By Small Talk Speech Pathology

Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Free Printable Compliments Poster

love is in the air this month thanks to Valentines Day, so why not kick off February a day early and fill your home, classroom or office with these lovely free printable compliment posters courtesy of Kind Over Matter.


Free Compliments Poster PDF

Print as is or have your little ones come up with their own loving messages for their family or classmates with the blank version below

happy loving everyone

L xx

Friday, 27 January 2012

Painting With Wax on Rocks - Ideas for Outside Play

This post come  from the wonderful blog
pop over and take a look at the other wonderful outside play ideas they have.

smooth rocks
cookie sheet
crayons (wrappers peeled off)
hot pad holders
a heat resistant cover for the table


1. Gather the smoothest rocks you can find and give them a good bath.
2. Put clean rocks on the cookie sheet and put in a 350 degree oven for 15 minutes. I’ve seen people put aluminum foil on the bottom of the cookie sheet, but this isn’t really necessary.

3. Peel crayons while you wait for the rocks to get hot.

4. Using a hot pad holder- CAREFULLY (HOT), place the rock on a heat resistant surface. Note- wax paper isn’t the best choice for this project.

5. Start melting the crayons on the rocks. It’s so pretty to watch the wax melt all over the rock. It’s more like painting with wax than coloring.
6. I kept the rocks waiting to be ”painted” in the hot oven to keep them hot while the girls worked on individual ones.
Warning- best for children 7 and up. Be careful of burning  fingers on the hot wax as well as the actual hot rock.

happy painting,

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Happy Trees - Ideas for Outside Play

The inspiration for this comes from

Little Page Turners' Happy Trees post!

Using leaves, flowers, grass & berries from their backyard, along with a few thumbtacks, they made their trees smile!

To target language while you play try focusing on nature naming words e.g.
- leaf, berry, grass, bark etc.
Or face naming words e.g.
- eyes, nose, mouth, eyebrows, cheeks etc.

For your older or more advanced children try comparing and contrasting e.g.
- the berry is like an eye because its small and round
- the grass isn't like a nose because it's too long and thin

Have fun everyone!


Friday, 20 January 2012

Chinese New Year Activities for Kids

Chinese New Year is a wonderful celebration that we can all enjoy regardless of where we come from.  We have found a wonderful site with activities for your little ones to learn all about this ancient event that is celebrated all across Asia.  


What Is Chinese New Year?

Ref: Activity

Chinese New Year is one of the most important holidays in Asia.  It is a time of feasting with the family, celebration, fireworks and gift-giving. It is a 15-day holiday beginning on the first day of a new moon and ending with the full moon on the day of the Lantern Festival.

The Chinese calendar is based on the lunar year, so the date of Chinese New Year changes every year. The Chinese calendar follows a 12-year pattern with each year named after an animal. There are various stories which explain this. The simplest is that Buddha (or the Jade Emperor) invited all of the animals to join him for a New Year celebration, but only 12 animals turned up. To reward the animals that did come, Buddha named a year after each of them in the order that they arrived, starting with the Rat, followed by the Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Goat (or Sheep), Monkey, Rooster, Dog and Pig.  Depending on the year you are born, you are believed to have the various character traits of that year's animal.

About Chinese New Year

Chinese New Year is a celebration of change ... out with the old and in with the new!

The events that occur during New Year’s Day can impact the rest of your year. Traditionally it is suggested that you be careful with your actions.  Greet people with joy. To ensure a prosperous and healthy year, you should stimulate positive energy flow at home and at work.

Everything associated with Chinese New Year's Day should represent good fortune.  Bright colours such as red, orange and gold are considered to be lucky. 

Chinese New Year activities

Please visit Activity Village for loads of Chinese New Year activities including stories, posters, colouring in pages, craft and puzzles.

Please click here  to access these wonderful resources with thanks to Activity Village

Happy Chinese New Year Everyone! 
Wishing you all the most prosperous year in 2012!
Vanessa & Lauren

Gender Stereotyping of Toys Through The Eyes of a Child.

