While a network of Sesame Lane Early Learning Centres now covers all of Moreton Bay, the business started with a single building in Redcliffe in 1988.
Sesame Lane is a familiar name for most locals. It evokes wonderful childhood memories for thousands who remember the happy days spent there during their formative years. Many former students are now parents, taking their children back to Sesame Lane for fun learning experiences.
While a network of Sesame Lane Early Learning Centres now covers all of Moreton Bay, the business started with a single building in Redcliffe in 1988. The founders of Sesame Lane, Hilton and Lynda Misso always envisioned more than one childcare centre. They now look pridefully back on their beginnings in Victoria Avenue.
“ I can still remember the colourful children's toys and the whiff of new paint inside. We had a landline phone and a fax machine. We did all of the paperwork on real paper.”
Lynda managed their first centre in Redcliffe and smiles as she remembers her first day at Sesame Lane.
"We had a total of just three students. Those three children were well supported on the first day, with two Educators to look after them, a more than adequate student-to-teacher ratio," Lynda laughed.
"Everything was bright and fresh. I can still remember the colourful children's toys and the whiff of new paint inside. We had a landline phone and a fax machine. We did all of the paperwork on real paper."
A lot has changed for Sesame Lane students over the past 35 years, especially regarding educational excursions outside the centre. Students in the early days used to throw a sunhat on and walk the two kilometres through Redcliffe down to the beach with their teachers. They would have a swim or a paddle, maybe eat their lunch on the beach, and return a few hours later to be ready for pickup time. These days a bus is used for excursions, and many more risk assessments are undertaken by the university qualified Educators and Teachers.
There was no government funding for childcare providers or parents.
From that modest beginning in 1988, Sesame Lane has blossomed into a group of fourteen centres, all located in the local area. The business remains in the hands of Hilton and Lynda. It caters for around 1,800 children each day at Redcliffe, Kippa-Ring, Clontarf, Morayfield, Dakabin, Narangba and North Lakes.
For its 35th birthday, the first Sesame Lane centre at 325 Victoria Avenue Redcliffe has received a comprehensive renovation. It has been joined by a brand-new Sesame Lane building which has sprung up next door.
The new Sesame Lane Redcliffe caters for 115 children aged under five years, with activities and programs to cater specifically for each age group. It's open five days per week all year round, except for public holidays.
The original building, completely refurbished, is now open as a 'Kindy Hub', in which children aged four to five are immersed in the government-approved Kindergarten Program in the year before they attend school.
Sesame Lane has joined with the Tangalooma EcoMaries to deliver a sustainability program to the Kindy children, and they'll also learn Auslan Sign Language with Rhyme Rhythm and Sign Brisbane. The Kindy Hub opens for extended hours five days a week to cater for working parents.
Hilton is passionate about learning and well known in the local community as a driving force behind several other local enterprises besides Sesame Lane. He describes himself as an ordinary guy who looks to do extraordinary things while aiming to stick to his values and retain a solid perspective on life.
Hilton says he had a difficult time at school and believes this experience helped to set him up with a certain mindset that has emphasised persistence over life's inevitable adversities. He promised himself early in life to become successful for himself, his family, and his community.
Embracing his personal philosophy and vision in life, 'to do good, for many, with leverage to have impact', Hilton has ventured into other business opportunities in Education, Property, Fitness and Wellbeing, and Training Colleges, among others.
Through his company Think2Be - Anything You Want To Be, Hilton reaches out to individuals, groups and corporations to inspire commitment from those of all ages to secure their best future in the areas of self, community and connectedness. The Group particularly focuses on the value of mindfulness and awareness as key ingredients to life's journey for a better future - a future better than the past.
Hilton is well known around Moreton Bay for his philanthropy, helping others through the principle of teaching to fish rather than giving fish. His definition of success in life is not money or stature. Still, the intrinsic reward of knowing we can and have made a difference. But he says he hasn't finished yet.
Sesame Lane can be contacted on Facebook or via the website sesamelane.com.au, or by phone on 3480 8000.
Hilton's company Think2Be - Anything You Want To Be, welcomes enquiries and can be found at think2be.com.au