When Hilton and Lynda Misso opened their first Sesame Lane childcare centre at Redcliffe in 1988, they saw a need to care for children while parents worked but also wanted to deliver a fun program which helped youngsters learn and build the skills and resilience to prepare them for school.
Thirty-five years on, there are 14 Sesame Lane Care and Kindergarten services across the Moreton Bay Region with 400 staff who care for 1300 children.
Head of Sesame Lane Kerri Smith says the business has continued to grow because the team has always had a clear vision and values, to support families and children.
“We are customer service-focused and truly believe we can make a difference in every child’s life,” Kerri says.
“We look to continually move with what our families want. It is hard to leave their precious child in the care of another and it is not only our job to ensure the children have fun and learn through play, but that the parents have the trust in us to care for their child.
|“We are also community-focused, ensuring we spend time giving back. We offer our families, movie nights, we help families in need and support families with counselling.”|
Kerri says Sesame Lane’s biggest asset is its people.
“We invest in staff professional development, health and wellbeing and our values have ingrained a work-family culture where we care for and rely on each other. When you have a happy team, that flows through to the families and children,” she says.
“The programs we deliver to the children are unapparelled. From swimming lessons to our assistance dog, sign language, pilates, yoga, Irish dancing, fitness programs and more.
“We have our international Japanese program where we collaborate with educators and children in our sister centres in Japan via zoom sessions and our children speak directly with Japanese children.”
Values a constant
While there have been enormous changes to the childcare sector in the past 35 years, Kerri says children’s needs remain the same.
|“Children need time to play, interact with each other, learn social skills and to be with adults who can role model warm and reciprocal relationships to give them a sense of belonging,” she says.|
“That's why we will always provide a play-based learning environment for children. If learning something is interesting and fun, children will keep learning.”
Advances in technology have also been incorporated in the service Sesame Lane offers.
“Parents and families are now involved in their child's day at Sesame Lane through our parent portal. Documentation compliance has increased over the years to provide accountability, and all of this is done online,” Kerri says.
“We have educators who have been with us for 20+ years, and we've supported them to upskill from recording paper-based routines to using iPads and computers.”
The original Redcliffe Sesame Lane site has been transformed in recent months – a project which has been many years in the making.
“We are so proud of the new centre design and fit out. We wanted to ensure we kept the community focus around Redcliffe with a beach theme,” Kerri says.
“We have murals throughout the centre, reflecting that we are a beach side community. A key feature that stops everyone in their tracks is our saltwater fish tank complete with Nemo and Dory.”
The new centre has two separate buildings, allowing for a stand-alone Kindergarten.
“This is quite unique when providing a Kindergarten program within a long day care setting, so it's really the best of both worlds benefiting children in the year before they start school and catering for working parents.
“The Kindergarten or 'Kindy Hub' has amazing outdoor place spaces, a children's kitchen, purposeful focus areas including science, technology, arts, health and wellbeing and resources to spark creativity and imagination.
“There is also a sensory room for children to explore their senses and take a break to recharge.”
Sesame Lane has joined with the Tangalooma EcoMaries to deliver a sustainability program to the Kindergarten children and they'll also learn Auslan Sign Language with Rhyme Rhythm and Sign Brisbane.
Sesame Lane Redcliffe is now taking enrolments at the new centre. Families can make a time for a personal tour by phoning 3283 3083.
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