Ten Tips for Helping Your Child Adjust to School

So she’s off to school every morning now, like a big kid.  But instead of the exuberance you expected, you find many days – especially Monday -- starting with tears, or maybe a tummy-ache.  Don’t worry, it’s not unusual for kids to need a little extra help adjusting to the start of school.  What can you do?
1.  Facilitate your child’s bonding with the teacher.  Kids need to transfer their attachment focus to their teacher to be ready to learn. If you notice that your child doesn’t feel good about his teacher, contact her immediately.  Just explain that he doesn’t seem to have settled in yet, and you hope she can make a special effort to reach out to him so he feels at home.  Any experienced teacher will understand and pay extra attention to him for a bit.
2. Facilitate bonding with the other kids. Kids need to feel bonded with at least one other child. Ask the teacher if she’s noticed who your child is hanging with.  Ask him which kids he’d like to invite over to play.  If he isn’t comfortable with how the other child would respond to a playdate invitation, you can always invite the mom with her kid for ice cream after school, or the entire family for Friday night dinner.  You don’t need anything fancier than pasta, and by the end of the meal, the kids will be racing around the house like long lost buddies.  And who knows?  Maybe you and the mom will hit it off.
3. Give your child a way to hold onto you during the day. For many kids, the biggest challenge is saying goodbye to you. Develop a parting ritual, such as a hug and a saying: “I love you, you love me, have a great day and I’ll see you at 3!”  Most kids like a laminated picture of the family in their pencil box.  Many also like a token for their pocket, such as a paper heart with a love note, or a pebble you found on the beach together.
4. Calm her fears.  Most school anxiety is caused by worries that adults might find silly, such as the fear that you’ll die or disappear while she’s at school. Point out that naturally people who love each other don’t like parting, but she’ll have fun, you’ll be absolutely fine, the school can always contact you, and your love is always with her even when you aren’t.  End every conversation with the reassurance “You know I ALWAYS come back” so she can repeat this mantra to herself if she worries.
5. Stay connected.  Make sure that every day after school you have special time with your big girl to hear all about her day, whether it’s a 3pm snack or a long snuggle after lights-out.
6. Be alert for signs about why your child is worried.  Most of the time, kids do fine after a few weeks.  But occasionally, their unhappiness indicates a more serious issue: he’s being bullied, or can’t see the blackboard, or doesn’t understand anything and is afraid to speak up.  Ask calm questions about his day, listen deeply, and reflect what he tells you so he’ll keep talking.  Start conversations by reading books about school together; your librarian can be helpful.  Offer your own positive school stories (“I was so nervous the first week I couldn’t even use the bathroom at school but then I met my best friend Maria and I loved first grade”) and the assurance that he’ll feel right at home soon.  If you sense a bigger issue that you can’t unearth, it’s time to call the teacher.
Photo: Sizumaru7. Ease the transition. If your child gets teary when you say goodbye, use your goodbye routine and reassure her that she’ll be fine and you’ll be waiting at the end of the day.  If she continues to have a hard time separating, see if the teacher can give her a special job every morning to ease the transition.
8. Make sure you’re a few minutes early to pick your child up.  Not seeing you immediately will exacerbate any anxieties.
9. Downplay the time younger kids spend with you at home. If a younger sibling is at home with you, be sure your older child knows how boring it is at home and how much the younger sib wishes she could go to big kids’ school. 
10. Create a calm household routine with early bedtimes and peaceful mornings.  If you have to wake your kids in the morning, they aren’t getting enough sleep. Kids who aren’t well-rested don’t have the internal resources to cope with goodbyes, much less the rigors of the school day.  Start moving bedtime earlier every night by having him read in bed before lights out, which also improves his reading.  And get yourself to bed early too, so you can deal calmly with the morning rush and get everyone off to a happy start.
Via Aha! Parenting

Have a wonderful last weekend of school holidays everyone!

Thursday, 19 January 2012

Understanding NAPLAN

Understanding Naplan Testing In Australian Schools

By Fiona Baker 
Every year, students in years 3, 5, 7 and 9 in public and private schools around the country sit the same literacy and numeracy tests. It’s called NAPLAN – The National Assessment Program: Literacy and Numeracy. How important is NAPLAN testing for your child? Should parents get their kids tutored? Is it a true guide to how your child is performing?

