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In a time of uncertainty, being able to visit The Collective Tennyson Childcare Centre was a moment of both inspiration and reflection. Reflection on why we do what we do and inspiration to keep doing more of it. There are a lot of good people who are continuing to do amazing work in the world even around what is happening, and that is especially true of Educators. 

The center is run by Diane Peters at the Kitsilano Neighbourhood House, and we delivered and installed the furniture to their new daycare above Lord Tennyson Elementary just before Christmas 2020. Our experienced Install Team did a great job getting everything unpacked, installed and in place in good time.

The facility quickly reached its maximum capacity of 85 children. Sadly, from a waitlist of 400, this amazing new centre can only accommodate less than a quarter of the children who were on that waitlist. This is not a new challenge and will continue to be an area of focus throughout Vancouver and the Province. With the ongoing need for Early Learning spaces, parents and children alike will welcome new centres that are scheduled for completion.

When we arrived for our visit, the centre looked ready to invite little people as it was set to open in a few days. The Educators have taken the time and considered all the details around the space set up and it shows how much they care. In the Rainbow Room, children will be greeted with a loft decorated in silky looking vines. On the rug in that area, tree branch blocks have been set up using recycled materials to make palm trees. A train track is ready for nimble fingers. Playstands are in the corners of the room and represent a different colour of the rainbow. How the children will use them can only be revealed in our next post when the facility opens.

Diane was diligent and very intentional with her furniture purchases. Having previous experience with Natural Pod in the Bumble Tree Centre located five minutes drive down the road, she knew the furniture would stand the test of time. Bumble Tree has been open for six years and the furniture has stood strong and looks fabulous.

The architect of the building seemed to mirror our own values of embracing clever design, natural light and clean spaces. This flows to the outside space with another magnificent playground by Paul Dirks.

Diane conversed with a team of Educators that have been working with the Early Years through to Youth for decades. She took what has worked well and added to it. She listened to feedback about space, light and function to help her make decisions. She left out a large loft and put in our new Stephanie’s Loft with stairs and ramp. She utilized the playstands in every room, each in different ways. She created intimate but playful spaces with the use of our Play Cube. She highlighted age group difference through the choice of tables and seating areas from infants through to the older ages. 

Spending time with our customers is nourishing and a learning experience for us. Nourishing, in that we are seeing our product how it was originally envisioned; as canvas for the children and Educators to learn in. A learning experience, to hear directly from our customer what really works for them and the children and where we can improve. It’s wonderful to be able to be part of this creativity. 

We love to celebrate the success that Educators are having, because they are making a difference in the lives of so many young learners. At the end of all this, it’s the learners who will remember this time. For the educators that do the work every day, continue to celebrate along the way. You are creating a deep impact on learners and that matters.

Written by Shannon Kirkwood, Operations Director of Natural Pod, and Roxanne Abel, Senior Account Manager of Natural Pod.

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