Children will be encouraged to explore nature and spend as much time in the garden when Whispering Gully opens up in January.
Children will be encouraged to explore nature and spend as much time in the garden when Whispering Gully opens up in January. Contributed

Warwick's new childcare centre has a unique philosophy

CHILDREN in Warwick will soon have new place to call their second home, as a childcare centre prepares to open its doors with the promise of promoting a special philosophy that will resonate with families from rural backgrounds.

Learning to be resourceful and make your own fun are core values of farming communities according to Whispering Gully co-owner Nikki Collins, who grew up in regional New South Wales.

But a digital world full of screens is threatening the imagination of children at a younger age than ever, the educator said.

On the cusp of opening her first childcare centre in regional Australia, Mrs Collins said the key to fostering creativity and independence was giving children freedom and control over play.

"The focus is very much on eco-friendly practices, teaching children to get back to basics and reuse and reutilise materials in creative ways," she said.

Things like baking, building, gardening and art will be part and parcel of a typical day at the centre when it opens on Bracker Rd in January.

 

The philosophy behind Whispering Gully is all about letting students find their own path to play and create.
The philosophy behind Whispering Gully is all about letting students find their own path to play and create. Contributed

Currently operating two childcare centres on the Gold Coast, Mrs Collins said seeing joy on children's faces when they came up with new ideas the ultimate sign of success in the Stiner-based approach to childcare.

"Last week a dad bought in a whole heap of milk pallets and it was amazing, the kids in the centre just got together and made their own boat," she said.

"We didn't tell them what to do, they just made it. We could have gone and bought them a boat but instead they made it themselves and there is so much more to it for them when they achieve something like that."

But the decision to set up a new centre in Warwick was one made after years of careful planning and deliberation.

"We're hoping that philosophy will really resonate with people from farming background," she said.

"Rural communities, we really appreciate our environment and the earth and not wasting things.

"Sometimes I find it harder on the Cold Coats to get those philosophies across to parents."

Mrs Collins said she and business partner Karl Kraus had considered other towns to begin their childcare journey into regional Australia, but saw Warwick as a "growth corridor".

"Warwick seems to be a fairly rapidly moving place and the mayor and council seem very keen to grow the town," she said.

"That is what we were looking for - somewhere that wants to stimulate the economy and move forward."

With enrolments to open in the next couple of weeks, the centre will have 75 places for children aged 0-6 years old.

 

FROM SCRATCH: With their young imaginations free to run wild, students from the Whispering Gully child care centre in Robina made their very own boat from wooden pallets.
FROM SCRATCH: With their young imaginations free to run wild, students from the Whispering Gully child care centre in Robina made their very own boat from wooden pallets. Contributed

Not only will the new childcare centre address the demand for quality childcare options in Warwick, it will also create about 10-15 new jobs in the town.

"We're going to put the call out for employment soon and we will be need about 10-16 staff including someone to run and manage the centre," Mrs Collins said.

"We want to source local as much as we can and we are using a local builder and local tradesmen and women."

Adam Nielsen of Rose City Constructions has been at the helm of development since May, when construction began.

"We wan to put that focus on the people of Warwick, this is very much going to be a part of the community," Mrs Collins said.

Already keen to create friendly ties with the new centre in Warwick, families on the Gold Coast have shown they aren't out of touch with issues in the bush.

Since hosting a "fiver for a farmer" fund-raiser, Whispering Gully parents suggested the money go towards the Border Division QCWA branch drought relief appeal.

"We raised about $800, we were blown away with how much people got involved," Mrs Collins said.

If you would like to register your interest, please contact Nikki Collins at whisperingg@bigpond.com



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