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  • Writer's pictureSheree Hoddinett

Inside Imaginarium

Imaginarium Early Learning has opened its doors in Burpengary and will now be a hive of activity as little faces make their way into the fresh new space for their daily fun.


With more than 30 years of experience in the early childhood sector, Dr Brenda Abbey (pictured) certainly knows a thing or two about working in childcare. Dr Abbey, along with daughter Tanya and son-in-law Arman, are the faces behind Imaginarium Early Learning which opened a new centre in Burpengary on 20 February. It’s been two years in the making as the centre’s building has slowly come to life and now stands proud and tall on Station Road. Soon the centre will be filled with the sounds of children laughing and playing.


“I feel we’ve chosen a really lovely spot in a great area and we really look forward to watching everything grow and blossom.

The first Imaginarium opened at Bellbird Park in 2017 but the decision to open a centre in Burpengary came after Dr Abbey was asked by a developer who was keen to see a centre built locally.


“I absolutely love Burpengary,” she says. “I’ve never seen anything like the shops and you have everything here, it really is a beautiful area.


“We’ve also been looking at the bush kindy, the environmental centre (CREEC) which is just up the road and the community is so ready, they have been watching it all happen for the last two years and they have been so welcoming already.


“I feel we’ve chosen a really lovely spot in a great area and we really look forward to watching everything grow and blossom.”


While there are procedures and processes behind getting a centre up and running, Dr Abbey highlights the first day as the most exciting.


“When the children first come in, it’s like a party and they start to lose any shyness they may have,” she says. “They’ll come in, they’ll be excited and they’ll get to see all these toys and books, it’s a real privilege to watch it all unfold.”


With four children of her own (also a grandmother and great-grandmother), Dr Abbey’s path into the world of childcare began as a teacher when her own children were young. Over time, Dr Abbey has held teaching positions in both Queensland and the Australian Capital Territory, furthered her studies, lectured in early childhood and children’s services at university and TAFE, published articles in early childhood professional journals and so much more. She is passionate about what she does and it shows in the way she has brought her vision to fruition through the centre.



“For everyone that comes into the centre, I believe our job is to give their children an enormous sense of wellbeing because that carries over to when they go home,” she says. “We know it can be a difficult situation for some children and parents in those early days, especially knowing every child and every family is so different, but our aim is to make it as enjoyable as possible for all of our families so communication is extremely important.


“We also know how much children thrive on routine, so we focus on keeping movement between rooms to a minimum, eating and playing at similar times, those kinds of things are important to children. We want them to feel comfortable and be familiar and happy with the educators and the environment around them.”


Dr Abbey also believes in the importance of looking after the centre educators (there will be a team of about 25) as they are the faces the children will see every day.


“We are a family business, so we look at the team and make a family of the educators as well,” she says. “We want them to come to work and for it to be a place they want to be at. This means making sure they have their breaks and they have all the resources and training they need to work with the children.”


The new centre in Burpengary features two levels with inside and outside areas for up to 100 children including babies, toddlers and pre-school aged children. It has spacious rooms to allow children to play uninterrupted and to move freely between indoors and outdoors at their leisure. Children under two years have their own indoor and outdoor play areas at one end of the centre. Pre-school aged children are located at the other end of the centre, where their playrooms are resourced with an extensive range of learning materials in preparation for school the following year. There is even areas for water play and gardens featuring newly planted fruit and vegetables for children to both learn about and even eat! Meals are also prepared fresh onsite with the menu including a variety of foods (more than just sandwiches and biscuits) for children to expand on their tastes!


With many childcare centres out in the community, what is it about Imaginarium that sets it apart from the others?


“Well, firstly it'll be clean, clear and uncluttered,” Dr Abbey says. “It's a place of beauty where children will find something to interest them. And I think the physical environment is also an important component. Everything has its place, so children know where things are. It says they can go back and retrieve it the next day. And so that's really important.


“And then the other thing I think is the atmosphere, that it will always be an atmosphere of love and happy relationships. That’s relationships between educators and children. Children and children as well as educators with one another.


“Another important aspect is about equipping children with the different ways of thinking and problem solving and of course fun. It'll be a fun place. It'll be a happy place.”


The centre caters for children aged from six weeks to six years.


Imaginarium Early Learning Centre is located at 144 Station Road, Burpengary. For further information visit www.imaginariumearlylearning.com.au or phone 0406 920 390.

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