The beginning of a new school year is a wonderful time to think about what lies ahead and to set goals! Creating a time capsule is a fun project for your child - fill it at the beginning of the school year, and open at the end.
The following are included on this Time Capsule Activity Sheet:
- Measure and record your child's height, note their hair colour and shoe size.
- Trace your child's hand on a piece of paper at the beginning of the year. Trace over it at the end of the year with another colour to see how much it has grown!
- Write down your favourite song, book, animal etc!
- Write about your friends
- Make a prediction about the school year.
- Write about a current event or place a news clipping from the beginning of the year. Do the same at the end of the year! E.g. What inspired you during the Olympics?
- Write a note to yourself to read later! It could be a funny story to make yourself laugh, a piece of advice, or about something you want to achieve!
- Take a photo of your child during their first week of school.
- Put a memento from the summer holidays in the box
- You could write a letter to your child to open at the end of the school year – or ask a family member to.
- And more...! Include as much as you want, the more items you include, the more fun you’ll have later opening it. Be imaginative and ask your child what they'd like to include.
Once the items have been gathered, place them in a sturdy container and write a note on the top of the opening date. Store the container in a high place so your child isn't tempted to open it early and enter a reminder in your calendar, so you don't forget about the opening date!
Now for the exciting part – on the date you set, open the box! This will be exciting for you and your child! Encourage them to reflect on how they have changed, and what they have achieved in the year.
When you're done looking through the items in the time capsule, place some keepsakes from the school year into the box, for example small art projects that your child felt especially proud of, photos from After School Care and one of them on their last day of school. Keep the box as a memento to look back at in the future.
It's always nice to speak to your child about their day, but sometimes asking 'how was your day' can get tiring for both parent and child. Use these conversation starter cards to stimulate conversations about school.
Print and cut out the cards and use them as often as you want to find out more about their day, making sure to engage with their responses! If your child responds better to games, you can turn the conversation into a game, take turns to pick up a card and answer the question. If you only have one child, parents can answer questions about their own day, or even their own experiences of when they went to school.
With the new school year approaching fast, it's time to start looking at how to ensure a smooth transition into the new term for the whole family. Establishing traditions you can enjoy together at the end of summer as you welcome the new school year can help the whole family to enjoy and prepare for the changes ahead. It can also help those living a transient life to create a sense of stability and familiarity, wherever you are in the world! Here are our top tips for a smooth start!
Take a trip out to buy school supplies together. Let your child pick out their favourite pencil case, lunch box, water bottle and any other supplies they need. Remember, the more they like it, the more excited they will be to pack their bag before school!
Design name tags for your child’s belongings together. There are numerous websites where you can personalise stickers with fonts, colours and illustrations, allowing your child to express their personality! Click here to view an example!
Talk about the year ahead. Have a conversation about the different things your child will learn this year, about new teachers at school and friends in class! Will your child study any new classes this year?
Encourage your child to write a letter to give to their new teacher. They could tell their teacher about what they enjoyed doing over the summer, what they like to read and what they are excited to learn this year.
Establish a new routine before and after school. Routines support a sense of accomplishment in children and the routine should be simple and well-defined, with clear steps to follow. Design an easy-to-reference schedule together (with pictures!) that engage your child and provides a visual guide for what they need to do next. Include things like homework, teeth brushing, getting dressed, putting pyjamas on, and other daily tasks you want your child to do independently.
Ensure you have time to connect with your child. Try to create an open space where they know they can share their feelings with you - this will be helpful going through the inevitable ups and downs of school life. For younger kids, use these quiz cards designed by Zein International Childcare as conversation starters about school life. Turning this kind of discussion into a game helps children to open up – and is a lovely screen-free activity that you can use to get to know your child even better.
A calm start to the first day. On the first day of school, try to enjoy a stress-free atmosphere. Give the whole family plenty of time to get ready and enjoy a healthy, filling and special breakfast together as a family to celebrate the day.
It’s not all about homework. Organise time for your child to relax at the end of the school day – whether that’s at OSC or playing together for half an hour before tea.
Make sure you have arranged After School Care. After school care is a great option if you need regular childcare and want to ensure a stable routine for your child from the beginning of the academic year. Zein International Childcare is the leading provider of international childcare services in the Netherlands, offering Day Care, Pre-School, After School and Holiday Care across multiple locations in The Hague region. Our After School Care offers a worthy extension to the day and engages children in a wide range of sports, arts, music, theatre – of course, with plenty of friends around!
