Author: Anna Booysen

Young boy codes on his laptop

Online Coding Classes with Whitehat Jr.

Technology use is more common than ever before in history right now, particularly in our younger generations. WhiteHat Jr. have taken on the task of helping kids become creators of technology instead of consumers of it. By embracing this STEAM education, WhiteHat Jr. are providing our young people with skills that expand their future opportunities in careers involving coding – an ever-growing field in today’s world.

WhiteHat Jr. teach the fundamentals of coding in a way that’s perfect for children to understand – through a variety of online coding courses suitable for Grades 1 through to Grade 10 and beyond. Young kids and teenagers can learn all things logic, structure, sequence and algorithmic thinking. This enables them to create their very own apps, websites and animation.

Despite how often children are using technology daily, less than 1 per cent of schools teach coding in early childhood.

This creates a gap that’s hard to bridge between modern day jobs and the skills required for these jobs in our children. Not to mention that many children enjoy technology as a hobby, whether it be through playing games online, using social media, learning and more. Fortunately, young people don’t have to plan for a career in technology to take WhiteHat Jr. coding classes. A simple interest in the world of coding and tech is enough to enjoy the curriculum. All children can have fun and learn a significant amount of important skills. 

All classes are taught one to one, live, in the comfort of your own home. They range from App Development, to Advanced Programming and eventually Building Your Own Company classes. Children will learn the basics of coding, how to create animations, apps and websites and how to manipulate data using programming languages. Overall, their problem-solving skills will be strengthened. In fact, already over 1 million students are certified by WhiteHat Jr., with 1,630,000 classes taken, 2,500,000 students registered in total and 7,000 registered teachers. Students are showing their talents by creating apps that solve problems. There are currently 750,000 kids projects running! 

Parents can book a free trial class for their child online through both the WhiteHat Jr. website and the WhiteHat Jr. class booking App, available  on both Google Play and App Store.

Click here to free trial class for their child online

save 16% on six months of classes (valid to 31 December 2021)

or save 14% on 1 month of classes (valid to 31 December 2021) 





Mother helps toddler do ballet in the lounge by watching a Ballet Time video on the TV

Learn to Dance at Home With Ballet Time

Ballet Time co-founders Ashlee Smale and Samantha Robinson originally launched Ballet Time in an effort to provide ballet lessons to students no matter where they were. The online classes help to make sure the benefits and pure enjoyment of dance can be shared with those who cannot access traditional in-person lessons, from toddlers to children who already practice dance.

With many online services booming during COVID-19, we asked Ashlee to break down what makes Ballet Time so fantastic and about her own love for dance. 

From the Start to Now

“We launched Ballet Time in 2019 to provide dance classes to little ones around the world that may not have access to standard dance classes, for an array of reasons. Ballet Time bridges this gap for many families because it’s an online subscription-based platform. We deliver 12 x 10 minute pre-recorded ballet lessons each month for children aged 2-6. And, our lessons are streamable on any smart device! How cool is that! 

Ballet Time was the first of its kind. The main difference between Ballet Time and ‘regular’ lessons is that we host all pre-recorded lessons in the form of a three-month long course. Our lessons are created by a team of dance and education professionals and are underpinned with an educational foundation. We have a well-thought out program that scaffolds students through the dance steps. Plus it has annotations that appear on the screen to aid in learning and movement. Our lessons are super engaging and super cool!

Although we were operating exactly the same in 2019, we have definitely become a lot busier since COVID-19. We were just so happy that we had a service that could serve to make people’s lives easier in this incredibly difficult time. And, we are incredibly grateful for the support that our students and their families have given us during this time.”

Why Try It?

“The benefits of ballet are so vast. The physical benefits are normally the ones we talk about when we speak about the reasons for our kids to engage in dance. There are so many of them, such as improving muscular strength, flexibility and motor fitness. It also facilitates coordination and balance while correcting poor alignment. However, dance also has a variety of educational, cognitive and emotional benefits too! Through movement and music, children enhance their sensory awareness and cognitive function, including attention, memory and learning. These are transferable skills that will benefit children in all areas of their lives.”

“Dance allows expressive movement and children to creatively express themselves.” 

Young girls at home in ballet costume follow Ballet Time lesson on TV

Ashlee’s Love for Dance

“For as long as I can remember my life has revolved around dancing! My mum was a ballet teacher. This means that all of the memories I have of my childhood involve dance somehow, whether it be dancing in the kitchen with her, being driven to dance class with my sisters, or actually doing classes and performances.”

“I always knew I would be in the dance world and it has given me some amazing experiences.” 

“I’ve always learnt every style of dance, but I have always been drawn to ballet and jazz. I find that as a teacher now they are also the styles that I love to choreograph to the most.

