THE Campbell Street Childcare Centre is setting a new standard for all early childhood providers around country.
The centre is in the final stages of upgrading their outdoor learning environment after they were chosen by Early Childhood Australia to undertake the project.
A video documentary on the transformation has been filmed by ECA and will be used as an example for other centres in Australia wanting to achieve similar improvements.
Director Tanya Semmler said it had been a long-term goal to upgrade the centre's physical environment but finances had restricted them. The outdoor area has changed from a barren backyard to a learning wonderland.
The work includes three decks, a baby yard, new turf, new garden, a dry river bed, sand pit, steel farm animals and a bike path.
"We're still in the process of getting a water pump and tank and setting up a vegie patch," Miss Semmler said. "We wanted it to be a sustainable environment for the children."
The area will not be fully operational until later in the year to allow for the plants to grow.
The centre caters for 80 local families and Miss Semmler said the area was now more appealing for the children to play and interact.
"This area will increase the children's learning outcomes, before we didn't have an environment where they wanted to explore and be outside. They were bored, they had nothing to do," she said.
ECA CEO Pam Cahir said the outdoor area now had the tools to stimulate the children's imagination which compliments the industry's recently introduced Early Years Learning Framework.
"It's now an automatic learning experience," she said. "There's places to explore, children will learn about problem solving, how to work on their own and together. It's very exciting."
This is just the start of the centre's changes with the kitchen and bathroom also being renovated thanks to $33,000 in funding under the NSW Government's Community Building Partnership program. Mrs Cahir commended Miss Semmler for all her hard work to boost the centre's infrastructure.
"It was Tanya's leadership and openness to ideas that got this project off the ground," she said. "She's shown remarkable leadership in the service and she should be proud of what she's achieved. It's not easy."
Miss Semmler's advice to other centres wanting to do the same thing was to focus on planning. Since March Miss Semmler had been in consultation with planning experts. "Get together and plan what it is you specifically want to achieve," she said.
The physical work started to take shape five weeks ago and most of the funds and labour behind the project was donated by the community. Miss Semmler organised weekend working bees to get the project moving along.
"Get your family involved, your community, contact and get everyone you know behind you. It will be so much easier, just ask for help."
Queanbeyan City Council donated the hedging plants and $1550 towards the cost of the project. Queanbeyan mayor Tim Overall said it was an "amazing transformation" and showed what the community was capable of when it worked together.
"The Campbell Street Childcare Cent has struggled financially in the past, however it is now backed by a strong community board and it's great to see this makeover occur," he said. "Members of our community are volunteering many hours to this inspiring project."
Miss Semmler also thanked the council, Modern Teaching Aids for donating $16,000 worth of furniture and toys, and Can Do All Trades provided $20,000 in labour and materials.
She also thanked Fyshwick Building Suppliers, Seeds & Plants Australia and the Wholesale Sleeper Company Queanbeyan for their contributions.