Popular CQ child care expansion slashing huge waiting lists
TEARS are often shed by reluctant children clinging on to their parents on the first day of kindergarten.
But the only tears shed by kids of Emu Park's new Coastal Kids Kindergarten were when they had to leave.
New owner, Kerrie Corrigan, took over the 36-year-old kindy, operating as short-term care, in December after realising the small, coastal community was lacking in longer care for working parents.
"The community has changed, there's a lot more working parents now who need longer care hours for their kids,” she said.
The two acre property was said to be run down and dated, so Mrs Corrigan breathed some new life into the old building on Arthur St.
After a busy month of major renovations and extensions, the new kindy welcomed its first groups of kids this month with rave reviews.
A new kitchen, bathroom and storeroom was built with a modern layout, contrasting to the expansive natural bushland and play-area out the back.
Mrs Corrigan, who also owns Coastal Kids Childcare Centre, said the new addition to her business enabled more kids to have access to great care.
Known as one the best child care centres in Central Queensland, Ms Corrigan said parents would usually wait between six and 12 months for a spot to open up for their child.
"We can now allow every child in Emu Park access to great kindy, and in the process, have opened up positions in the child care to almost immediate access,” she said.
Owner for nearly 12 years, Mrs Corrigan prided her centre as one of the few in the region exceeding the national quality standards and credited her dedicated staff for their hard work.
After six years as a teacher early in her career, the 42-year-old always set out to own her own long-term daycare centre.
"It's been a lifelong dream of mine,” she said.
"I have to remind myself sometimes that I'm living that dream everyday.”
The close-knit employees are thrilled with the new addition to their workplace with Mrs Corrigan saying there have been no compromises to ensure the best care possible.
"Some of the staff have been here for years so it's a new challenge for us all,” she said.
Mrs Corrigan said parents were thrilled to have the chance of using Coastal Kids Kindergarten.
"The only tears I've seen are when the kids have to go home, they're loving it too,” she said.
Mrs Corrigan said the new kindy catered up to 50 new kids, with three staff to each separate group.
"Hopefully now we are meeting all the community needs and will be gauged by that with future plans,” she said.
Coastal Kids Kindergarten was open from 7.30am to 5.30pm, but access to care was available form 6.30am to 6.15pm.