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By Mandy Oakham

Pirate ships, supersized sand pits, a speciality mud kitchen and a personal cook!
If this sounds like kid heaven, these are just some of the very earthly options being offered at one of Geelong’s newest childcare centres, United Children Child Care and Kindergarten.
According to the centre’s manager Julie Whitebread the philosophy behind their special brand of child care is all about valuing the community and valuing the needs of the individual child and family.
“We have a total of seven learning spaces here at the centre and the focus is definitely on the individual child’s development rather than chronological age,“ Julie said.
“We like to sit with parents and get to know the child, as well as the whole family’s processes and interactions.“
The centre, in Bailey Road, Grovedale, opened in January and is licensed for 138 places and can cater for children aged from six weeks up to six years.
There are 10 staff now employed at the centre, but that number will increase alongside the enrolments.
“All of our staff may have different personalities but they have the same commitment to the same values and are focussed on delivering best practice in child care,“ Julie said.
Home visits are offered by staff to discuss any issues relating to routine, behaviour or just general orientation to the centre or parents can make a time to make a visit to the centre to have a discussion with staff about any concerns. And it is not just the parents. Grandparents are very welcome to become involved with all activities at the centre as well.
Other features at the centre include an indoor street library and a full-time cook who daily prepares fresh meals of restaurant standard and the kids get to “self serve“ from the healthy menu, as well as being tempted by the fruit bowls in each learning area.
The centre has also developed a relationship with Grovedale Primary School just across the road so that the younger children can learn about life after kinder.
Any parents wanting further information on enrolling should phone 5241 2939 or email geelongsouth@unitedchildren.com.au to arrange a personalised tour.

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