Focus on specialist services at Blair Athol
A focus on considering how the use of specialised services can be incorporated into centre life will be high on the agenda as Goodstart Blair Athol
opens its doors today (April 1).
The new centre, located on Main North Road, Blair Athol, South Australia, will house up to 85 children in five learning spaces over a single level.
The age-based learning spaces have access to the outdoor nature-based designed play space, with sensory gardens, dry creek beds and two large sandpits.
Centre director Karen Hale, who spent more than 10 years as a centre director in Nuriootpa, South Australia, said she was looking forward to the challenge of opening a new centre.
“It’s a big move for me but at the end of the day, it’s all about taking on new challenges. If you don’t keep challenging you are unable to be the best person in your role,” Ms Hale said.
“I’m moving from a centre that is out in the country in South Australia to one which is in a very diverse area with families and children who will have quite different needs to my last centre,” she said. “So I would imagine I’ll spend my first few months working out what extra resources the families will need, and how I can help them gain access to them.
“There will also be a real challenge to support all of the families and children who belong to the centre and building relationships with them will be essential.”
A new assistant director Rachelle Lund has been appointed, as have the new educators for the centre.
Ms Hale describes the centre as being in a beautiful setting surrounded by trees in a high position with views.
“We have a lot of trees on the site, lots of plants, a vegetable garden, two river causeways, a sandpit and a mudpit.”
Wooden logs, tee pee structures and pebble pathways feature throughout. Inside are five rooms decorated in a modern design with greys and blues the predominant colours. There are plenty of cushions, rugs and armchairs for children but also areas for loose parts play, art, science and maths.
“The eating areas are inside and outside and there’s a large window in the kitchen that opens to the hallway where children can come and talk to our cook.“
Ms Hale said she was looking forward to working with her new team of passionate and dedicated educators who are all there for the children.
“We will aim to create a sense of belonging for all of our families and children from the beginning and focus on getting to know them.”
Goodstart 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.