I started learning to work as a dance teacher when I was 18. I’m now 28, so have been working as a teacher for 10 years! In my early 20’s I worked around Australia, France and the USA as a dancer. Dance as a career is so amazing like that; it can take you to so many places.”

“Without a doubt, working in Disneyland was my favourite experience. I loved bringing characters to life and making magic.”

Teaching Students Lifelong Skills

“I ended up with a Bachelor’s degree in Education among many other dance teaching qualifications too, so I really have so much experience in both the dance and in the education world. Teaching is one of the most important jobs in the world and I love that I am a part of that. Seeing my students learn and grow over the years is my favourite part. I know that the skills I am teaching them in dancing are skills that they will take with them throughout their life. The way in dance we learn to keep trying, to get back up if you fall down, and to strive to do something the best that you can, is so similar to life.

I think you should always follow what makes you happy. We will all work for such a long time and have so many careers. Why not (if you are inclined to do so) focus on dance first and revisit the other things you are passionate about later! If dance isn’t the right career path for you despite being a massive part of your life, that is okay too!”

“The things that the Arts teach our students are going to be paramount in this tech driven world.”

“We need people who think creatively and have the ability to have big picture ideas and think outside of the box. And that is one of the principal concepts in dance.”







Illustration of book with fictional characters and objects coming out of the book

CBCA Book Week and Book of the Year Awards 2020

Every year since the 1940’s The Children’s Book Council of Australia (CBCA) have held a Book Week – a whole week dedicated to bringing children and books together across Australia. This year is no exception, with Book Week running from 17 – 23 October. The not-for-profit organisation has chosen the creative theme ‘Curious Creatures, Wild Minds’.

Schools and public libraries spend the whole week celebrating books, and Australian children’s authors and illustrators in particular. Your child may have been involved with the celebrations this week including activities, competitions and displays or even dressed up as their favourite book character! You can find a whole array of free Book Week Activities on the CBCA website, from colouring-in posters to DIY Bookmarks.

Book of the Year Awards

As part of Book Week the CBCA also holds CBCA Book of the Year Awards, with six different categories. Here are the winners for each category as well as the books who made the honours list in 2020. You can find the shortlist HERE.

Book of the Year: Older Readers

Books in this category can be fiction, poetry or drama, and must be for readers aged 13 – 18 years old.

Winner: This Is How We Change The Ending by Vikki Wakefield

Book cover for This is how we change the ending by Vikki Wakefield

Sixteen-year-old Nate McKee is doing his best to be invisible. He’s worried about a lot of things-how his dad treats Nance and his twin half-brothers; the hydro crop growing in his bedroom; the way his friend Merrick always drags him into fights. And he has never forgiven his mother for leaving.

But none of it is his fight, right? He’s just waiting for his time. Nate hangs out at YouthWorks, the local youth centre threatened with closure, and fills his notebooks with the things he can’t say. But when some of his pages are stolen and his words are graffitied on the wall of the centre, Nate realises he has allies. He might be able to make a difference, change his life, and claim his future. Or can he?


The Boy Who Steals Houses by C.G Drews

Ghost bird by Lisa Fuller

Book of the Year: Younger Readers

Books in this category can be fiction, poetry or drama and should be suitable for readers aged 8 – 12 years old. 

Winner: The Little Wave by Pip Harry

Book cover for The Little wave by Pip Harry

When a Manly school sets out to bring a country class to the city for a beach visit, three very different kids find each other and themselves. Noah is fearless in the surf. Being at the beach makes him feel free. So where does his courage go when his best mate pushes him around? Lottie loves collecting facts about bugs, but she wishes her dad would stop filling their lonely house with junk. She doesn’t know what to do about it. Jack wants to be a cricket star, but first he has to get to school and look after his little sister. Especially if he wants to go on the class trip and see the ocean for the first time.


The Glimme by Emily Rodda, illustrated by Marc McBride

The Secrets of Magnolia Moon by Edwina Wyatt, illustrated by Katherine Quinn

Book of the Year: Early Childhood

Books in this category can be fiction, poetry, drama and suitable for children aged 0 – 7 years.

Winner: My Friend Fred by Frances Watts, illustrated by Yi, A

Book cover for My Friend Fred by Frances Watts, illustrated by Yi, A.

My friend Fred eats dog food for breakfast.
I think dog food is disgusting.

My friend Fred howls at the moon.
I don’t know why.

He does a lot of funny things.
But even though we are different, Fred is my best friend.


When Billy Was a Dog by Kirsty Murray, illustrated by Karen Blair

Goodbye House, Hello House by Margaret Wild, illustrated by Ann James

Book of the Year: Picture Book of the Year

Books in this category should be outstanding, where the author and illustrator ‘achieve artistic and literary unity” in picture books without words, or in books where the illustrations unify the story, concept or theme. Books are suitable for young people aged 0 – 18 years.