We are pleased to share that applications for our next International Talent Programme (ITP), to be held in autumn 2021, are now open! If you are interested in a career in international childcare, but not qualified to work with children in the Netherlands? We may have the answer!
Why choose the ITP?
Each time we run the International Talent Programme, we invite passionate, caring and experienced childcare professionals (both Dutch and international!) to obtain the necessary qualifications to work in childcare in the Netherlands.
Martina, an ITP graduate from the Spring Class of 2020, explains why she chose to follow the ITP: "Zein represents the opportunity to pursue what truly makes me accomplished in my work: being an international childcare teacher at a childcare in line with my own philosophy. I strongly believe in Zein’s education-based Montessori pedagogy and Reggio Emilia approach in a natural surrounding where every child can feel at home."
What does it entail?
Our ITP candidates follow an in-house training scheme and receive on-the-job training under the guidance of experienced Zein professionals. This combination allows you to effectively back up your own qualifications with experience and training that will allow you to work in international childcare at Zein. By entering the EVC procedure through this programme, you will also be allowed to skip the Dutch language element of the EVC process. Your training will be based in one of our locations around The Hague. Working on a daily basis within either Day Care or Out of School Care groups, you will receive on-job training under the guidance of experienced Zein professionals
The programme lasts 3-6 months, depending on your current experience/qualifications. When joining the scheme, you will be registered with the company that we work with in relation to the EVC procedure. Upon starting the programme, you will undertake a skills audit - the results of which will be used to create a tailor-made training programme for you. Additionally, you will be assigned a personal coach who will liaise with you throughout the education process, provide help and advice on the modules you will need to complete and competence-based evidence you will need to gather.
How do I apply?
Zein Summer Camps are always a highlight of the year! This Summer, children have enjoyed Multi-Activity, Circus, Multi-Sports, Music & Dance Movement Camps so far, so let's take a look at the highlights!
At Circus Camp, children learned how to juggle, as well enjoying exclusive use of the wonderful trampoline park TRIX on a field trip. Our Multi-Sports campers have been inspired by the Olympic Games and participated in exciting judo workshops as well as learning a sport called Knotshockey! Campers at the Multi-Activity Camp have enjoyed everything from baking healthy pizzas to creating a rocket from a bottle and making a parachute!
"Thank you for this week - our children had a fantastic time! Thank you to the whole team!" Elms Summer Camps Parent 2021
The Judo workshops, led by professional instructors have gone down exceptionally well with our Multi-Sports campers! A new sport to almost all children, they enjoyed learning the basics of the sport - especially rolling around on the safety mats! The day was structured in 2 parts: in the morning campers participated in Bootcamp Games and Team Activities, during which we also learned the basic rules of baseball. The second part was indoors, in the Judo gym, where we did a fun warm-up and then the instructors taught our sports stars easy Judo techniques.
Spotlight Article: Photography Camp!
One of the most popular camps is each year is Photography Camp – children love learning new skills and seeing the beautiful photos they have taken throughout the week.
We spoke to Thamy Gibson about her passion for both photography and childcare – as an After School Care teacher at Zein and a professional photographer, she is the perfect fit to lead Zein’s Photography Camp! Read the full article here!
One way to get kids interested in the Olympic Games is to host your own event! See the activity suggestions on this Activity Sheet for a day of sporting and crafty fun! Invite friends to participate or enjoy together as a household.
Don't forget to share your Home Olympics photos with us!
If you're looking for a more inspiration for summer fun, take a look at our Themed & Multi Activity Summer Camps which are open to all children aged 4 to 12 in The Hague and beyond!
The Summer Olympics are nearly here! Whether your child is a future football star, a bouncing gymnast or prefers the magic of the opening ceremony, we can all get excited about what is to come. These Zein at Home activities are all related to the Olympics and will get kids of all ages engaged in the event!
For a little history, learn all about the origins of the Olympic Games. The first Olympics took place in Ancient Greece, and whilst the sports were quite different back then (for example, chariot racing!), the athletes competed for glory and to demonstrate their athletic prowess. Read more here!
This summer, the Olympics will be held in Japan! You could do a Japanese themed day and eat noodles or sushi, learn about the famous landmarks and the different regions of the nation. Watch clips of the Olympic Torch Relay as athletes and locals carry the torch through the country. This takes place every Olympic cycle!
More than 196 countries take part in the Olympics! Are there some countries you haven’t heard of? Get an atlas or a map of the world and look at where these countries are. What are their flags? What is their population? Some small countries are incredibly successful in certain sports and it means a lot to them to be represented at the Olympics! Print out this blank flag image and colour it in with your favourite flag – or create your own. Don’t forget about the opening ceremony where each participating nation will carry its flag.
