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A celebration of community as Toormina turns 10

Goodstart centres

Ten years of community building will be celebrated with friends and family next month at Goodstart Toormina.

Since first opening its doors in 2007, the centre has grown into a community hub thanks to the way it supports the lives of current and past families in addition to having an outstanding reputation for its play-based learning program.

The service and support offered by the centre’s educators, who are led by centre director Marissa Moore, has seen families remain loyal throughout the centre’s ten years, even though many new childcare centres has opened in the area.

“We’ve got a very experienced and long-serving team, which our families really value,” Marissa said.

“Myself and Miss Julie have been here since day one, and some of the families from our first day are still with us now as their families have grown.

“Even our ‘newer’ staff members have been with us for between five and eight years, and the element of trust this brings is so important to families. Especially with babies in the nursery room.”

The centre has evolved over the years and improved its learning environments inside and out, using their own hard work, volunteer labour and community connections to add to the centre and maintain an engaging yet homely place for learning.

“We’re very active with our local business partners and we’re not afraid to call in favours to help make our centre better!

“The way our outdoor space has evolved is a great example of this, where we can point to each area and remember the work we did and the local businesses who’ve helped us.”

With a strong belief in creating stimulating, challenging and engaging spaces for learning, Marissa and her team have created features such as a bark pit, climbing wall, natural logs and stumps, and an obstacle course in a dedicated fundamental movement area designed to encourage the development of gross motor skills.

An area of pride in the centre is Nate’s garden, which is a memorial community garden created after the heartbreaking loss of a child who had been attending the centre.

“So many people were directly or indirectly touched, and it also made us realise how connected the centre was to the community,” Marissa said.

“Creating the garden was a community process, and if we’re lucky enough to harvest the produce before our enthusiastic young gardeners do it for us, we use it in our kitchen for the children’s meals.

The centre has also established a partnership with Woolworths to supply them with a box of fruit each week which is given free to families.

“We wanted to raise awareness of healthy eating habits and to reach out and support children and their families.

“We approached Woolworths who have been fantastic, and we encourage children and their families to take as much as they want.

“Having the food available has not only improved the nutrition and habits of our children, it’s also created a stopping point where families slow down and interact for a while.

“It’s another little thing that makes Goodstart Toormina not just a centre but the community’s centre.”
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