Celebrations are in order: 2016 marks a grand thirty years of Bear Park early childhood education. Read on for a trip down memory lane.
In June 1986, Sue Stevely-Cole opened the first pre-school. On the roll call was an intimate grouping of three children, who we now fondly refer to as our founding learners.
As a young and determined entrepreneur, Sue wore many hats during the first year as the first centre’s supervisor, teacher, cook, cleaner, accountant and maintenance person.
Now, as we celebrate our 30th birthday, it’s a time for both great reflection and recognition of the teachers, families and children who have made Bear Park what it is today. Three decades on and the offer of quality education to our youngest citizens is stronger than ever. We’re thrilled to include over 800 hundred families in our community of learners. These children and their parents are the true pillars of Bear Park’s educational philosophy and we are honoured that you share our enthusiasm for lifelong learning. In response, our facilities have grown ten-fold since the first. We’re proud that each is managed with integrity.
There have been countless memories made along the road to this 30-year milestone. Many of the mature trees that surround the centres were planted years ago by Sue and her husband Chris, growing strong and tall in pace with Bear Park. And while most hallmarks of the original philosophy remain firmly in place, our current teachers are no doubt relieved that their uniforms have evolved from the original brightly-coloured overalls and fluoro leggings with matching sweatshirts. Proof that even childcare centres can succumb to 80s fashion trends!
Most essentially however, there are the many stories and ideas shared with us by Bear Park children.
“I will always remember a teacher recounting to me how one of her Tui children announced that inside every Chrysalis lives a hot air balloon. This was so that the caterpillar could experience flight before turning into a butterfly”, says Sue Steverly-Cole.
The Bear Park family is now coming full circle as some of our very first children return to us as adults, ready to enroll their own little ones. It is with great pride that we continue to give this new generation of children the best possible start in life.
We have many more aspirations and ambitions for the years to come, and hope all of our teachers, staff members and the wider community will continue the learning adventure with us.