Speaking of sports, there are 46 different sports at the Olympics this year. Learn about the different sports – there are 46! In this Olympics, there are 6 new sports: surfing, karate, sport climbing, skateboarding, baseball and softball. Which sports do you enjoy? Are they being played at the Olympics? If you want to learn about the different sports, visit the Olympic Games website to watch their minute-long introductory videos to each sport.
For some arts and crafts, print out some different Olympics sheets and colour them in! Click here to download a pdf with various Olympic Scenes, including Olympians and Paralympians, different sports and the Olympic Torch!
Finally, have you heard about the Paralympic Games? Athletes with an impairment participate in 23 sports. In 2016, 4,328 athletes from 159 nations and regions participated! Find out more about Paralympic sports here!
As we enjoy the Olympics this summer, some of our Day Care children will also enjoy Olympic activities in their rewarding and varied programme!
In summer we enjoy the great outdoors, but it’s also important that we do what we can to take care of our environment. The activity sheet below lists various activities that are also learning opportunities for your children throughout summer!
Seed Ball Recipe:
Materials: Wildflower seeds, peat-free compost, water, powdered clay & a mixing bowl.
Instructions: Add 1 cup of seeds, 5 cups of compost and 2-3 cups of clay powder to a bowl. Slowly mix in water with your hands until everything sticks together. Roll the mixture into firm balls and leave them to dry in the sun. Plant your seeds by throwing the balls into bare parts of the garden and wait to see what pops up! Look out for butterflies and bees that pollinate the flowers!
Cardboard Car Recycling Project:
This is a great project for children interested in crafts and transport! Make the car as large or as small as you think will be manageable for your child. If your child is ambitious they could make a car to sit/play in!
Materials: various cardboard boxes, paper tape, glue, scissors and paint to decorate.
Instructions: Use the largest box you have for the body of the car. Seal the box with tape and draw on doors, a windshield, windows and other features. Stick on smaller boxes to create wing mirrors, lights, a steering wheel, seats etc. Be as creative as you can! Allow the glue to dry and paint to decorate. Once the paint is dry, you can play with/in your car – depending on the size!
If you're looking to fill your child's summer with fun activities, they can join the adventure at Zein's multi-activity & themed Summer Camps! Themes range from Circus Camp and Arts & Crafts to Multi-Sports and Cookery Camp.
In the run-up to Summer, we look forward to the new adventures that await children who attend Zein International Childcare’s themed and multi-activity day camps. One of the most popular camps is each year is Photography Camp – children love learning new skills and seeing the beautiful photos they have taken throughout the week. At camp, children learn how to use a camera, understand how light influences photos and discover how using different techniques produces very different images! The week concludes with an opportunity for campers to show off their work, with an exposition of photos.
We spoke to Thamy Gibson about her passion for both photography and childcare – as an After School Care teacher at Zein and a professional photographer, she is the perfect fit to lead Zein’s Photography Camp!
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What is the first photograph you remember taking?
To honest, I can’t remember the first photo, but I do remember playing with one of my parents’ old cameras when I was very young. I remember loving looking at family photo albums and talking about the stories behind the pictures.
What is your background in photography?
I took Photography classes during my time at University – when they finished, I realised it wasn’t enough. I wanted to learn much more, so I decided to do a professional photography course. I have been a professional photographer for many years alongside my career in childcare.
What inspired you to become a photographer?
I think my passion for photography, my desire to learn and understand more about it, is what inspired me the most. I love looking at pictures and remembering the stories behind each click. I love the fact that we can make special moments eternal through pictures.
What is your favourite part of teaching photography?
I love, absolutely love, seeing the kids get excited when they learn a new trick with the camera. I also love to see the result after – it always makes me so proud to see the pictures they take.
How do you decide which techniques and skills to teach children at camp?
For our big kids, I thought about what I learned during the photography courses I took. Techniques and experiments they would find interesting and would be able to learn to do by themselves, such as using exposure times to ‘Paint with Light’ and ‘Panning’ to create a sense of speed around a moving object.
For the little ones, I carefully plan the best age-appropriate activities and I also spoke with one of my former photography teachers and asked her for tips about how to make the Photography Camp a memorable experience for the little and big kids alike!
What does it mean to you to teach photography during Zein Summer camps?
It means I can do two things I love! I love working with kids and teaching them new things. I am also passionate about photography. To be able to combine them during Summer Camps is just amazing. I honestly feel like I’m having as much fun as they are and that I am also enjoying a holiday with them.