The South Perth Childcare Centre enjoyed a wonderful week of celebrations to commemorate the anniversary of its 20th birthday in October. Past children, staff, members of the committee, parents, Uniting Church ministers and members of the South Perth Uniting Church congregation met each evening to reminisce about their participation in the centre over the past 20 years.
The week was a huge success. Many of those who came along had once been small children, as young as six-months-old when they started at the centre. Our once small charges, now tall and lanky teenagers, got a real kick out of perusing the photographs of themselves as babies, toddlers and kindy kids and enjoyed wandering around the centre remembering fun times with their friends.
The celebration was made even more special because Shirley Leaver, one of the centre’s very valued educators also celebrated her 20th year of service with the centre. In an industry where burnout and staff turnover is high, this is a huge achievement.
The centre is very community oriented and tries to involve as many visitors from different parts of the community as possible. Some of Shirley’s favourite visits she organised were from the guide dogs, Andrew Buchanan the local vet, the local police and the fire department. She also remembers with fondness visits to the zoo and to a local HBF office.
Shirley has seen many changes in the past 20 years. In 2000, the child are climate changed and the demand for babies increased. In July that year, the centre opened its very first babies room to cater for eight children between 0-2 years of age. The room still caters for the needs of families in the community, is staffed above award,with three fantastic educators and continues to retain a waiting list.
Fortunately, South Perth Childcare Centre has an extra dimension – it’s more than a childcare centre, it’s like an extended family. Staff turnover is minimal and those that do leave keep coming back, even after they’ve had their own families. Families return time and time again. Past children, now young adults, pop in just to say hi to their favorite educator.
“During my 20 years at the centre I have learnt so much,” Shirley said. “Even though I am a mother and a grandmother, I have always found something new to learn, and have been very happy here. I do not see my family often, as they are scattered all over the country, this centre has become my family. I know the next 20 years will only be better for the centre as it continues to offer excellent quality child care. “