Start small. Dream big.

{SIMPLE as that} launches a 100% natural Room Spray in collaboration with Albert Park Pre-School to fund a Kindergarten “wellbeing for all” program.

At {SIMPLE as that} we believe that the universe puts us in exactly the right place at the right time to make connections for precisely the right reasons, and my path to Albert Park Pre-School and the extraordinary people who run this Centre is no exception. I still remember the day I walked through the doors of this Kinder and the overwhelming feeling that this was precisely the right place for the last of my 3 children to commence her formal education. I can’t explain exactly why, but I guess when you know something is right, you just know. Back then I had no idea what the next 2 years would hold for me or my inquisitive and developing child, but ever so slowly the real reason has gently unravelled itself. About 10 months into my first year being a parent at this centre and being involved with a number of activities with the children along the way, including making natural coffee scrubs for Mother’s Day and Chamomile & Lavender foot soaks for Father’s Day, the idea to explore essential oils and non-toxic room sprays developed with the help of the children and their ever-enquiring minds. At about the same time, the current Wellbeing Committee Officer (yes this Kinder has a Wellbeing Officer!) returned home to England with her family. With my background as a pharmacist and passion for holistic health, wellness and natural skincare products, the position just seemed to organically become my own (although of course I believe that this was the universe’s intention for me from the beginning).

So the journey began and has definitely not been without its hurdles, the biggest being the tragic death of one of the teachers at an age too young to comprehend. Death is one of those things that we struggle to understand in its intricate complexity as adults, so imagine the complete bewilderment and non-comprehension of these tiny 3 and 4 year olds’ developing minds. Still to this day my 4 year old asks me when will her beloved teacher return and we still sit together regularly to draw love hearts and rainbows that we post to her (wherever she is) in the hope that she will remember us and know each day we continue to miss her beautiful presence. There are other tragic experiences that this Kinder community has endured, including the death from cancer of one of the children’s fathers, and this has further highlighted the need for what I’m about to share.

I imagine most people don’t know that there are currently no direct government funded resources for Kindergartens in Australia for wellbeing programs and by this I mean resources like counselling for staff, children or families in the event of a death as well as meditation and yoga sessions for the children’s overall emotional and physical wellness. Yet there is increasing awareness that these are all things associated with managing stress, building concentration and increasing children’s confidence and positive self-image, a foundation which I am of the utmost belief leads to less mental illness in later life. I myself have worked as a pharmacist in the mental health sector for many years with schizophrenic, bipolar and clinically depressed patients and have seen the devastating effect these illnesses have, not only on the lives of the sufferer, but also on the daily lives of their closest friends and family. It’s no secret that many Australians suffer from mental illness and in fact one in five (20%) of Australians aged 16-85 experience a mental illness in any year. What isn’t commonly known however is that the onset of mental illness is typically around mid-to-late adolescence and Australian youth (18-24 years old) have the highest prevalence of mental illness than any other age group. I myself know too well the devastating effects of mental illness having been a lifelong sufferer of anxiety and panic attacks, not to mention my months of severe post-natal depression after all three of my children, some of the darkest and scariest times of my life. So why am I writing all this and spreading the word? Because it’s seriously time for change.

Growing evidence suggests that our lifetime patterns, both behaviourally and emotionally, are instilled in us from early childhood, so my ultimate vision is to see every pre-school and kindergarten in Australia offering a wellbeing syllabus. In my mind, and using Albert Park Pre-School as a pilot program, this would involve teaching children yoga and meditation in every session and in simple language, introducing the psychological ability for them to embrace themselves with an abundance of self-love and acceptance for who they are. How many of us wish we started our meditation journey much earlier than we did? How many of us wish we were armed with the tools to overcome and manage stress and anxiety from an early age? Maybe I wouldn’t have suffered to the extent that I myself have suffered if I had developed these lifelong skills in early childhood. Having been privy to a community Kindergarten Committee over the past 12 months, I now realise that education funding in Australia is already stretched to breaking point so how can we possibly ask the government for any more funding? Well this is where the newly launched {SIMPLE as that} room spray comes into this equation.

With the help of the children at Albert Park Pre-School we dreamt big and have collaborated to develop a 100% all-natural non-toxic room spray that we aim to sell to local parents and the local community as well as through our website, to fund the kindergarten’s “wellbeing for all” initiatives. We hope that this is the start of a huge awakening and slowly but surely can be rolled out to all early childhood education facilities in Australia, with the dream that a wellbeing program becomes the norm for these little, innocent, enquiring minds. Start small. Dream big.

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