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Three children playing with water

Beating loneliness and making friends

We all want our children to have friends. Being socially successful is a source of fun but also critical to a child’s development. Speaker, author and academic Dr Michael Nagel examines friendship and how it lays the groundwork for other lifelong skills.

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Young boy climbing

Risky play: Why it benefits children

Often our instincts will scream at us to get involved and stop our children from engaging in risky behaviours. But with the benefits of risky play to our child’s development being well documented, it is useful to understand appropriate risk.

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Gardens teach children lifelong skills

Whether the garden is part of the backyard, a few pots on a balcony or part of a community garden, the benefits of gardening in the preschool years are more than just about playing with dirt. They include opportunities for maths, science, art and play.

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Mothers and their children in a sensory play group

Play: How and why to play with your child

Parents have an important role in growing their child’s imagination through play which enhances their thinking later in life. Laureate Professor Marilyn Fleer says her work shows how important it is for carers to play in new ways with their children.

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Litte girl playing at being a carpenter

Supporting toddlers’ pretend play

While it is easy to overlook the importance of make believe play, the ability to pretend is a cornerstone of children’s cognitive development. Professor of Early Childhood Sheila Degotardi looks at why it is important and how we can encourage it.

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Girl with muticolored paint covering face smiling

The hidden support playgroups provide

At playgroup, parents and carers get together with their children for a couple of hours each week to create social networks, connect and learn through play. Studies are also showing the positive impact playgroups are having on children's development.

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Young girl playing with toys

When too many toys are a big distraction

It’s not unusual for parents to complain their children have too many toys, usually because of clutter. However a study has found that having an abundance of toys may not be a great thing, as it prevents children from being as creative as possible.

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Supporting children through play

At a time when most Australian parents are spending more time with our young children than ever before, the idea of how to engage children through play is more relevant than ever. Professor Marilyn Fleer shares a technique called Conceptual Playworlds.

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