher with over ten years experience notes.

 “Children need to be taught assertiveness and confidence building skills, such as how to say no or how to walk away from a bully, ideally before they even start school.”

Well accepted advice is that parents should  talk regularly with their children about their friendships, offer suggestions for handling certain situations or behaviours if necessary, and discuss any concerns with their child’s teacher. Just make sure you organise an appointment to see the teacher so the discussion can occur in a calm unrushed timeframe.

“Parents should be on the lookout for any noticeable change in behavior patterns,” says Corinne Gregory, founder and president of SocialSmarts

Other signs that your child may be struggling include becoming self-absorbed, losing interest in friends, changing eating habits, faking illness to stay home from school, and avoiding social situations she previously enjoyed. Any of these behaviors may indicate that your child is having social problems, ranging from bullying to feeling left out to not making friends easily.
The key is to establish a trusting relationship with your kids and the school before a problem starts so that you can support them when they need it most.

The following  Conversation Starters from  Help your child fit in at school could come in handy.
  • “Who did you sit with at lunch today?”
  • “What did you do at recess?”
  • “What was the best part of the day? What was the worst?”
  • “I noticed some new kids in your class. What are they like?”
  • “How have things changed between you and (friend’s name) now that you’re not in the same class?”
  • “When I was your age, we had the meanest kid in our class. He was such a bully. Do you have anyone like that in your class?”
  • “I’ve been hearing a lot in the news about cyberbullying. Is that happening at your school?”
Another three wonderful conversation starting questions that can be asked include:
  • What is something that made you smile today?
  • What is something that made you cry today?
  • What is something that you learned today?

What do we do if we discover our child has been rejected? What can we do to help our precious children deal with all of the emotions that come with feeling rejected? No-one likes being rejected and some parents can feel like it is a personal attack on them too.
A child who has been told many times over the years that they are wonderful, unique and special will handle rejection much better than a child who has not regularly received the affirmations. There is no one else in the whole world exactly like them. THEY are important… even if someone else doesn’t see it. It is our job as a parent to make sure our child really KNOWS this!

Thursday, November 17, 2016

New 'screen time' rules...what are your family's screen time rules?

I discovered this post on the Parenting for a Digital Future website:

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has just revised its stance on screen time. Sonia Livingstone takes a closer look at the new recommendations and their evidence base in the post:

New ‘screen time’ rules from the American Academy of Pediatrics

The new recommendations made, 21.10.16, include:
  • Infants and toddlers should be ‘unplugged,’ though even infants are now allowed to Skype granny, and from 18 months old, high quality television content is also OK as long as a parent watches with them.
  • For 2-5 year olds, screen time should be less than one hour per day, again with parents watching alongside to interpret and discuss what they’re watching.
  • Children from 6+ need that media use plan, with limits to ensure screen time doesn’t displace sleeping, playing, conversation and physical activities.
For further information visit the above post:

New ‘screen time’ rules from the American Academy of Pediatrics

For me the following sums up how we should be looking at the problem in its entirety: 

"Behind a lot of the AAP’s evidence and recommendations is not so much 

the idea that screens are bad for children but 

that social, cognitive and physical activity is good for children."

By creating a Personalized Family Media Use Plan, you can be aware of when you are using media to achieve your purpose. This requires parents & users to think about what they want those purposes to be. The tool below will help you to think about media & create goals & rules that are in line with your family’s values

It is important to set up your family's screen time rules early in the child/children's life. The poster from 'Get kids to stop arguing', below may give you some management tips.

Have fun! It's your family!

Kids' who read, succeed!!! Cheers :-)

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Well read & informed parents equals empowerment!

Where do you head to when you need help with your child's education? There are so many places to go these days that it's often overwhelming.
I suggest that you start with this current, authoritive and informative app:
 presents their free app for parents:

Each of these tabs: Homework and Study; Wellbeing; Technology; School Guide; and Conversations offer plenty of quality current material and advice to help parents feel more informed about partnering schools to develop their children into well adjusted, happy, educated & good citizens of the future.

We want our children to be good digital citizens, too.
The cybersafety and cyberbullying sections have plenty of great advice about how to help your children be safe online and free from bullying and its effects. 

