Educators, parents and children from Albany Creek Community Kindergarten are getting ready to party, with the centre reaching an important milestone next week.
The kindergarten is celebrating its 50th anniversary on Saturday, May 14, and will be marking the occasion with an open day in the morning followed by a small celebration in the afternoon.
One person who is looking forward to the occasion is Janelle Bull, who has been an educator at the centre for 35 years.
“I was always interested in being a teacher. Because I lived in the country and not in Brisbane, I missed out on getting a scholarship because my dad didn’t want me to move,” she said.
“I worked at home for awhile and then after I had my children I started studying then.”
Janelle has seen many changes in the childcare industry in her career, but still loves coming to work every day.
“I get to do lots of different things, so the whole day is just a lot of fun,” she said.
“We do bush Kindy with the children every fortnight and I love to get them out of there – it’s one of my favourite things to do with the children.
“Its nice to see the difference in the kids through this program. At the beginning, some of them might be scared of a spider, even if it’s miles away from them, but by the end of the year they are much more confident and not scared anymore.
“They like to challenge themselves, so one of the differences at the end of the year is they might be able to walk up the hill without getting on their hands and knees, which is great to see.”
Janelle has also seen many children she taught then come back to the centre as adults with their own children, like two of the families interviewed below.
“I think it is really special that Albany Creek has stayed a real family-orientated area, and that parents who treasured their time here so much when they were kids wanted to come back with their own children,” she said.
One family who has a long history with the Albany Creek Community Kindergarten is Michael Mangan, his daughter Sophie Woodward, and his grandson Henry Woodward.
“All four of my children went to the centre,” Michael said.
“I used to be part of the parent activities here at the centre, such as parent working bees to keep the gardens nice.
“When Sophie was little, I was involved with the Christmas Carols, and now I come and do a little music session with Henry.”
Michael also remembers Janelle from when his children attended.
“The amazing thing is Mrs Bull was here when Sophie was here, and now she is Henry’s teacher,” he said.
“She has not changed one bit.”
Sophie said when it came to choosing a Kindy for her son, she was excited to show him where she went when she was a little girl.
“It’s a really nice feeling to come back here and remember the room and all the good stuff that happened when I was here, so to be able to give that to Henry is really lovely,” she said.
Lauren Fisk is also another parent who attended the centre when she was young.
“I don’t remember a whole lot from when I was here as a child, except for the playground - I remember exactly what it looks like,” she said.
“But I do remember how I got here. My dad would put me on his pushbike and push me because we lived just down the road.
“My dad Frank also helped with the gardening, and he put in a veggie patch 30 years ago.”
Lauren also remembers Janelle and believes some of the other parents attended at the same time as they look familiar.
Fast forward to today and Lauren’s son Blake Daly is the one now creating memories with his friends and starting his education.
Lauren, who is now a kindergarten teacher herself, said she was drawn to Albany Creek Community Kindergarten for her son due to its curriculum and life lessons.
“I was really drawn to the centre because of what they teach the kids. They are great in preparing the kids for school. Even just having the kids take their own responsibility to pack their own bags and get their shoes on, it’s really important,” she said.
The Albany Creek Community Kindergarten started in 1972 and was in the Salvation Army Hall on Albany Creek Road, which is where the National Australia Bank operates today.
The Kindy also regularly operated from Albany Creek State School when the Salvos used the hall one day a week, which meant all the activities were packed up and moved across to the school.
Resident Matt Campbell accepted the position of Patron of the kindergarten in 1975.
Land was allocated for the community kindergarten by the then Pine Rivers Shire Council, which was a lease of half an acre.
A building committee was formed in 1977 to get a building off the ground.
When the committee could not secure government funding, the community rallied together and 10 people went guarantor on a loan of $50,000.
Matt Campbell’s son, the late Peter Campbell and his wife Sue Campbell, were highly regarded in the Albany Creek community and instrumental in starting the kindergarten.
The open day will be held from 10am-12pm on Saturday, May 14 and will be an opportunity for new families to see the centre firsthand.
Past committee members, educators, families and students, as well as those who attend the Kindy today, well then gather in the afternoon from 2-4pm.
The afternoon will feature food, games, a visit from Geckoes wildlife and more.
As one of the kindergarten’s founding members, Sue will have the honour of cutting the cake.