Winner: I Need a Parrot by Chris McKimmie

Book cover for I Need a Parrot by Chris McKimmie

A book about wanting and needing what a child wants and what a wild bird needs.


Nop by Caroline Magerl

Three by Stephen Michael King

Eve Pownall Award

Books in this category should document factual material while having a creative presentation, varying style and interpretation. Books are suitable for young people aged 0 – 18 years.

Winner: Young Dark Emu: A Truer History by Bruce Pascoe

Book cover for Young Dark Emu: A Truer by Bruce Pascoe

Using the accounts of early European explorers, colonists and farmers, Bruce Pascoe compellingly argues for a reconsideration of the hunter-gatherer label for pre-colonial Aboriginal Australians. He allows the reader to see Australia as it was before Europeans arrived — a land of cultivated farming areas, productive fisheries, permanent homes, and an understanding of the environment and its natural resources that supported thriving villages across the continent. Young Dark Emu — A Truer History asks young readers to consider a different version of Australia’s history pre-European colonisation.


The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Ugly Animals by Sami Bayly

Wilam: A Birrarung Story by Aunty Joy Murphy and Andrew Kelly, illustrated by Lisa Kennedy

CBCA Award for New Illustrator

This award aims to recognise new and upcoming talent in Australian Children’s book illustrations (books for ages 0 – 18 years).

Winner: Baby Business by Jasmine Seymour

Book cover for Baby Business by Jasmine Seymour

Baby Business tells the story of the baby smoking ceremony that welcomes baby to country. The smoke is a blessing — it will protect the baby and remind them that they belong. This beautiful ritual is recounted in a way young children will completely relate to.

Jasmine Seymour is a Darug woman and a descendant of Maria Lock, daughter of Yarramundi, the Boorooberongal Elder who had met Governor Phillip on the banks of the Hawkesbury in 1791. It is Jasmine’s wish that through her books, everyone will know that the Darug mob are still here, still strong. Jasmine is a primary school teacher in the Hawkesbury area of NSW.


All book descriptions taken from QLD Books. 






Close up of premature babies feet and legs in hospital, with hospital equipment

Walk for Prems This Sunday October 25

Families throughout Australia, Ireland and Canada can walk together for the ‘Walk for Prems’ event this Sunday 25 October, showing their support for the 48,000 Australian babies born sick or before 37 weeks gestation every year.

Baby Bunting is the proud presenter of such a fantastic fundraiser, one that is close to many people’s hearts. Perhaps most importantly, this walk will be a fundraiser for Life’s Little Treasures Foundation. The foundation is a dedicated Australian charity which supports the family members of such babies who are born too early or born sick.

The walk has taken place for the last 11 years, connecting people while raising awareness and funds for premature and sick babies. The cause is no different this year, however people are encouraged to walk in small groups only, on a 5km route, due to the coronavirus.

You can grab a friend, family member, workmate, or anyone who’s keen to complete the walk with you and show support. Most of the day will be run online, with speeches, family entertainment and more. There will even be awesome prizes up for grabs, including prams and Baby Bunting vouchers. The dove ceremony will see white doves released by a family who have lost a child and everyone will pause to show their respects.

How to Register for the Walk

You are able to register as either a team or individually through the Walk For Prems website. You can also find the day’s schedule online. Each participant will receive a 2020 Walk Medal for the 5km walk and a race bib. Merchandise is available for purchase for both kids and adults, including Life’s Little Treasures merchandise.

Prizes will be awarded for Best Dressed, Happiest Baby Pic, Kids Art Competition, Top Fundraisers and Scavenger Hunt Winner.

How Does Life’s Little Treasures Help Families?

Life’s Little Treasure’s produced digital products, ran support events and encouraged families to stay together, particularly in those first few days after getting home with the baby after leaving hospital, all through 2019/2020 despite COVID-19.

They also provide:

  • Financial Assistance packages to 66 families.
  • Information and resources to: 132 Hospitals; which included: 18,170 Tip sheets, 6656 NICU/SCN books, 804 Precious – Prem packs including 122 digital downloads
  • Supplied 156 ‘NICU food from the Heart’ meals, despite COVID-19. Dad’s night, NICU food from the Heart Meals and our Brekkie Bars have expanded to 6 hospitals
  • 12 sessions of ‘NICU connections’ Facebook group chat facilitated by trained peer-to-peer volunteers.
  • Supplied 1593 ‘My Colourful journey’ Sibling colouring
  • 1777 ‘Little Bag of Calm’ given to new parents.