Over three days in Term 2, students are tested on language conventions, writing, reading and numeracy. These are all then gathered up nationally and marked, with schools, and later parents, receiving the results usually around the end of Term 3.

The aim of these tests is to measure how Australian students and their schools are performing in the important areas of literacy and numeracy.

Parents receive a printed out sheet featuring several bands which mark where their child sits on the national achievement scale, what the average mark was, and where their school’s average was.
Its purposes are many – these are not meant to be only about individual student performances but also to enable schools to identify their own strengths and weaknesses and to provide an overview on how the curriculum is working nationally.

Should children be coached for NAPLAN?

No, according to Dr Debra Bateman, senior lecturer at Deakin University’s School of Education. Tutoring kids to do well in the NAPLAN defeats the purpose of it on many levels, because it would artificially inflate results and mask the areas of need in the student, the school and the curriculum.
All the official literature on NAPLAN also actively discourages the coaching of students before the tests. However, it does acknowledge the teachers will ensure students are prepared for the tests and will provide appropriate support and guidance.
You can access past tests at the NAPLAN website.

Why does NAPLAN matter?

NAPLAN testing is part of the federal government's moves to create a national curriculum and measure consistency between state-based education systems.

The results of every Australia school's NAPLAN tests are published on the MySchool website. The NAPLAN colour coding results on the MySchool website can be confusing, but the coloured strips above the smaller numbers in black shows whether the school identified is doing better, worse or about the same as schools statistically the same and all schools in general. Basically speaking, a chart on the MySchool website with lots of dark or light green bars is good, whereas a lot of pink and red bars is not such a good report of NAPLAN results.

Hopefully this information has helped everyone get their heads around the hot topic of NAPLAN!
Vanessa & Lauren

Packet-a-likes! Lunch box snacks to make from scratch


Lunch Box Snacks
Sick of forking out every week at the supermarket for expensive lunch box snacks? Create these easy lunch box treats which are just like the store-bought snacks, but made by you. Kidspot Kitchen brings you the make-from-scratch versions of the packaged lunch box treats kids enjoy.

If your kids like Roll-Ups, create these homemade fruit leathers 

Kids love Roll-Ups in their lunch box, but mums don't. They're not only expensive, but laden in sugar and artificial colours too. Make your own healthy fruit leathers with this recipe - minus the price tag and scary additives.
Try the Homemade fruit leathers lunch box recipe


If your kids like muesli bars, create these homemade muesli bars

For a muesli bar that tastes just like the supermarket kind, give this homemade version a whirl. Kids will love the flavour and being energy-rich they will fuel little brains right through afternoon classes.
Try the Homemade muesli bars lunch box recipe

If your kids like Yogo, create homemade chocolate puddings

What child isn't a fan of Yogo? Ditch the pricey, supermarket-bought Yogo and make your own on-the-cheap with this recipe. It's creamy, chocolate-y and as yummy as the real thing. Just pack it into small containers and kids will never know the difference.
Try the Homemade chocolate pudding for lunch boxes recipe

If your kids like LCM bars, create these mallow bars

For a sweet treat just like LCM bars, try these mallow bars. This recipe can be whipped up quick with just a few ingredients, looks like actual LCM's - and makes the best lunch box reward after a big morning of school work.
Try the Homemade marshmallow bar lunch box recipe

If your kids like Nutella, create homemade chocolate spread

You can make your own chocolate, hazelnut spread for kids' sandwiches with this easy recipe. It not only looks and tastes like Nutella, but costs a pittance to make as well.
Try the Homemade chocolate and hazelnut spread for the lunch box recipe 


If your kids like donuts, create your own iced or plain donuts

Cinammon covered, glazed or strawberry iced - donuts are a guaranteed hit with any child. Save money at the canteen by making a batch from scratch.
Try the Homemade donuts as a lunch box recipe 


