Proud of our place!
Shepherd Early Learning Centre – St Nicholas is a long day care centre in Punchbowl with 50 places for babies and children up to 6 years old. When the centre opened in 2014, Aline Saliba, the Director, knew that parents and children would be excited by the play equipment and educational resources on offer.
“We are so proud of Shepherd Early Learning Centre”, Aline said. “We couldn’t wait to show it off and see the children’s faces as they were playing and exploring the different areas. It was even more enjoyable because STE Products had taken all the stress out of the planning and set up which, I know from experience, can be overwhelming.”
Dan Kennard, Director of STE Products, worked closely with Aline to develop a product plan that would fit the style of the childcare centre. “I loved that Dan didn’t approach us with a standard list and fixed idea about what every day care centre should have,” Aline recalled. “He recognised that we wanted to promote an individual style and character that would make us proud of who we are as a business.”
Aline was working really long hours while planning Shepherd ELC and Dan was available for meetings outside normal business hours. “He was always so professional, just fitting in with me and my strange hours! He didn’t try to persuade me to buy the latest and greatest fad in childcare equipment, but listened and made great suggestions based on his many years of experience with new childcare centres.”
STE have a comprehensive catalogue of products but Aline once had a bad experience when ordering from another company’s catalogue. “When I asked what would happen if I felt the items didn’t live up to the catalogue image, Dan said I could return anything that I didn’t like. Not that I needed to worry, because all the products are fantastic, but it was refreshing to deal with someone who understood the value of true customer service.”
The finished centre has plenty to occupy busy little fingers. “I’m really impressed with the products,” Aline said. “They get plenty of use but it’s clear that they will stand the test of time, and the children get really excited about seeing their favourite items.”
The natural furniture and wooden toys are particularly popular. “They stand out from the run-of-the-mill plastic tables and toys, giving a whole new dimension to our centre and making it feel like home for the children,” Aline explained. “The tables and chairs are so stylish that we’ve even had parents ask where they can buy them! The children also love the natural play block sets, which look like real logs, and we will continue to add new items from that range.”
Aline took advantage of STE’s product installation and rubbish disposal service. “Dan promised it would all be stress-free and he lived up to his word. The staff were professional and took care of all the hard work. I had a few products that I’d picked up along the way and even though they weren’t STE items, the staff just included them in the set-up, which I thought was marvellous.”
The furniture and equipment in a day care centre are about more than just practicality and education. They create an overall impression and a ‘feel’ for the place where precious children will be spending much of their day. This is important to parents, and Aline is delighted with the feedback. “Parents really feel that their children are in a quality environment and they talk about the ‘great vibe’ around our centre. It’s a busy, happy environment and I know that Dan and the team at STE Products have contributed highly to our success and everyone’s enjoyment at Shepherd ELC.