In the Wellbeing section there are plenty of resources to explore on Behaviour; Development; Fitness; Food & Health.
Under the food tab they include some delicious lunchbox ideas to fuel your children's brain and learning power.

If you struggle to help your child with certain assignments because you don't understand the terms, or would just love to be sure of what is being asked,  there is help at hand in the English section with A-Z glossary, help sheets. assignments starters & a section on My Book Club.
Help is also at hand for the Maths area with A-Z glossary; help sheets;  tips & maths assignment starters. There is also a game app included- Maths Monkey Quest for students to work on recall of maths facts.

                                                                          Maths Monkey Quest
But that's not all!-there is also plenty of support material available for other subject areas:
 and even more!! Tips to help you plan for your child's future:

You will also find the following apps created by the NSW Department of Education available for download.

Other Department of Education apps

and Kids' whose parents read, succeed even more!!!
Cheers :-)

Friday, April 29, 2016

Good quality free apps are not hard to find if you know where to look!

 I used to feel confused when it cames to choosing quality apps from  the huge & ever-growing range of apps available from the app store. I also found it was very easy to have the cost of the apps mount up over time. My husband was forever noticing & commenting  "O Oh! another app from iTunes!" as he went through on the bank statements.

I have been exploring and downloading apps for many years now in both my role as a Grandmother of small children and as a Teacher Librarian in a Primary (K-6) school in NSW, Australia.

I have found over the years a number of excellent places to go to for advice and guidance in selecting my apps.I especially love the #FREE ones when they are truly discounted and have no in app purchases!

I was delighted to find Music with Grandma FREE ATM-usually $3.79 US. I was notified of this app because it was on my wish list in the AppShopper ios app.

"Grandma has always been a favorite of mine, and this new app is my all-time favourite. It teaches kids note names, placements, instrument sounds and patterns. Grandma still dances, and Grandpa makes appearances playing instruments, too. A great app for learning and appreciating music, designed for kids from 6-12 but great for preschoolers, too, with a few settings accommodations." from
I have found this site to be  a great source of help in identifying quality apps.

I love finding apps that will meet the needs of a student, or one of my grand-daughters, who wants to explore an area of interest. The following app Monki Home -Language is totally FREE ATM with a 4 star rating. I am notified each day of the choice of today's apps gone free on this "News" app. I have found many valuable apps with a great saving in cost.

For those who have children interested in learning various languages: Try Monki :Home FREE
To ensure you get all the languages for free make sure that  after you download the app, Open and Unlock. You will need to Confirm your purchases which are Free. If you wait a few days they will no longer be available for free.

MyBrushes Pro-Sketch 3 1/2 stars FREE ATM  Usually $3.79 

I hope that knowing about these helpful app will save you some time and money!

Kids' who read, succeed!!! Cheers :-)

Monday, September 21, 2015

Making kids great readers!

I believe that reading aloud to children is very important....however this article, originally published on The Conversation, points out another way of making kids great readers!

Dinnertime storytelling makes kids voracious readers

Anne Fishel, Harvard Medical School
As a young child, I loved to imagine myself as a pioneer girl in Little House in the Big Woods, eating fresh snow drizzled with maple syrup. I even pestered my mother to make this treat with the dirty snow that fell on our Manhattan sidewalk. Not a chance.
Years later, I honored my young sons’ request to try a coconut after reading the adventures of Babar. Who knew that even a hammer and chisel won’t crack these nuts? I resorted to clearing out the sidewalk below and then pitching the fruit out a third-floor window.
It worked, but thankfully there are many easier ways to bring food and reading together than hurling coconuts or eating dirty snow.
Here are some of the connections I researched while working on my book, Home for Dinner. And remember, none of these requires a gourmet meal or a trip to the bookstore. Library books and a takeout pizza are just as good.

Dinner conversation builds vocabulary

For starters, there is the linguistic pairing of reading and eating, shown in such common expressions as “devouring a good book” or being a “voracious” reader.
Those sayings reflect the reality that children who have regular family dinners have a real leg up on being good and early readers. Years of research from the Home-School Study of Language and Literacy Development have shown that dinner conversation is a terrific vocabulary booster for young children – even better than reading aloud to them.
Rare words, those that go beyond the 3,000 most common ones, are 10 times more likely to show up in dinner conversation than in storybooks. When parents tell a story at the dinner table about their day or recount a funny family anecdote, they usually include many words that a young child hasn’t yet learned but can understand from the context of the story. Children who have rich vocabularies, packed with less common, more sophisticated words, learn to read more easily because they can make sense of the words they are deciphering.

