While Coolum’s Kids Plus Child Care Centre already ticks all the boxes as a caring, friendly and fun environment for young children, a 2014 homely backyard enrichment is encouraging learning through natural experiences.
In a back-to-basics approach, the Centre re-energised its traditional play areas and, through extensive landscaping works, created imaginative pockets of garden, a digging patch, a ‘kids-choice’ veggie garden, a cosy outdoor play area and new, soft grassed areas.
Kids Plus owners, David and Simone Leslie are continuing to enhance the centre to bring a touch of home providing kids with a sense of security enabling them to explore the world outside at their own pace, discovering secrets of the natural environment as they go.”
“If you think about it, our fondest memories from childhood are not playing computer games, watching videos or playing on electronic equipment. It’s the times we played outside. Whether that be, imitating a superhero, climbing a tree, rolling on the grass, having a tea party or digging in the dirt. This is the home like environment we have tried to re-create at Kids Plus. It’s about letting kids be kids. Not confining them to sterile environments that take the fun out of learning.”
“The kids love the natural yard and we keep adding little nooks and crannies to it. Even the transitional slope in the grassed area provides the perfect little hill to roll down. This is what we did as kids. Sometimes it’s the simple things that have the greatest impact for kids. I often see them rolling down the hill and giggling. It’s great so watch.”
“We want to continue to create an environment for the children that they would love and have fond memories of when they leave the Centre. This year we plan on setting up additional areas that mirrors their own backyards with the sole focus of creating a safe, secure and natural environment for them to explore and learn” David explained.”
“It’s getting them back to what they love and then engaging them in a learning experience with what they are doing naturally anyway – allowing them just to be children.”
“So, what we’re trying to do here from the get-go is incorporate their learning into the environment and vice versa. It’s not just about the technology; it’s how to bring learning to life, creating a fascinating and captivating environment that harvests the desire to learn, engaging them in activity on their own terms.”
“Being parents of young children ourselves, we understand the importance of creating memories while a child is still young and we know what we want as parents. So we try to engage with the parents more and show that we do actually care for people, it’s not just about being in business,” said David.”
“We have a Graduation Day every year with real gowns and caps. We also create a ‘Learning Journey’ CD and booklet for each child so every parent walks away with a complete memory of the child’s development over that year.”
Looking after and appreciating their high-quality staff is another ‘small detail’ on which David and Simone place a great deal of importance.
“Happy staff means happy kids. It seems really basic but is considered part of the Kids Plus difference. We try and show our staff that we appreciate them.”
“They have rostered days off, we pay for training and we love to make a big fuss of them on special occasions like Christmas.”
“I think it’s incredibly important for children to feel secure and have a great long term relationship with their carers. All of our staff are long term employees so maybe we are doing something right. It’s like one big family here, sharing one big happy home.”
Drop in to the centre at School Road, Coolum to experience the Kids Plus difference for yourself, phone (07) 5471 6477 or visit www.kidsplus.com.au.