ONE STOP SHOP: Keeping generations of our kids happy
THE NEW School of Arts Learning & OOSH Centre has been looking after the children of the Grafton area for the past 43 years, an for nominated supervisor Shirleyanne Blanchard, there's been lots of return visitors.
"We've got families that have their kids here that I change used to change nappies for, and I now I look after their kids," Ms Blanchard said.
"There are some staff here that have seen three generations of children. It's pretty awesome."
Who is the Clarence Valley's favourite childcare centre?
This poll ended on 07 December 2020.
New School Of Arts Early Learning Centre – South Grafton
Cubby House For Kids – Townsend
Willy Wagtails Kindergarten – Yamba
Walla Walla Bing Bang Early Learning Centre – Harwood
This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.
Ms Blanchard said they aimed to provide a one-stop shop for childcare, ranging from six weeks to 13 years old, with services such as long daycare, vacation care, after school care, a full preschool program and occasional care - the only one in the Clarence Valley.
"With occasional care you can enrol and it's done on a need basis," she said. "It's good for casual workers, and those studying," she said.
"But we take them right through. If you're a family that has a baby and a few kids at primary school, the kids get dropped here from school and you can pick them all up at once."
Ms Blanchard said the longevity of the community-based service was key to its success, and there came a certain amount of trust that comes with that.
"We've got a lot of long-term staff, we've got quite a few here for 10 years of more, and one that's been here for 25," she said.
"It's that lengthy experience that gives that consistency from room to room - you drop your kids and you'll see the educator for those days and create those relationships."
It is those relationships that Ms Blanchard said were the key to the service, and it came from every aspect of the centre.
"It's about relationships they get with the educators, but also from the family - the people out the front who say good morning to you each morning - it's all that we've created a safe friendly environment for them," she said.
"And not to brag, but sometimes we have kids who cry because they don't want to go home," she laughed.
And in a 22 year career that for herself saw her start as cleaner and continue now as the nominated supervisor, Ms Blanchard said she enjoyed the supportive environment, and strived to work for her families and children.
"I come to work with the aim everyday to make my families happy," she said.