Then what happened? Mealtime via www.shutterstock.com.

Encourage children to tell stories

The benefits to children don’t just come from listening to stories. Children who know how to tell stories are also better readers. In one large study, kindergartners who were able to tell stories grew up to be fourth- and even seventh-graders with higher reading comprehension than those kindergartners who lacked narrative skills.
Dinner is a prime time for children to tell stories and to be encouraged to tell better stories. Researchers have found that children can be taught to tell longer, more information-packed stories with a few simple instructions.
  • Reminisce with your children about past experiences you’ve shared with them. “Remember when we forgot to take the brownies out of the oven?”
  • Ask a lot of open-ended questions, including plenty of “how” and “why” questions rather than questions with yes-or-no answers.
  • Encourage longer stories by repeating what your child says or by elaborating on her story.
  • Instead of deciding what story to tell, follow your child’s lead on what she wants to talk about.
In this study, children who were given these instructions had bigger vocabularies and told more complex stories a year later.

Books can provide a feast of culinary ideas. Danielle York, CC BY-NC-SA

Make a literary meal

There are other tasty connections between food and books. Consider the banquet of children’s books that feature food as a central force in the action. There are the magical noodles in Strega Nona, the pomegranate seeds that bind Persephone to Hades, the irresistible Turkish delight in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe and the whimsical tribute to picky eaters, Green Eggs and Ham.

Reading done away from the table can inform dinnertime topics. Eden, Janine and Jim, CC BY

Just as dinner conversation can lead to more reading, reading can be the prompt for meals and for conversation. Parents and children might recreate a favorite literary meal for dinner, and then read that book, or a portion of it, aloud. Split pea soup from George and Martha or spaghetti and meatballs from Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs are two possibilities.
And, don’t forget the many nursery rhymes that involve porridge, rice pudding and blackbird pie (to name just a few). It could be fun to imagine what Harry Potter might eat for dinner at Hogwarts or to create a high tea that Mary Poppins might like.
Of course it’s not just children’s literature that gets our mouths watering. Melville devotes a chapter to clam chowder in Moby Dick, and in Nora Ephron’s Heartburn, the philandering husband gets his comeuppance with a Key lime pie in the face.
If cooking a literary meal doesn’t get you in a reading mood, here’s another idea for a dinner: ask family members to talk about one book that changed their life. That dinner conversation might just jumpstart some bedtime reading.
The Conversation
Anne Fishel, Author of Home for Dinner and Associate Clinical Professor of Psychology, Harvard Medical School
This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.
Kids' who read, succeed!!! Cheers :-)

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Free access to Tumblebooks for Coffs City Library patrons and their families.


For kids and families, TumbleBooks lets you watch and listen to hundreds of e-books online, play a game,  watch a video, write a review..

To visit Tumblebooks at home you first need to visit the Coffs City Library page http://libraries.coffsharbour.nsw.gov.au/Pages/default.aspx 

and then click on the Tumblebooks icon. 

Tumblebooks is subscription based.
 If you go straight to the Tumblebooks page you will be asked to register and sign in.
You need to go through the Coffs Harbour City Library page to  gain free access.
The Council is covering this fee so our community has access to this resource.

Thanks Coffs Harbour City Library.

Kids' who read, succeed!!! Cheers :-)

Birth order matters! Find out what it means for you and your family.

"Birth Order Does Matter
Some researchers believe birth order is as important as gender and almost as important as genetics. It gets back to the old nurture vs. nature business."  

