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14/03/18

Top marks for Sovereign Hills’ childcare centre

It’s a Thursday morning in the transition to school room at Discovery Early Education and Care Centre and the children are filled with anticipation.

They’ve been eagerly awaiting their newest addition to join them and their educator is taking suggestions for the perfect name.

“Franklin,” shouts one child, “Tiny Tim,” calls another, “No, rainbow!” insists a third.

All eyes are on the Billabong Zoo wildlife expert as he enters carrying the precious cargo, crosses the room and carefully releases it into their new aquarium – the Macleay River short neck turtle has arrived.

It’s initiatives like these which are earning Discovery top marks from not just parents but the industry’s quality authority which recently awarded the centre an ‘Exceeding National Quality Standard’ rating in all areas.

“We were proud to achieve this rating in our first year of operation,” shared the centre’s hands-on director Kerrie Rowlandson. “It was testament to the hard work of a very dedicated team of educators and experienced lead team.”

The purpose-built centre, based in Sovereign Hills’ Barton Ridge precinct, caters for 84 children from six weeks to six years of age and has now reached 90% enrolment capacity.

“It certainly has been a challenging but very rewarding journey. I particularly like meeting the families who entrust their beautiful children with us each day,” added Kerrie.

“We have many families attending from the Sovereign Hills estate and surrounds. Word of mouth seems to be the way we have attracted many of our families. Once they have visited us and experienced first-hand what we have to offer and smelt the aromas as they are taken on a tour past our kitchen they soon submit a booking form.”

From growing vegies, to collecting rubbish for the recent Clean Up Australian Day effort and the creation of a centre library aimed at encouraging a love of reading from the get go, the children’s learning experiences are diverse and ever-evolving.

“We celebrated Holi, the Hindu festival that marks the arrival of spring in India. This festival of colour was enacted by the children wearing white clothes and throwing coloured powder over each other as they watched their clothes turn rainbow… In March, we will also participate in the Melanoma Day fundraising event,” explained Kerrie.

With four rooms, including a nursery, toddler, pre-school and transition room to coordinate, the centre is a hive of activity, both indoors and out.

“We have worked out the cycle of how the building performs through the seasons and how best to manage this with our growing number of children and families. The plants and gardens in our outdoor environment are now established and providing the children more opportunities to discover and explore,” continued Kerrie.

“I get so much pleasure each morning when I go from room to room greeting the children and educators, receiving cuddles, hearing children’s stories and joining in a game or activity.”

With ‘Franklin’ the turtle watching on from its aquarium, the children are coaxed into returning to their morning routine and another fun-filled day of learning and discovery.