When my first son was born, I had a job where I had no option than to go back to work after seven weeks. SEVEN WEEKS! And yes, like a lot of new mums returning to work, I was riddled with anxiety. To the point that I’d find myself having panic attacks as the days drew closer to me going back.
Knowing all this, we’d been super proactive and booked our then fetus in for two days at our closest Goodstart Early Learning. At the time, we had no real idea of what was to come.
But before we knew it, we were sending our tiny little guy off at just nine weeks old, to two days a week of childcare. Eeeeep!
But boy, was it the best decision.
If you’re like most of us and have to work (or even better, WANT to work), you probably need a helping hand to look after your delicious bubbas while you try and make it rain.
So, if you’re um-ing and argh-ing about which childcare centre to enrol in, I wanted to share my personal highlights about Goodstart Early Leaning with you.
Before you read on — of course the educational side of Goodstart is amazing. They have play-based learning programs (based on the Early Years Learning Framework) and always delivered with love by qualified, experienced staff.
But it’s these things that I’ll remember most…
1. My little teeny-weeny had colic and I was worried he’d be screaming his head off all day. And let’s be honest, screaming kids are OK when they’re YOURS. But other people’s screaming children are not fun. I remember rushing to pick him up after half a day and walked in to Di-Di cuddling him quietly, rubbing his soft forehead and singing him to sleep. She’d been holding him pretty much all day…and she loved every second. All my worries about them not caring or getting annoyed at his screaming disappeared. I knew she loved him and he was in the safest hands possible.
2. I tear up just thinking about this moment. After 5 years, it was Austin’s final day — his graduation! His kindy educator, Romina was talking about each child in front of all the proud parents. She got to Austin (who’d been there the longest) and she broke down. Through her beautiful tears, she was saying what an amazing, inquisitive little guy he’d turned into and how she’ll miss his stories terribly. I always knew how awesome Romina was, but when I saw that bond between her and Austin, I was a little taken aback. And obviously, I teared up. My husband teared up and yeah, my dad did too.
3. Another Di-Di story. This time with my second baby, Alfie, who is obsessed with Batman. I was walking through the carpark and saw that Di-Di had replaced her Ford badge with the Batman signal. When I asked her about it, she said, “I did it for Alfie.” She was driving around with a Batman signal on her car for my son. WHAT A LEGEND! She also made a deal with Alfie that they’d both wear their Batman T-shirts the next day.
4. One of the highlights involved my husband, Jimmy. Alfie was learning about indigenous culture and he informed everybody at Goodstart that his dad has a digeridoo and is awesome at playing it. Next minute, Jimmy was invited in and played the digeridoo like a boss to the whole ‘big kid’ room. Watching Alfie’s proud little, round face as he looked up at his dad was priceless.
5. We were looking to leave our rental property and in the process of buying a house — la-di-da. We had two criteria: whatever house we bought had to be close to my parents (because my umbilical chord is still firmly attached to my mum) and it had to be close enough that we didn’t have to change childcare centres. Our biggest life investment was based around Goodstart. If that’s not a good indication of how we feel about this special place, I don’t know what is.
So, there you go. I could write a big blog about all the high-quality educational facilities they have and how great the educators are, or how Goodstart is a not-for-profit social enterprise that puts all of its profits back into benefiting children. But I know that’s not all parents look for. Fo me, I look for the “heart”. And I definitely found it at Goodstart Early Learning.
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