Willy Wagtails putting their community and kids first
VANESSA and Scott Johnson take pride that their Willy Wagtails kindergarten in Yamba is a family business, and an integral part of the local community.
"And a big part of our service is being family orientated," Ms Johnson said.
"We get a lot of comments from our parents that they love the feel of the place, and our educators are very passionate about making a difference in the kids future.
"We're here to support the families, and help the families, and a lot of our educators go above and beyond."
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.
It has been a difficult year for many childcare services hit by the effects of enforced COVID lockdowns, but Ms Johnson said their staff stepped up to keep the connection with their kids active.
"We had Zoom sessions with the kids, one of our staff did a song with all of the staff participating, and other staff sang songs and told stories to them at home," she said.
Ms Johnson said a big part of encouraging the children's growth was giving them a voice, and letting children take ownership of what they do, and how they interact with the environment.
"Our yard is huge, and we've tried to incorporate parts of our local area," she said. "So we have our Angourie Rainforest, we have a lot of balance parts on rocks that go out to our breakwall, a surfboat theme and a lighthouse … and they really get an ownership and connection to their area and develop their own independence."
The spirit of community was strong within the centre, and the connection formed with children, some who start as young as six weeks, and go right through to school age endures long after they leave.
"We still have families come back and visit us from out of the area, they duck in and say hi," Ms Johnson said. "And when the children are older they still come up to us in the street and say hello.
"We even have mums tell us they need us to be here in another five years - there are some that have gone on the waiting list and they haven't even had their child yet!"
Ms Johnson said their preschool section was a particularly important part of their long daycare service, in getting children ready for school in not just basic knowledge, but in a social sense as well.
"It's not just the ABC, 123 … it's about them being resilient, capable and confident," she said.
"It's setting up life skills. We have kids that come that are very closed with no eye contact, and to see that child grow and become relaxed in that environment, that's a big thing.
"Then seeing them go off to school confidence, it's huge."