25th May 2017
Little Steps Celebrates Five Wonderful Years
This June, Sydney CBD childcare centre, Little Steps is turning five. And it’s not every day you turn half a decade so we are celebrating this momentous occasion with a Family Fun Day for all Guardian families, prospective families and friends on Saturday 17th June at Five Dock Park from 10am till 1pm.
From a little start with just eight children to a thriving centre filled with happy faces, we chat to the woman behind Little Steps, Centre Manager Hanna Park-Choi, who has been at the service since day one, to hear just exactly just how far they’ve come since 2012.
Tell us a bit about your career background.
I’ve been in the Early Learning Industry for 13 years and started out as an Assistant Educator in the room at Margaret Street. From there I progressed to Room Leader at the centre. Not long after, I was given the opportunity to start up Little Steps five years ago over on Bligh Street. It was really exciting to open a new centre but I had no idea how much work and thinking would be involved! It was a challenging time but I’m really proud of what we’ve made Little Steps into today. We have many happy families who started with us who are now bringing their second and third children to the centre.
What was the first day like at Little Steps?
I’ll never forget the day that Little Steps opened! We had eight children, a brand new team who had never worked together and some nervous families (due to it being a new centre). I was really nervous too but I couldn’t outwardly show it!
The great thing about having a small group to start was that it allowed us to grow together and build up solid relationships and trust with both the educators and families. We all learnt how to support each other during these early days.
What’s the team like at Little Steps?
It’s all about relationships at Little Steps. We have a loyal and caring team who form strong connections with each child. I make sure I ask every interviewee why they want to work with children to make sure we have a team who passionate about children. Some of the team have been with me since the start and I absolutely love seeing their beautiful relationships and connections with the children and families.
What do you love most about Little Steps?
So many things! I love the relationships between everyone at the centre. I also love that families are very involved with the centre and I get a lot of support from them when I try to do something new. We always make sure we keep families informed and communication open so there’s a good level of trust between us.
We also build community relationships where we will go out into the community, chat to staff and give presents during certain times of the year. This could be to the 1 Bligh Street management, car park staff, food court staff and the local cafes.
What gets you out of bed every morning?
To put it simply, it’s the children. When I hear their excitement as they run into the centre each morning it makes me really happy. The support and trust I receive from my families is important to me. It can be hard to have families entrust you with their child, so it’s really lovely to have families trust their child with you.
You must have many highlights from the past five years. What’s one that stands out to you?
Recently we had a graduation celebration for our class of 2016. It was particularly special to me as of the 12 children who graduated, 10 of them had started in the first year of Little Steps. I saw them grow from babies to going off to primary school, which was a proud and emotional day for me. I even planned my own family planning around it so I could go!
It was hard to say good bye to the children but I still get to see families with other children still in the centre. I’ve also heard from kindergarten teachers who say that the children who graduated are very confident and so keen to learn new things, which is always good to hear.
What’s next for Little Steps?
At Guardian, we follow the Reggio Emilia approach and earlier this year I went to Reggio Emilia on a study tour. Here I saw and felt how children responded to their spaces and environments within their centres. I saw some amazing art works created by the children and it inspired me to undertake art projects like this at my centre. I also want to challenge the children more, to push them and question them instead of simply complimenting their artworks and putting them away. Oh, and I’m currently preparing for my own maternity leave!
A kind word from a family
“Our son has attended Little Steps since it opened and is going to start school next year (he is currently 4). We have had lots of experience with other centres (we also have another older son) and can safely say that Little Steps is outstanding. The carers have created a warm, intimate, inviting atmosphere in which our son has thrived. The transition to a new centre was managed extremely well and he has lots of good friends that he looks forward to seeing every day. We would definitely recommend Little Steps to others.” Niki
Little Steps’ 5th Birthday Family Fun Day Details
Date: Saturday 17th June
Time: 10am – 1pm
Where: Five Dock Park
Click here to RSVP.