Coomera Clubhouse was established in 2011 by Adam & Jane Gilbert to help loving, busy parents who are trying to get their home and work life organised and in balance. To provide trusted support so that everyone in the family thrive.
Like most, we saw an opportunity with childcare as a way to make this happen – but we saw something missing in the market. We saw “paid babysitting” type centres who seemed just there to make money, not really operating on values.
We also saw “plastic” type centres which felt more like fast-food franchises, lots of plastic and over stimulation, where the kids lacked creativity and natural development in their play.
We’ve brought a unique approach which is much more than childcare. It’s your natural connection to a supportive community. It’s built on the three pillars of “Nurture, Safety, and Creativity”, which gives parents peace of mind and allows children to thrive, be supported, and become all they can be.
So how did our unique combination come about? Let us share with you our story…
Jane was inspired by the old-school style of childcare the way she remembers it being when she was young, growing up in Mosman, Sydney. Everything based around nature – Australian animals, flora and fauna, a more natural look and feel. Everything felt beautiful, softer, more earthy, more real. An environment where creativity was fostered and encouraged. They had a family feel, a nurturing environment. They felt like safe places to be.
When she had her own children and looked into care for them – she noticed that things had changed. Childcare centres seemed to feel more like McDonald’s outlets than natural environments. Bright colours, everything artificial, very in-your-face.
Jane noticed a very big change in one of her children after attending one of these centres. It amplified some of the challenges he was already facing. In addition she felt left in the dark as to how he was going during the day, by staff who seemed more to be paid babysitters than carers.
That feeling is one she would not soon forget – and it reinforced with her the importance of connection with the people who were being trusted to take care of children.
Trusting in values
The road hasn’t always been easy though… Sticking with their values to create a unique natural environment for the kids to absorb, play, and be creative in, required custom work and had it’s challenges.
Adam and Jane have worked very hard to keep their commitment to building an environment which is nurturing, safe & creative – and spent the extra money, and made the extra changes that were needed to stick with their vision.
Adam does much of the maintenance & outdoor planning himself, and is regularly in on his days off to meet contractors and cleaners, to go the extra mile and ensure the standards are kept high. He and Jane both follow the rule of never do anything cheap – it always ends up costing you more in the long run.
In addition to our regular cleans, we have our professional cleaning contractors that come 2-3 times a year – and everything (literally everything) is pulled out of the rooms, the whole place is sanitised. A lot of centres don’t do that (it’s not a government requirement). It is part of the commitment to a safe, nurturing environment. Again – it costs more and we have to run a tight ship, but in our mind, it’s the minimum and we don’t let it slip.
In the end, it’s about the people
Another challenge of late, however, has come from the wider environment – and it’s one that all centres face. With more and more centres opening up in the area, quality staff are becoming much harder to come by in all centres. They have the choice of where to work.
Our values have stood the test of time – and we remain blessed to have the most passionate, nurturing team we could ever ask for. Our team are our secret sauce, and they make the centres what they are. Led by the Kylie Winstanley, Rebecca Reeves, Emma Newman, Lindsay Buck & Kelly Gow – our team is well established and stable – 3 out of every 4 staff have been with us since opening.
We are also a good mix of mums, non-mums, and mums to be which is very important to a lot of our parents. The mums and mums-to-be among us bring a deep level of understanding about parenting support, and the non-mums amongst us bring bundles of energy for our kids!
Parents know they can relax when they come in – as their philosophy is “The more the parents are involved, the better”. They are often surprised at getting the full tour the first time they visit, and at the invitation to drop in anytime with no appointment, which a lot of centres don’t do.
We’re not just childcare, we’re