                                         Human Behavior and Education Expert, Speaker, Author. Ph.D. Ed.D.
The Achiever, The Peacemaker, and The Life of The Party
"While the eldest child is programmed for excellence and achievement, the middle child is raised to be understanding and conciliatory and the baby seeks attention. As a result, birth order is a powerful variable in the unfolding of your personality.
Discover the effect of being The Lone Wolf: The Only Child.
Understanding that a first-born child feels highly responsible allows you to lighten their load and recognizing that the baby of the family is experiencing a more lenient environment can help you be more diligent in your discipline.
Click on the article link below for more information from her article:

The Achiever, the Peacemaker and the Life of the Party: How Birth Order Affects Personality

I really liked the final comments in: 

That Elusive Birth Order Effect and What it Means for You

Can birth order really shape your personality?
 "The moral of the story for parents is to look for your own biases and stereotypes about birth order as you think about what your children are capable of doing. Encourage them to teach each other, to define their own identities in the family, and to avoid labeling themselves based on their birth order.  Don’t let the lives of your children be dominated by the random forces that caused them to be born when they were."

How does this reflect your childhood and birth order? Does it ring true?

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Wishing all the fathers and male carers a very happy Father's Day 2014

Happy Father's Day to all of our fathers and carers.
I hope you get plenty of time to relapse!

Thanks for all the things you do to keep us safe and make us happy!

You may enjoy reading the quotes about fathers by clicking on the link below.

Father's Day 2014: 20 quotes about fathers from Parentingideas

 Kids' who read, succeed!!!Cheers:-)

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Our local Community of Schools works together to rid students of lice! Nitbusters!

"Understanding the biology and lifecycle of head lice will enable you to understand how to effectively treat and manage head lice in your family and school."
NSW Government Department of Health

"Head lice are only found on the human head. Head lice do not live on furniture, hats, bedding, carpet or anywhere else in the environment. Treating anything other than the human head does not eradicate head lice." Treatment of Head Lice NSW Government Department of Health

"Spring cleaning your home, washing bedding and toys and rigorous vacuum cleaning do not affect the head lice population on a human head." Biology NSW Government Department of Health

How do you catch head lice? "Head lice are caught from another human head. Head lice cannot survive off the human head for any length of time." Biology NSW Government Department of Health

"Head lice move from human hair to human hair."

"As no product has been shown to kill eggs, any chemical treatment must be reapplied after any eggs have hatched, ie. five to seven days after the first treatment." Biology NSW Government Department of Health

"Unfortunately, the management and treatment of head lice is surrounded by a large amount of misinformation and myth, particularly about their habits and what is and isn't an effective treatment." NSW Government Department of Health

To assist you to combat these annoying creatures:
NSWPublic Schools and NSWHealth present:

NSW DET video on head lice show you how to get rid of head lice.

NSWPublic Schools and NSWHealth present:

For further support and information go to http://www.health.nsw.gov.au/headlice

Please check your child’s hair regularly and if necessary apply a suitable product to remove the lice.

"Sometimes you may need to reapply the lotion two or even three times.

All eggs must be removed to successfully eradicate the lice.

We understand that it is a difficult and tiresome job to do
but unless all the eggs are removed  they can re-hatch over night."

 NSW Government Department of Health

For further support and information go to

To lighten the mood watch this video:

Kids' who read, succeed!!! Cheers :-)

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Walk to school and enjoy the benefits.

Walk Safely to School Day      Friday 23 May 2014

Walk Safely to School Day (WSTSD) is an annual, national event when all Primary School children will be encouraged to walk and commute safely to school.

It is a Community Event seeking to promote Road Safety, Health, Public Transport and the Environment.

It will be held throughout Australia on Friday 23 May 2014. Read the recent Media Release.

Andrea Rowe blogs:

How did walking to school become the exception?

  • "There's a smaller proportion of children walking to school than at any time in history, but most parents say they'd prefer to walk if they could. So what's the problem?

Why aren't we walking our kids to school more often?

  • Andrea Rowe looks into the barriers and benefits of walking to school." 
  • The objectives of WSTSD are:
    • To encourage parents and carers to walk to school with primary school age children and reinforce safe pedestrian behaviour.
    • To promote the health benefits of walking and help create regular walking habits at an early age.
    • To ensure that children up to 10 years old hold an adult's hand when crossing the road.
    • To help children develop the vital road-crossing skills they will need as they become mature pedestrians.
    • To reduce the car dependency habits that are being created at an early age and which will be difficult to change as children become adults.
    • To promote the use of Public Transport.
    • To reduce the level of air pollution created by motor vehicles.
    • To reduce the level of traffic congestion.

Further reading:
The Link Between Kids Who Walk or Bike to School and ConcentrationKids' who read, succeed!!! Cheers :-)