Leah Mizen remembers little Ellie who was the only child at the centre on her first day working for MercyCare and the second day the centre was operational.
“There was just something special about having that first day there with her and from there we have grown the centre in to what it is today,” she said.
Ellie recently attended MercyCare Thornlie Early Learning Centre’s 10th birthday celebrations with her family including her younger brother who attended the centre until just a few years ago.
Leah, who has organised the celebrations, says no matter how long she works in child care, she still finds her work as rewarding and interesting as ever.
“When I sit back and think for the last 10 years I’ve come to the same place, worked in the same building with the same four walls and done a similar job that whole time I don’t roll my eyes or get bored, it’s still exciting and it’s always a different dynamic with the different children and families,” she said.
Leah, who’s weathered Wiggles line-up changes and countless renditions of ‘Baby Shark’ was second in charge when the centre opened in November 2009 and has since worked in every room of the centre with each different age group and now oversees the overall operation of the centre.
She has enjoyed being part of the community that has grown out of the connections made at the centre, something she says has become more evident throughout the years. “Parents don’t just drop their children off and go, they form a real community and it’s great being part of the families’ lives and building meaningful relationships,” Leah said.
“That’s the great part of having been here so long, we have families return with new siblings and they are delighted to see familiar faces still here, we have parents enrol their children and tell us they chose to come here because their sister’s children or their friend’s children came here,” she said.
Pictured is MercyCare Thornlie Early Learning Centre Manager Leah Mizen with Ellie, who attended the centre as a baby when it first opened, and 15-month-old Zayn who recently joined the centre.