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Sep
22

Sharing the Wonder of Picture Books

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The team at Coffs Harbour Libraries loves to share picture books with the children who go to the library for storytime, and they love to provide them for families to borrow, read together and enjoy the journey they provide. Picture books are an important tool in early literacy development.

Picture books provide an opportunity to share words, images, concepts. They are visually engaging, and the story can be told through the images, usually with supporting text. They offer an opportunity for children to explore and be curious – vital for the development of young minds. Young children first observe, touch, point, ask, listen, remember, and recite, and then ultimately they read. Picture books help them learn to predict, think, confirm and enquire.

Sharing a picture book enables a child to:

  • learn how things work
  • understand things
  • discover new ideas

The words and pictures that are captured in a book can take you on a journey of adventure, discovery and learning.  The words and pictures are just the beginning of the story, and it is the child’s imagination that brings the story to life.  It is their creativity that adds the excitement and magic to what you are reading, and it is their curiosity that leads them to want to find out more!

We all learn about life by reading or listening to other people’s stories and children are no different.

As children develop their reading skill, they can share the stories with family members by reading to them.  A story comes to life when you read it out aloud.

Coffs Harbour Libraries has a large collection of picture books – take a look at the selection in the online catalogue.

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Sep
15

The Importance of Reading with Kids

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The following is a guest post by the lovely Judy from Coffs Harbour Library.

 

Read together with your children – it’s better than just talking.

Children learn through what they see & hear, and through the many experiences we provide, and a wonderful experience to share with children is to read a book together.  It is never too early to start – and it is never too late to start either!

Reading to children through infancy and early childhood can improve language skills and foster literacy development.  Reading and sharing a story promotes creativity and curiosity, which in turn boosts educational outcomes as children develop.

Reading exposes children to a wide range of words, with picture books having around 70 percent more unique words than we use in conversation.  Regular conversation is limited to the here and now, whereas books can take us on a journey within real or imagined worlds with no boundaries or limits to the sounds and images we can share.

Through books, we not only share the language, rhythms & rhymes of the story, but we share the artistic value as well.  With so many picture books, and beautifully illustrated information books available through the library, there is always something new to enjoy.

Bringing a book home at the end of a busy day is a good way to bring a ‘book habit’ into the home. Take time out to sit and share a story – just 10 minutes a day. It is an opportunity to share values, experiences and dreams with your children, and at the same time, instil in them a lifelong opportunity to enjoy wonderment and discovery through the world of reading.

  • During the first two years of life 75% of brain development occurs.
  • Reading a book is an easy way to have regular additional talking time together.
  • Talking, listening, singing and sharing books together is one of life’s simple pleasures and stimulates learning.
  • Songs and rhymes are especially good for children as the rhythms and repetition makes it easier to develop language skills.
  • Pictures and book characters are a great topic of conversation
  • Books provide your child with a source of new varied vocabulary.
  • There is a direct correlation between spoken vocabulary and ease of learning to read.

Check out the specialist collection of picture books at the library https://coffsharbour.spydus.com/cgi-bin/spydus.exe/MSGTRN/OPAC/HOME

or make the most of our online reading and picture book resources http://libraries.coffsharbour.nsw.gov.au/youngpeople/Pages/Children.aspx

 

 

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Well it seems that the ABC program “War on Waste” has caused waves around Australia when it comes to our shopping and throwaway habits. I wrote a blog post a couple weeks ago on what my family have changed to do our part and I received a lovely message from Megan Jones, another local Mum who is concerned about the impact our household habits are having on the environment. I invited Megan to write an article and here it is! LOVE it! Thanks Megan!

Plastic free July is upon us. As mentioned in ABC’s recently aired “War on Waste”. there are four main contributors to plastic pollution: take away coffee cups, bottled water, drinking straws and single-use plastic bags. For those not in the know, Plastic Free July seeks to highlight the growing issue of plastic waste and, ultimately, it’s impact upon animals and the environment. It challenges us as consumers to change our perspectives and, after a month of giving up the “big 4”, hopefully change our habits as well.

Australia wide, people are taking a stand against plastic pollution. In a time when supermarkets pre-package everything from sweet potatoes to a single banana in cellophane encased plastic trays, activists like Anita Horan, with her #PlasticFreeProduce campaign, seek to remind us that life hasn’t always been wrapped in plastic, nor is it necessary, healthy or somehow more hygienic to place each item of produce for purchase in its own barrier bag!

With an increasing movement calling to ban the bag, a ban on single use plastic bags is already in place in Tasmania, South Australia, Northern Territory and ACT, with Queensland to follow in 2018. In Port Macquarie, a community run campaign, Ban the Bag-Reuse your Bag Port Macquarie, is leading the way, calling for a town-wide ban on plastic bags, which has seen many businesses enlisted in the effort.