If your kids like cheesymite scrolls, create your own cheese and vegemite scrolls

This cheesymite scroll recipe is just as good as those in any top-notch bakery. The vegemite will fuel kids for those afternoon classes - plus they freeze well for future snacking.
Try the Cheese and vegemite scrolls lunch box recipe



If your kids like finger buns, create your own iced finger buns

This finger buns recipe will put any supermarket equivalent to shame. These sweet buns are fluffy, loaded with juicy sultanas and covered in a gooey pink icing....
Try the Homemade iced finger buns lunch box recipe


If your kids like packaged pikelets, create your own homemade pikelets

Whether you pack them into lunch boxes straight up, or with a little container of jam or honey, this yummy pikelet recipe will put a smile on any child's face. They also cost a fraction of the cost of store bought ones, so why not batch cook and freeze them for later?
Try the Mum's homemade pikelets for lunch boxes recipe


If your kids like Arnott's Monte Carlo biscuits, create your own version of Monte Carlos

Sick of your kids fighting over the last Monte Carlo biscuit? Surprise kids by packing this homemade version into their lunch boxes. This recipe is surprisingly easy and cheap, tastes just like the real thing and may just to start a wave of class-wide lunch box envy.
Try the Homemade Monte Carlo biscuits for lunch boxes recipe


And why not get your kids involved in the preparation & cooking process? This could help you save time and increase their awareness of what goes into their food..and eventually into their tummies!
 Happy cooking & snacking!
Vanessa & Lauren X
10 things teachers wished you knew
By Lynne Hughes
10 things teachers wished you knew

A good parent/teacher relationship is important for making the most of the school year. Yet so many parents fail to communicate with their child's teacher properly, or worse, say or do something to damage the relationship. We asked Sydney primary school teacher, Elyse Pitcher, to reveal the 10 things every teacher wished parents knew to help you be the 'best parent in class'.

1. Have a set morning routine

Kids thrive on routine and a structured morning routine will set your child up for the day says Elyse, adding that it should always include a big, nutritious breakfast. "If your usual routine includes television, just be aware that children who watch tv in the morning are not in the right frame of mind for school. Instead, give your child responsibilities to increase their independence, such as making their beds or packing their own bags," Elyse recommends.

2. Be on time every time

Elyse says teachers love parents who respect bell times explaining that being late to school means your child walks into a lesson that is already underway. "It is embarrassing for your child and it can take them a while to settle down and focus on the lesson," she says.

3. Chill out and don't be so defensive  

Elyse says while she understands it's easy to get defensive if a teacher tells you your child is falling behind in a certain area, it's important to remember that it's bound to happen at sometime in every child's education. She advises before reacting defensively, parents take a breath and really listen to what the teacher is telling them, so that they can both work together to help bring your child up to speed with the rest of the class.

4. Know your child's timetable  

Yes, you are busy, but so is your child. According to Elyse, your child will feel more comfortable about school if you are on top of their routine. She advises you have a weekly calendar with everything that is on at school, such as library day, sports day, mufti days, and project due dates.

 5. Think about what you share with your child  

"Some parents talk about how they don't want their baby to start school/go on camp, because they will miss them. Children take these things literally," says Elyse, who advises parents not to put their worries on their child. "Your anxieties become their anxieties," she says. "Talk about it later with your partner and save your tears until then."

6. Keep an open mind 

As kids are not developed enough mentally to take in all perspectives of an event, Elyse asks parents to keep an open mind when children are telling them about a school incident. "You may hear a story from them about something that happened at school. If it upsets you, ask questions and think about what seems to make the most sense," she says, advising that if you are still unhappy, talk to your chld's teacher about it.

7. A thank you goes a long way! 

"Teachers often say that we never see a parent unless they have a problem with something," says Elyse. "We always love a smile, a wave, or a quick chat with parents."

8. Teachers wear many hats but can't be responsible for everything  

Primary school teachers are responsible for many different jobs and teach a range of different subjects. But they are not responsible for everything to do with your child, says Elyse, adding that they are not qualified doctors, speech therapists, or nutritionists so try not to take offense if they refer your child to someone with more specific knowledge.

