Standing out from the crowd – Discovery Childcare Croydon
As Corporate Strategist for the Discovery Group, Malini Gunaratnam strives to give each childcare centre its own personality and unique style.Discovery Childcare in Croydon, Victoria, was Malini’s most recent success.
The foundation of Discovery Group’s academic program is based on the best of Danish Forest School philosophy, Reggio Emilia, Montessori and Steiner. It is a program that has been designed to challenge all students while remaining flexible enough to accommodate the needs and preferences of every child.
The first thing parents and children see when they arrive at Croydon’s newest childcare centre is an absolutely massive dinosaur! ‘We want to attract children to the centre, not make them feel as though they are visiting an institution,’ explained Malini. ‘The owner of Discovery Group has a connection with Village Roadshow, and he likes to promote learning through fantasy, so we have some quirky fun items around our childcare centres.
‘At Croydon, we have an indoor slide in the Great Hall, which is always a talking point. Children don’t expect to find such a large slide indoors! The dinosaur at the entrance is so popular that children tell their parents they are going to the Dinosaur Park for the day, rather than day care. We love that excitement. We talk to the children about cleaning the dinosaur’s teeth, so we build education around him.’
Furniture that is a cut above the rest
Not quirky, but certainly unique is the furniture Malini chose for Discovery Childcare in Croydon.
‘By chance, I found out that STEP Learning Resources had an item that I hadn’t been able to source elsewhere. This led to a meeting with Dan Kennard to discuss their furniture range.
‘When I met Dan, I had a feeling that their products were going to be a cut above the rest.However, I went to visit a centre they had fitted out to see and feel the quality for myself. Catalogue pictures don’t give you that sensory satisfaction and can be misleading.’
Unique styling opportunity
As soon as Malini saw the products, she knew she had found the unique styling opportunity she had hoped for. ‘I was delighted and started working with Dan on colours and designs. We chose the round and kidney shaped tables from the Versatek and Venice range. The tables are available in different heights, and the taller tables are perfect for craft in the older age rooms.’
‘Each room has a colour theme,’ Malini said. ‘We had the tables custom made with coloured bands around the top of the tables to match the room colour. It’s exciting as there is something new to see as you move through each room with its unique colour and styling.’
Customised play tunnel with bookshelves
There is no limit to the imagination with customised childcare furniture from STEP Learning Resources. In-house manufacturing in Australia means that customers can have their own stand-out pieces. Malini ordered acustomised crawling tunnel, which has bookshelves on two sides,doubling as a storage and play resource.
Low maintenance, easy clean childcare furniture
‘Of course, with lots of little fingers around, functionality and maintenance are vital for any childcare centre,’ Malini laughed.‘STEP certainly didn’t disappoint in this regard. Crayon, pencils, even glue marks wipe off easily, with no chemical cleaning products required. Also, the furniture is surprisingly light for such sturdy, good quality timber, and it’s easy for staff to move items around.’
‘The set up was very smooth,’ Malini concluded. ‘We simply gave the STEP team our floor plans and they assembled everything. It was so convenient.We are delighted with the overall styling of the centre. Other suppliers have even admired our furniture choices, acknowledging that they could not have supplied similar products.That is rare praise indeed!’