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bright bees early learning centre

Bright Bees: a home away from home

Laura Peppas

For any new parent, choosing a childcare centre can be a daunting experience.

Those early years are such a critical time for learning and development, and handing your little one over to someone new can be an added stress to an already anxious time.

Then there are some centres you walk through and feel an overwhelming sense of calm—where the staff put your mind at ease without even having to say much at all, just an unspoken attitude of “don’t worry, we’ve got this.”

Bright Bees Early Learning, a brand new purpose built childcare facility in Nicholls, is looking to be one of those centres.

Lead educator Claudia Gelonese says the nine-room facility, which opened in November, aims to be more than simply a “drop in drop off” centre and rather, a natural extension of each child’s home life.

“There are so many centres that are there just to look after your children, but I think we’ve taken it a step further to ensure we are very family-orientated,” Claudia says.

“We already are priding ourselves on being very communicative with parents, and we’re about building a strong relationship with our families. All our staff are very willing to go above and beyond to help both children and parents to transition. I see us as building a community, rather than just a centre.”

With natural play areas, an in-house chef and three outdoor areas for each age group, Bright Bees features natural resources and different “sensory areas” to encourage interaction and learning, including a natural grassed area, sandpit, stepping stones, logs and a vegetable garden.

“Having these natural resources means the children can then carry on from what we bring to their own general life, and develop an understanding of being around natural environments, so they can be a part of not only the growth of planting but the care factor—such as looking after the plants, nurturing them,” Claudia says.

“We want to work closely with families, even when it comes to routine, to try and match that as much as possible—and that follows through to our gardens and the way we’re set up, so that it is as much as possible as close to home.”

The centre caters to busy mums and dads, opening its doors at 7am and closing later at 6pm, and looks after children from six months to six years, with separate nursery, toddler and preschool rooms.

“We have breakfast up until 8am, then we offer morning tea, lunch and afternoon snacks by our own chef who is full time in the centre,” says Claudia.

“We also have our own dining hall, so children can eat there rather than in the rooms.”

The curriculum encourages school readiness by including a preschool program run by an ACT qualified teacher, as well as daily routines including arts and crafts, sensory experiences, music and language classes, and other educational activities.

“The other difference with us is that we don’t use casual staff, so if we have a staff member who is away or sick, the person that steps into the position to cover the ratio is someone who works at the centre on an ongoing basis, so the children are comfortable or familiar with them,” Claudia says.

“We have newsletters that go out once a month and a daily ‘story park’ as well, so there is ongoing communication with parents. And each month there’s an exciting skill or observation that is new for their child that we share with them. It means we don’t have to tell them as they are rushing off home—they can learn this in their own time.”

Bright Bees also partners with local businesses in the Nicholls area for their “Local Walk” program, which includes taking the kids to see nearby sites such as the Dinosaur Museum, Reptile Zoo, Cockington Green, Bird Aviary or Cafe Injoy, which has a children’s play area and fish pond.

“We are also looking to introduce ‘parent outings’ on Friday nights when demand is there,” says Claudia.

“We want to make sure each child feels as safe and secure here as they do with their families and in their own environments.”

the essentials

What: Bright Bees Early Learning Centre
Where: 40 O’Hanlon Place, Nicholls
When: Currently taking enrolments for 2018 for children six months to six years, with tours now available
Web: brightbees.net.au

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Laura Peppas

Laura Peppas is HerCanberra's senior journalist and communications manager and is the Editor of Unveiled, HerCanberra's wedding magazine. She is enjoying uncovering all that Canberra has to offer, meeting some intriguing locals and working with a pretty awesome bunch of women. Laura has lived in Canberra for most of her life and when she's not writing fervently she enjoys pursuing her passion for travel, reading, online shopping and chai tea. More about the Author