Having spoken to a few mum and dads that work at The Streets, we have it on pretty good authority that choosing an early learning centre for your child can be a little bit daunting. Not only is it often the first time parents and their child spend any significant amount of time apart, there are seemingly a million things to look at - from the centre's curriculum and teaching philosophy, to its health and safety practices, right through to what it serves at little lunch.
Of course, one of the key things to think about is the team of educators and staff that will be teaching, caring for, and interacting with your child almost every day. So to help you get to know the team at Guardian Early Learning Barangaroo a little bit better, we sat down with their centre manager, Krissy, for a chat (and to race toy trucks in the sandpit!).
Krissy Andrews, Centre Manager of Guardian Early Learning Barangaroo
How long have you been in the early learning industry?
Just over nine years now - and still loving it! I was previously the Centre Manager at Guardian's Early Learning Centre at Martin Place, before moving over to the new space here on The Streets of Barangaroo. Working with children and families is something I've always been passionate about, and I'm pretty lucky to be doing it every day!
What's the best part of your job?
Working alongside children as they discover and learn about the world around them is so rewarding. I love seeing them achieve things themselves after seeing them try for hours, days - or sometimes - weeks.
They don't have to be big achievements either. It's the little things, like seeing a young child who manages to finally walk between two spaces; or when one of our preschool children writes their name for the first time; or when a toddler manages to put their own sheets on their bed after weeks of getting help from another child. Being able to celebrate these moments with them and share it with their families is priceless.
What are you enjoying most about working at The Streets?
The whole area is so rich in cultural history - so it’s a wonderful place for families and children to come together to learn about the history of Australia. Obviously, the area has amazing views across the harbour, and its connection with nature has already been igniting the childrens’ curiosity and learning.
I’m looking forward to organising excursions to Barangaroo Reserve, the museums and galleries around the CBD, the aquarium – and of course, seeing more of the neighbourhood's cafes, restaurants and shops!
Do you ever feel like the children are teaching you as much as you’re teaching them?
Everyday! Sometimes I think as adults we tend to believe we hold all the answers, but I've come to understand it isn’t always about the answers. Most of the time, it's about the journey we go on to find the answers - and if we simply answer questions, we miss the 100 questions children will ask along the way.
Tell us a little bit about the new space at The Streets.
We have three main investigation areas - a light and projector space, a loose part environment for construction, and an art space for clay work and fine art materials. All three areas are designed to allow children to explore their own wonderings about the world around them, and test their theories using real-world products and materials. The materials are open-ended, meaning they can be used in many ways for a range of different purposes, and this teaches the children to express their ideas and thinking in multiple (and often creative) ways.
What do you get up to outside of work?
When I’m not at the centre, you can find me surfing (I’m originally from Byron Bay), discovering local hidden gems (like the views from Little Marley beach in the Royal National Park, or the mini cookie you get with every coffee at Shirt Bar) snowboarding, hanging out with family and friends, and making healthy treats!
Lastly - and be honest - do you ever play with the toys and equipment when no one’s around?
Of course! As part of the team that developed the space at Barangaroo, I needed to make sure it was all in working order before the children got their hands on it… right?
I must admit - still to this day - you'll often even find me in the light atelier creating extra activities for the children, or experimenting with multimedia layering using the projectors. Not only is it a lot of fun - it also helps me become a better educator.
Guardian Early Learning Barangaroo is now open on Level 1, 100 Barangaroo Avenue (enter via Scotch Row). To find out more or book a tour of the centre, visit the Guardian website or call 13 82 30.