Rachael & Rick
Rachael Howard, pictured with brother and business partner Ricky is the owner-operator of Early Explorers Childcare Centre. Growing up in a tight knit Mt Roskill community where they had heaps of fun and the freedom to explore and play, the siblings have worked to embed the same culture into their daycare service.
“We lived in a state house in a little cul-de-sac," says Rachael. "There were a lot of kids that lived in our street too, we were a really tight and diverse bunch. The whole street was our playground and there would be about 15 of us kids playing games [with] whatever we could think of using the resources we had. We would play tag and climb up trees, and garage roofs, run through neighbouring lawns. It was a close community.
"I always wanted to be a teacher. When I was little, I’d pretend to be one, often lining up dolls or friends for class. This passion never changed."
"After working in childcare as a teacher and then a manager, I decided that I’d really like to have my own childcare centre. There were values in my philosophy I really wanted to give children. So, I did a year-long business course to come up with a plan to start one."
"When I was nearing the end of the course, there was a fire at the centre I was working at – the place burnt to the ground as a result of arson. I remember standing with my team watching the flames rip through the building I had worked at for over 10 years. The next day I went to have a look and man oh man, it was devastating to see the damage and grey ash everywhere."
"But that was the catalyst to go into business myself. When we found the building for Early Explorers, we knew that it was the right place. The outside yard was just amazing! Trees, grass, gardens – loads of nature to explore and plenty of space for children to run and have adventures in just like I had in my own happy childhood."
"I can’t believe we’ve been here for eight years now! I’m so stoked to be supported by a great team including Gen and Anita – who we worked with at the centre that burnt down. I love this place. I love seeing children enjoying the environment, learning and growing. I can’t think of anything else I’d rather be doing.”
Photo by Bayly & Moore. Text #iloveavondale.