Helping hand for children in north Queensland
When Goodstart Early Learning Manunda
educators realised many children couldn’t make it to the childcare centre because of a lack of transport, they fixed the problem by delivering a bus to the Cairns community.
The bus, which picks up children before childcare and drops them off afterwards, has now been running successfully for six years, and is part of the centre’s aim to offer enhanced, integrated services for families and children experiencing vulnerability.
Centre director Hannah Pearce said centre staff members Rosie Sagigi and Bethel Tabuai travelled on the bus to welcome the children each morning and afternoon – ensuring there was a smooth transition from home to the centre.
“It’s a courtesy service to help the children get to the centre and we do two of three runs every day depending on the demand,” Ms Pearce said.
“We provide this service so that all children with in the community have the opportunity and ability to participate in our educational programs and become a part of our Goodstart Manunda family.”
She said the centre also drove family members, who did not have their own transport, to meetings and appointments.
“We do help out the families because a lot of people here don’t have cars and can’t get around easily. It encourages children and families to be part of our learning program and helps make the connection between the families and the centre. “
Extra anchor points were added to the bus recently to accommodate more children which ensures there are a minimum of two educators on the bus each morning and afternoon to provide a smooth transition.
The centre’s educators work in partnership with parents by providing communication, folders and booklets to keep the them up to date on their child’s social, emotional, physical and cognitive development.
“We pride ourselves on adopting holistic practices, being responsive to children and implementing learning through play while valuing social contexts,” Ms Pearce said.
Goodstart Manunda caters for children from one and half to six years of age.
“We certainly welcome any families interested in enrolling their child to visit the centre and see firsthand the quality of the service we provide,” Ms Pearce said. “We are so grateful to the families who entrust their children in our care, as it gives us the opportunity to make a difference each and every day. Making learning fun is extremely rewarding.”