Throughout Australia, in an effort to reduce the number of disposable coffee cups that end up in landfill each year, the Responsible Cafes initiative invites customers to bring their own, reusable cup to a participating cafe where they might receive a discount on the price of their coffee. And I’m sure you have heard of Boomerang Bags, “…a grassroots community driven movement” whose volunteers use “…recycled materials, as a means to provide a sustainable alternative to plastic bags.”

Each of these endeavours encourages us to be more mindful of our choices and the impact we have as consumers.  So how can you get involved? Whether you have pledged to take the challenge, are looking to join the war on waste here in Coffs Harbour, or simply want to cut back on the amount of plastic in your life, outlined below are just some of the local businesses that can help you find what you need to become a member of the reuse revolution. There are also groups where you can contribute to community projects aimed at reducing the impact of plastic waste at a local level.

Wondering about a business that isn’t listed below? Don’t be afraid to approach them and inquire. Though it may be an unusual request, a local butcher, bakery or restaurant may well be open to placing their products in a container you have brought from home rather than their own plastic packaging.

Affordable Wholefoods, located on Little Street, sells a wide range of “organic, non-organic and gluten free products” in bulk, and encourages its customers to bring their own bags or containers. Buy what you need and avoid plastic waste altogether! Find them on Facebook or visit their website at www.affordablewholefoods.com.au

Go Vita, located in Coffs Central, sells some bulk foods, single, unwrapped bars of soap, drinks in glass bottles and bamboo toothbrushes. Find them on Facebook.

Nourished Earth, a recently opened health food shop, located in Moonee, carries loose organic produce, a variety of bulk wholefoods and a range of food, drink and health and beauty products in sustainable packaging in addition to having a bulk beauty bar. Find them on Facebook, check out their website, www.nourishedearth.com.au, or drop in for a visit at the Moonee Marketplace.

Red Sparrow Tea Company, located in Coffs Central, are happy to fill any container you might bring in with one of their gourmet loose leaf teas (the flavours available being dependent on what they happen to have unpackaged in store on the day). Visit them on Facebook, or visit their website at www.redsparrowteacompany.com.au. When you stop in don’t forget to being your own cup for a takeaway tea or tea latte and receive a 50c discount!

The Happy Frog is a popular local cafe and shop which sells a range of products from loose produce and bulk foods, to reusable goods like coffee cups, straws, cutlery, shopping and produce bags. Find them on Facebook or check out their website at www.thehappyfrog.com.au, or drop in for a coffee at 16 Park Avenue, and don’t forget to bring your reusable cup to receive a 50c discount! 

?? BYO REUSEABLE JARS ?? $1
Get onboard with reducing your waste and purchase a reusable jar for your coffee, smoothie or juice takeaways at The Happy Frog!
GET > 0.50C discount forever on your refills!
PLUS > $5 extra buys a knitted cosy and a 100% donation to Wrap With Love Inc Charity.

Palate & Ply, formally Artisti, will not only knock 20 cents off of your take away coffee when you bring your own cup, if you bring your own container they will also happily fill it with beans or grounds from one of their single origin coffees which are stored in hoppers on the walls. They can even make a blend for you if you would like. Or, if you have developed a preference for one of their blends, but still want to take it home in your own container, you can call the Artisti factory to check product availability and then pop by 3/11 Craft Close, Toormina, on a Monday between 7am and 3pm to pick it up. Coffee without the packaging! Find them on Facebook,  shop online at www.artisti.com.au or stop by for a coffee at 37 Vernon Street.

JC Espresso offer a range of reusable coffee cups and a fourty-cent discount on takeaway coffee when you bring in your own cup. Find them on Facebook or visit them at 157 Orlando Street.

Dark Arts Coffee Academy, located in Cox Lane, carries a range of reusable coffee cups and, if gardening is your thing, bring in a container to collect some spent coffee grounds for your compost bin, free of charge. Check them out on Facebook to find out more.

Hannah’s Happy Wraps offer a completely biodegradable alternative to cling film. Locally produced and handmade from tree resin, jojoba oil, beeswax and cotton. Ditch the plastic cling film and find them on Facebook or Instagram (hannashappywrap), or check out the shop at www.hannahshappywrap.com.au.

TotesGreen sell reusable cotton produce bags, handmade in Coffs Harbour, as a sustainable alternative to the single use plastic bags we are all in the habit of reaching for when buying fruit and veg during the weekly shop. Find them on Facebook or Instagram (totesgr33n), or shop at totesgreen.bigcartel.com

Lazy Girl Green locally produces a range of ethical, handmade beauty and wellness products from  natural ingredients that are sold in sustainable packaging, which customers are encouraged to refill. Find her on Facebook or Instagram, or purchase Lazy Girl’s products at lazygirlgreen.bigcartel.com

Folk Body Care make “ethical soap and body care products” right here in Coffs. Products sold in plastic-free packaging include bar soap which comes in cardboard boxes, and hair serum and beard oil, which is sold in glass bottles. Products are shipped to retailers using cardboard shipper boxes with ‘ecofill’ void-filling beans. Local stockists of Folk products include IGA Jetty, Liberty Providores (Urunga), and Soul Kindle (Bellingen).  Find them on Facebook or visit the website at  www.folkbodycare.com.au to check out their full range.

