Aligning the space with the curriculum
When Suzanne Barrett set up Explore & Develop in Umina, NSW, she wanted to create an early learning space that aligned with the Walker Learning curriculum. Creating inviting play spaces for children to explore and develop is at the heart of this 88-place long day care centre operating on the beautiful Central Coast.
Suzanne had worked with STEP Learning Resources previously when she opened her Terrigal early childhood education centre. Suzanne was already familiar with their range of natural wood tables and chairs, and she was keen to find out more about STEP’s wider resource offering.
Very competitive pricing
‘I met with Maree and Dan to discuss the layout and number of rooms,’ Suzanne explained. ‘They gave me suggestions for childcare equipment and furnishings. Of course, I compared prices with other companies and found STEP very competitive.
‘The concept to completion service was important to me because there’s so much to do when setting up an early childhood education business. I like to support local companies when possible, and STEP is locally owned and managed as well as having a Central Coast manufacturing facility.’
Service that goes above and beyond
Suzanne has high praise for STEP’s service levels. ‘They went above and beyond to source specific products I wanted. They even provided me with interim floor mats because it was going to take a while for delivery of my natural colour mats.
‘I couldn’t fault their service. They could tell us the exact date everything would arrive, even the special-order products. There were a couple of breakages in transit and STEP was very responsive; the items were replaced immediately.’
Natural wood creates a homely feeling
Suzanne reflected on the early childhood furniture and resources she ordered. ‘The custom-made tables meant I could choose the colour to match my décor. The centre has natural stone tiles so I ordered the natural birch tables with white legs. It’s really nice to have an option to personalise furniture colours.
‘The natural timber home corners are a favourite for all rooms, because STEP offers different height units for each age group. Also, the Role Play Archway creates a real sense of discovery and has been everything from a village gateway to a café to an entry to dinosaur land!
‘As well as natural furniture, STEP has an excellent variety of high quality natural wood products such as puzzles and blocks. The natural wood helps me create a homely feeling and a warm, inviting environment. Even the climbing equipment matches our style theme; we have the Eucalyptus Trestles and Walkboards, which integrate well with the other indoor and outdoor timber.’
Practical childcare furniture
When it comes to more functional products, STEP Learning Resources proves that childcare equipment can look great and still be practical. Suzanne commented on the Ergo cots, ‘They are a good size, and they have a built-in drawer so they are practical as well as ergonomic.’
Explore & Develop also has the Bjorg highchairs, which are adjustable to two heights to suit different ages.
‘I’m really glad to see a local company that is able to provide such high quality childcare products and efficient, friendly and reliable service,’ Suzanne concluded. ‘The ongoing discount program is great and I’ve already ordered more products. I will certainly be dealing with STEP Learning Resources for a long time to come.’