New Heatley Fulham Road centre opens its doors
When Karen Sewell headed to work today, it marked the beginning a new era in her working life.
The Goodstart Heatley Fulham Road centre director moved to her new purpose-built early learning centre after working for 35 years in its current location.
Ms Sewell started at the Goodstart centre as a 14-year-old undertaking work experience, before being offered a job at the age of 15 years old.
“I turned up with no experience and was put in a room. That’s the way things were done back then and thank goodness, it’s very different now,” Ms Sewell said.
“I never considered having any other type of career because I always aimed to make children’s lives better – that was my goal.”
Ms Sewell quickly moved up the ranks at the centre, undertaking a Certificate Three and Diploma in Early Childhood Care and Education.
“And even though the qualifications may have changed, it’s still all about making sure we provide a place that is a safe, comforting learning environment for young children and their parents.
“I love being the first person many parents will see in the mornings. They tell me how their day has been so far, or any issues they have coming up. It’s a real community feel.”
The new Goodstart Heatley Fulham Road centre features an outdoor stage, digging pits, sand pits, dry creek beds and play and bike tracks. There is a vegetable and fruit garden, a tree tunnel and a mud kitchen.
“We’ll also have our own pets which will come with us including our chickens, fish and Tweet the budgie,” Ms Sewell said.
“And while we’re moving centres, we’ll be bringing our family home feel to the new building.”
Goodstart Queensland state manager Dr Lesley Jones said regional operations manager Cassy Baker, area manager Helen Payne and centre director Ms Sewell and her team had worked incredibly hard to ensure the centre was ready to open.
“Our new Heatley Centre has a contemporary design and a large natural outdoor playground, inspired learning spaces and extra places to accommodate even more local families,” Dr Jones said.
Educators at the centre have already starting expanding their community connections in the new centre, and are planning to offer work experience positions to the high school students from across the road. They will also enjoy cultural experiences from a local community elder.
Real hammers and nails will be part of the children’s play experiences and computer boards and old radios will promote creativity and fine motor skills.
Goodstart Heatley Fulham Road will host an open day on June 3 from 10am-2pm. There will be face painting, water play, a photo booth and other fun activities for all ages.