When Kelly Meyn became an educator at our Landsdale centre 17 years ago, she could have never imagined navigating an early learning centre through a pandemic situation.
After spending 16 years at the centre and becoming a well-loved and recognised face in the community at Landsdale, Kelly took on the role of Centre Manager at our new custom-built Banksia Grove Early Learning Centre at the end of 2019.
Only a few months into the new role, the threat of Coronavirus had reached pandemic level and as with every other aspect of life, the child care sector had to adapt quickly.
Kelly said the experiences of the past few months have reminded her to never take things for granted.
Throughout the past few months she and her team have changed the way they worked to continue providing a safe environment, while working with families whose situations had changed at short notice.
They navigated fluctuating attendance numbers, the impact of the Federal Government’s free childcare initiative and a list of paused enrolments.
Her experiences as a centre manager so far, as with the past 16 and a half years as an educator, have been a journey of constant learning and evolving for Kelly.
She said the main change has been around the way play and learning are delivered.
“When I started out, we would put activities out for the children and that’s what happened that day, now it is down to the children and their interests as to how the day and activities evolve,” Kelly said.
A change on a more personal level for Kelly was when she became a mother herself.
“When I became a mum I had two hats, I started to think more how I would feel if it was my child, knowing how it feels to leave your children in the care of others I could understand the parents more,” she said.
Kelly has used her personal experience to ensure that the care provided at Banksia Grove meets the individual needs of each family.
Throughout the past four years Kelly has worked hard to almost complete a Bachelor of Education Degree, while also working fulltime.
She is one unit away from finishing her studies.
This degree, which is focused specifically on early learning has cemented much of the knowledge she has acquired in her experience as an educator.
Taking on the Centre Manager role at a new centre has been a rewarding experience for Kelly, who has enjoyed seeing the educators at her centre become a team and build connections with the families to create a little MercyCare community within the local community.
As a manger she still has the same connections she did as an educator on the floor. Walking around the nature playground with her, as the children come up to talk to her, it obvious she has forged meaningful relationships with the children.
Kelly said she and her team were also enjoying the interactions with parents at drop off and pick up time, chatting to them about everyday life and the unique little personalities each of the children brought to the centre.
The little MercyCare community within Banksia Grove has started to grow and has become even more special for Kelly this month, with her seven-month-old granddaughter starting in the baby room at the centre.