Bellamy Skincare can be found selling their range of handmade, sustainably packaged buffalo milk soaps and barber products, such as beard oil, moustache wax, beard balm and aftershave lotion, at the Sunday markets which are now held at Park Beach Reserve. Find them on Facebook or at www.bellamyskincare.com.au.

Kombu Wholefoods has a massive array of bulk foods available for sale and a number of eco-friendly products ranging from skincare to food, clothing and more. Visit their gorgeous store at Bellingen or check them out on Facebook. And to celebrate Plastic Free July they are offering 10% off all their already discounted bulk right through the month.

 

Fancy getting involved? Join the local Boomerang Bags community to help reduce the use of plastic bags and build a more sustainable Coffs Harbour. Whether you are good with a sewing machine or have never sewn at all, there are jobs for everyone and all are welcome. In addition, members of the Boomerang Bags community are being encouraged to host home workshops to which other members are invited to attend and contribute. Fancy hosting a workshop or going along to a sewing bee? Join the group on Facebook to keep abreast of upcoming sewing bees and other events or find them on boomerangbags.org.

Sea Shepherd Marine Debris Campaign, Australia are a non-profit organisation committed to conserving Australia’s “…marine environment, preventing and removing the unprecedented amount of marine debris entering our oceans and waterways.” Follow them on Facebook to receive updates about the location and dates of upcoming beach clean ups, or find them online at www.seashepherd.org.au/marinedebris. All volunteers are welcome.

 

But you don’t have to join an organised beach clean up to fight plastic pollution. Take Three, a non profit organisation, encourages you to pick up and take 3 pieces of rubbish with you when you leave the beach (or anywhere), in the belief that what may seem like a small action can amount to a significant impact. Follow them on Facebook, tag them on Instagram and share your #TAKE3FORTHESEA with others, or check them out online at www.take3.org where you can sign up for their newsletter and keep up to date on events.

 

If you know of any other local businesses doing their part to help the #waronwaste, or any other local initiatives to reduce plastic please comment on our Facebook page or leave a comment below. We don’t want to leave anyone out!

 

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Sep
18

Overcoming Mummy Exhaustion

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tired mum

Thanks to Aaryan Smith, local naturopath, for writing this article.

I see exhausted Mother’s in my clinic each week with symptoms ranging from utter exhaustion, anxiety, teariness, horrible PMS symptoms, headaches, insomnia, low libido, depression, digestive upset and skin breakouts. Juggling multiple roles is really common for Mums these days with some combining paid work, being a fulltime mother, canteen, P & C, cleaning, cooking, peace maker, fundraising, sports, and the list just keeps going. I’ve also found that many Mums in Coffs are by themselves during the week or for even weeks at a time as their partners work away.

Talking about your feelings with someone you trust is a great place to start if you’re feeling stressed, anxious or down. I find that some Mums don’t feel comfortable talking to people they know so they take comfort in chatting to someone impartial like myself, their GP or other health professionals. If your symptoms are more physical or hormonal keeping a record of when and what your symptoms are is also really useful. Implementing regular exercise, eating a nourishing diet and adequate sleep is also essential for optimal health and wellbeing. Many Mums I see have problems with getting enough sleep whether that be from night feeds or stress and most Mums tell me that they need help balancing their diets so we also address this in our consultations.  One of the major things us Mums always forget is time out for ourselves. A good starting point is to think about activities that you used to really enjoy before kids and try to create strategies in your lifestyle so that these can be included once again.

While regular exercise and nourishing food are the basics, I often need to look deeper into your story and this is when a naturopathy consultation is useful. Do you have a hormonal imbalance that is contributing to your fatigue, mood swings or acne? Your diet may be low in key nutrients which form the building blocks for your brain chemicals which affect how you’re feeling. Are you unable to detoxify certain hormones or toxins from your body contributing to poor skin, abdominal weight gain, or PMS? My consultations include a comprehensive health history, full body system review, dietary review and functional pathology testing if we need further information.  I also have some mothers who come to me for a therapeutic remedial massage and this is all some need to recharge their batteries.

Being a mother is the toughest job you will ever undertake but it will also be the most rewarding. Look after yourself and forgive yourself for being slightly selfish on the odd occasion so that you can be a healthier and happier Mum.

Aaryan works from her professional clinic in the beautiful village of Nana Glen, a short picturesque drive from Coffs Harbour.   She is available for consultations by calling 0414 344 865 or emailing info@aaryansmith.com. Also take a look at her website – www.aaryansmith.com and Facebook page.

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