A childcare centre chain that thinks like parents, while providing the best curriculum (and extra curricular activities) and even nutritional options for our youngest offspring? Sign us up!
Way back in 1995, Karen Williams bought a dilapidated building with the intentions of turning it into a childcare centre. Before she knew it, she had built and reinvented 22 centres along the east coast, raised a son and fended o corporations hoping to buy her business. All the while, she remained committed to one goal – giving kids and parents the best start at creating a great life.
Smarter Kids has since scaled back to six centres, all offering the best services for kids and their families – from tennis and gymnastics to chef- cooked nutritional meals.
“At some centres, we were really concerned with parents’ ideas of nutrition – they would pack doughnuts and Twisties for a whole day’s lunch,” Karen says. “So that’s why I wanted to provide better food options – for the kids who might not be eating well at home. It’s funny – I don’t find fussy eaters in a childcare setting. Once they see that they’re all eating the same thing, it eliminates any thoughts of ‘I don’t want this’ or ‘I want what she’s having’.”
On a mission to create an environment that enhances children’s development in all areas, Karen has implemented a well-rounded extra- curricular program across all of her centres.
“I try to look at every area to see how can we support families and children,” Karen says. “There are so many different roles within development and just one part of that is good health, fine and gross motor skills and hand-eye coordination.”
Tennis, dancing and gymnastic are all offered on site and form part of the children’s daily routine. Using a curriculum she developed during her Master’s degree, Karen aims to give kids all of the foundational stuff that they will need for school, as well as noticing problem areas and actioning early intervention.
“Our big thing is that we always look at things from the parents’ perspective,” says Karen. “We think about what’s annoying and bothersome to parents and try to resolve that.”
For example, the centres offer make-up days so that parents don’t have to pay for days that their child didn’t actually attend, and longer hours to t in better with the timetables of working parents.
“It’s really important to create environments where people are feeling like they’re supported to become great parents.”