9. Homework is not a way for teachers to get back at parents  

Homework, if given out correctly, is the consolidation of the week's lessons. According to Elyse, you and your child's teacher should use it as a method of monitoring your child's progress. "If your child struggles, or finds the homework too easy, let the teacher know, because homework can be modified."

10. The teacher is on your side  

Elyse emphasises that teachers care about your child and have their best interests at heart. "They teach because they love children." Yes, even yours.

We hope these tips help you establish a wonderful rapport with your child's new teacher for 2012!
Vanessa & Lauren

Activities to Encourage Speech and Language Development


breakfast time Birth to 2 Years

  • Encourage your baby to make vowel-like and consonant-vowel sounds such as "ma," "da," and "ba."
  • Reinforce attempts by maintaining eye contact, responding with speech, and imitating vocalizations using different patterns and emphasis. For example, raise the pitch of your voice to indicate a question.
  • Imitate your baby's laughter and facial expressions.
  • Teach your baby to imitate your actions, including clapping you hands, throwing kisses, and playing finger games such as pat-a-cake, peek-a-boo, and the itsy-bitsy-spider.
  • Talk as you bathe, feed, and dress your baby. Talk about what you are doing, where you are going, what you will do when you arrive, and who and what you will see.
  • Identify colors.
  • Count items.
  • Use gestures such as waving goodbye to help convey meaning.
  • Introduce animal sounds to associate a sound with a specific meaning: "The doggie says woof-woof."
  • Acknowledge the attempt to communicate.
  • Expand on single words your baby uses: "Here is Mama. Mama loves you. Where is baby? Here is baby."
  • Read to your child. Sometimes "reading" is simply describing the pictures in a book without following the written words. Choose books that are sturdy and have large colorful pictures that are not too detailed. Ask your child, "What's this?" and encourage naming and pointing to familiar objects in the book.

2 to 4 Years

  • Use good speech that is clear and simple for your child to model.
  • Repeat what your child says indicating that you understand. Build and expand on what was said. "Want juice? I have juice. I have apple juice. Do you want apple juice?"
  • Use baby talk only if needed to convey the message and when accompanied by the adult word. "It is time for din-din. We will have dinner now."
  • Make a scrapbook of favorite or familiar things by cutting out pictures. Group them into categories, such as things to ride on, things to eat, things for dessert, fruits, things to play with. Create silly pictures by mixing and matching pictures. Glue a picture of a dog behind the wheel of a car. Talk about what is wrong with the picture and ways to "fix" it. Count items pictured in the book.
  • Help your child understand and ask questions. Play the yes-no game. Ask questions such as "Are you a boy?" "Are you Marty?" "Can a pig fly?" Encourage your child to make up questions and try to fool you.
  • Ask questions that require a choice. "Do you want an apple or an orange?" "Do you want to wear your red or blue shirt?"
  • Expand vocabulary. Name body parts, and identify what you do with them. "This is my nose. I can smell flowers, brownies, popcorn, and soap."
  • Sing simple songs and recite nursery rhymes to show the rhythm and pattern of speech.
  • Place familiar objects in a container. Have your child remove the object and tell you what it is called and how to use it. "This is my ball. I bounce it. I play with it."
  • Use photographs of familiar people and places, and retell what happened or make up a new story.