Close up of a water droplet hanging from the end of a leaf, with a little earth photoshopped inside the droplet

The Earthshot Prize Comes to Life Thanks to The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge

In the 1960’s President John. F Kennedy created Moonshot, uniting people from around the world in efforts to put man on the moon. As part of this, amazing new technologies were developed around that time period. In addition, humans saw what we could achieve when we have a similar goal in sight, work as a team and put our brains together.

Now in 2020, Earthshot, a prestigious prize, has been created to incentivise people to join together and make changes that benefit our planet – and subsequently, us. The Earthshot Prize has five ‘Earthshots’; relatively simple yet big goals. These will hugely improve life on earth if achieved by 2030.

The Royal Foundation of The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, perhaps better known as Prince William and Kate Middleton, runs the Earthshot Prize. The Duke and Duchess created the Foundation to unite people in tackling a variety of big challenges in today’s world, making a positive difference on issues that they are passionate about.

The Earthshots and Prizes

The Foundation grounds each Earthshot in scientifically agreed targets that will help repair the damage that our planet has suffered. This is crucial for both us now and future generations, to provide us and them with a good quality life and health. But it also goes beyond that; we have a beautiful planet full of unique nature and animals. This nature and our animals that we love will also suffer if we do not make changes and find ways to solve environmental problems NOW.

The targets form a set of challenges which will hopefully make new ways of thinking, new systems, policies, technologies and overall; solutions to these problems. The five Earthshots are:

  1. Protect and restore nature
  2. Clean our air
  3. Revive our oceans
  4. Build a waste-free world
  5. Fix our climate

Each Earthshot is broken down into more specific goals. For example, ‘Protect and restore nature’ focuses on repairing and protecting the homes of our animals. This could be in grasslands, wetlands, rainforests, lakes or rivers. Every year from 2021 to 2030 =an award ceremony will take place across the world in different cities. There, five winners will be awarded the Earthshot prize, each receiving one million-pound prizes (worth nearly 2 million AUD). Overall, this will provide 50 solutions to our planet’s greatest environmental problems by 2030!  

The Earthshot Prize Council is made up of influential people from around the globe. This team will award each Earthshot until 2030. The council includes Prince William, David Attenborough, Cate Blanchett, Her Majesty Queen Rania Al Abdullah, Shakira, Naoko Yamazaki, Indra Nooyi and other well-known people.  

You can read more about each Earthshot and what it aims at achieving, as well as the full council list and list of Global Alliance Partners to Earthshot such as National Geographic, all on the Earthshot Prize website.











Businesses Boost Fundraising for Mayor’s Christmas Cheer Appeal

The Mayor’s Christmas Cheer Appeal is doing well so far this year, despite hardships faced by both businesses and individuals due to COVID-19. With only 10 weeks left until Santa visits, almost $50,000 has been raised!

More than $16,000 was raised through ticket sales for the inaugural 5-Star Chefs for Charity event on November 7 at the Hilton Cairns. Rotary Club of Cairns Sunrise also raised $3,000 thanks to the Palm Cove Markets, where collection buckets were put out for the appeal. Other organisations and businesses that have donated include:

  • Adllins Media
  • Babinda Electrics
  • CA Architects Pty Ltd
  • Cairns Aquarium
  • CBRE
  • Chapman Foundation
  • FGF Bitumen Pty Ltd
  • Fortis Numbers
  • Grant Thornton Cairns
  • Heightened Security Solutions
  • i-LEC Solutions
  • JP Foyle Contractors
  • LDI Constructions
  • Lions Club of Cairns
  • Lotsa Print & Signage
  • Panebianco Enterprises Pty Ltd
  • Preston Law
  • Project Hardware and Doors
  • Richard Field Constructions
  • Rotary Club of Cairns Sunrise
  • Samark North Qld Pty Ltd
  • Totally Workwear
  • Traffic Services
  • Trinity Auto Group
  • Union Jack Hotel
  • Vis Constructions Pty Ltd
In recent years roughly 700 hampers were delivered, which required fundraising of nearly $70,000. The hampers provide basic meals and staples, which more people than ever are expected to need this year due to the coronavirus.

“It’s all about locals helping locals and we are asking the community to dig deep, give generously and show those experiencing hardship that we care.

“Every cent donated to the charity goes to buying food supplies for the hampers,” says Cairns Mayor Bob Manning.

“It is amazing what a hamper means to recipients; it really makes their day.

“These organisations, along with countless individuals who have already donated to the appeal, are demonstrating what it means to be part of a caring community.”

How Can I Help?

You can share the love and Christmas spirit by donating to buy a hamper. $65.00 will provide a hamper for a family and just $35.00 will provide a senior with a hamper. Or, you can donate a select amount to the Mayor’s Christmas Cheer Appeal on the Regional Council’s website.