Life with kids in Sydney City
Down the end of the large room, which was once a bowling alley, a three year old sits around the cabana style, open-air kitchen and carefully kneads dough infused with paprika, which is destined to be used in a signature lamb gözleme recipe. Elsewhere, kids play together around the chicken coop, and occasionally a young girl skips past the sandpit and around the veggie gardens.
This is Paisley Park Early Learning Centre in Randwick where executive chefs and staff work together to help make meals fun and delicious. By providing children with the opportunity to try new flavours, tastes and be part of the cooking process, they can also help tackle poor eating habits.
Brooke, an educator at Paisley Park, described how eating the same food as the children encourages them to eat it too. Meal times are seen as an opportunity to sit down and be social, just like at home. Real crockery, glassware and stainless steel knives and forks are used. Children serve themselves from share platters to encourage learning about portion sizes and food groups.
Combatting childhood obesity in Australia is also key passion for the founders of Paisley Park. Enter Miguel Masetre, a passionate chef and father of two young children, who has worked with Paisley Park to create diverse, fun and wholesome dishes that children will actually eat. As a mum to two-year old twins, I struggle everyday to get my children to eat more vegetables. According to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, children that are overweight or obese at younger age are more likely to develop chronic disease at an older age; including type 1 diabetes, heart disease and cancer.
Another key challenge when it comes to obesity is making sure children have enough physical activity in their daily routine. The full-size climbing wall at Paisley Park Randwick is one example of how the physical wellbeing of children is a key focus at Paisley Park centres. I jumped at the chance to try it out.
This brand new purpose-built centre cares for children from 6 weeks of age and is open from 6.30am until 6.30pm. There are dedicated underground parking spaces, a pram-friendly lift which takes you directly to the centre on level 1 and a unique, high-tech fingerprint entry system into the main reception. Landscapes have been created to make you feel as though you are outside. There is a music lounge, an IT hub and an art centre. Beautiful smaller spaces have been created for younger children. Daily rates for Randwick (all inclusive) are $165 for under 3's and $150 for children over 3.
For more information about Paisley Park Early Learning Centre visit www.paisleypark.com.au or call 1800 Paisley (1800 724 753).