Change of scenery for team at Epping
When the team at Goodstart Epping
, Victoria, pack up and make the move to their new state-of-the-art early learning centre, they won’t be going far.
Their new building, across the road from their current site at the hospital, is based in a retail shopping complex.
“We’re not moving far,” centre director Christine Gandolfo said. “But even though we’re in the same area, the new Epping building couldn’t be more different.”
With rooms at least double the size of their current building, a brand new outdoor area designed to promote play-based learning and a communal dining area, the centre will provide families with the best possible environments.
CEO Julia Davison said Goodstart was investing in building and people “so the quality of services we offer is much higher.”
She said investing in bricks and mortar helped the organisation achieve its purpose of ensuring all children had access to quality early learning and care to give them the outcomes they need for school and life.
Ms Gandolfo said the outdoor areas at the new centre included a mud kitchen, four cubby house-style creations and a tee pee. Inside is a kitchen featuring commercial appliances and a communal dining room with a bench to the kitchen for children to engage with the cook.
“We have big built-in garden beds with succulent tress and three sandpits. And the whole yard is all soft fall so it’s nice and safe for the children to play on,” Ms Gandolfo said.
The number of places at the centre will increase to 122 from 90, and there will be dedicated drop off and pick up zones for parents.
“Epping is a really big growth area and there a lot of industrial and commercial areas around us. We’ve also got a mix of all different people have their children here from hospital staff to those who work in shops so having a dedicated drop off zone will be an advantage for parents,” she said.
Following Goodstart’s design brief standards, which put children at the centre of everything the organisation does, the centre features modern, airy rooms with plenty of natural features. The design standards are a guide for designers, developers, landscape architects and builders to create consistency throughout the organisation.
Goodstart Early Learning is one of Australia’s largest not-for-profit social enterprises, with turnover exceeding $1 billion. Proceeds are reinvested into providing quality early learning and delivering our vision of giving Australia’s children the best possible start in life.
And children won’t be the only new inhabitants at Epping – a blue tongue lizard Lizzie and a turtle named Humphrey will make it their home.