4 to 6 Years

  • When your child starts a conversation, give your full attention whenever possible.
  • Make sure that you have your child's attention before you speak.
  • Acknowledge, encourage, and praise all attempts to speak. Show that you understand the word or phrase by fulfilling the request, if appropriate.
  • Pause after speaking. This gives your child a chance to continue the conversation.
  • Continue to build vocabulary. Introduce a new word and offer its definition, or use it in a context that is easily understood. This may be done in an exaggerated, humorous manner. "I think I will drive the vehicle to the store. I am too tired to walk."
  • Talk about spatial relationships (first, middle, and last; right and left) and opposites (up and down; on and off).
  • Offer a description or clues, and have your child identify what you are describing: "We use it to sweep the floor" (a broom). "It is cold, sweet, and good for dessert. I like strawberry" (ice cream).
  • Work on forming and explaining categories. Identify the thing that does not belong in a group of similar objects: "A shoe does not belong with an apple and an orange because you can't eat it; it is not round; it is not a fruit."
  • Help your child follow two- and three-step directions: "Go to your room, and bring me your book."
  • Encourage your child to give directions. Follow his or her directions as he or she explains how to build a tower of blocks.
  • Play games with your child such as "house." Exchange roles in the family, with your pretending to be the child. Talk about the different rooms and furnishings in the house.
  • The television also can serve as a valuable tool. Talk about what the child is watching. Have him or her guess what might happen next. Talk about the characters. Are they happy or sad? Ask your child to tell you what has happened in the story. Act out a scene together, and make up a different ending.
  • Take advantage of daily activities. For example, while in the kitchen, encourage your child to name the utensils needed. Discuss the foods on the menu, their color, texture, and taste. Where does the food come from? Which foods do you like? Which do you dislike? Who will clean up? Emphasize the use of prepositions by asking him or her to put the napkin on the table, in your lap, or under the spoon. Identify who the napkin belongs to: "It is my napkin." "It is Daddy's." "It is John's."
  • While shopping for groceries, discuss what you will buy, how many you need, and what you will make. Discuss the size (large or small), shape (long, round, square), and weight (heavy or light) of the packages.
 Please use these activities/strategies as a general guide only. If you have any concerns regarding the development of your child's speech and or language - contact Vanessa or Lauren at 
Small Talk Speech Pathology

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Speech Sound Development Guide

Note: Use this as a general guide only. 
If you have any concerns regarding your child's development please contact your local Speech Pathologist or email Vanessa and Lauren at
smalltalksp at

Sunday, 15 January 2012

What Part of No Doesn't Your Child Understand?

via Aha! Parenting

"When we acknowledge our children’s right to want things, as well as their right to be upset when they can’t have what they want, it goes a long way toward defusing their anger and the tantrums that occur as a result.”  -- Nancy Samalin

The part of NO that our kids don't understand is the part where we make them feel bad about themselves and what they want, instead of just saying NO to the behavior.
How do you feel when you can't have something?  Maybe a nice vacation, or dinner at a fancy restaurant, or even just a few minutes to yourself?  Think how much better you feel when your spouse, or friend, responds to your desire like this:

"I see how much you want that....I wish you could have it...You deserve it....Wouldn't it be nice?"

But what if instead they say:

"No way!  What, are you crazy?! In your dreams!  Get over it!"  or, worse yet,"You're always wanting things! You're so greedy and self-centered! Do you think you're the center of the universe?"
From your perspective, your kid's desire to stay up later, swing from the lights at the doctor's office, or have her birthday party at a fancy place might be just plain nuts.  But if you can say YES to the feelings and desire, even while you say NO to the behavior or request, your child will feel (and act) a whole lot better.

 Like this:

"You wish you could stay up later.  When you're big, I bet you'll stay up all night, every night, right? But right now it's bedtime. Do want to pick a storybook or should I?"

"You're full of energy right now.  This isn't a good place for jumping around, but when we get outside, we can play a little in the park across the street before we head home. Want to play this puzzle game with me while we wait for the doctor?"

"You wish you could have a party at that place, but we can't afford it. I see how disappointed you are, Sweetie.  I know you want a really great party where all the kids will have lots of fun.  Let's brainstorm about how to have a really fun party in our backyard.  Should everyone bring bathing suits and have a water fight? Should we make a special cake together?"
You might even post a little sign on your refrigerator or car dashboard:

Allow feelings, Limit behavior.

Australia Day Activities for Kids

Here are some Australia day themed tasks for the kids - all courtesy of Australia Day

There are loads of activities and ideas to keep the little ones busy throughout the school holidays.

Use colour and creativity to make these Australian animals come alive or turn the finished masterpiece into a fun mask by attaching some elastic to either end.
There’s also a crossword, find a word, join the dots and much more.... so get busy!