ECEC Provider in Focus – AppleBerries Early Education Services
AppleBerries Early Education is a southeast Queensland focused early education provider that owns and operates a network of six long day care services.
What is the history of AppleBerries?
Founded in 2017 by Terry King, a former senior leader at G8 Education, AppleBerries got its start when it was offered the opportunity to take over a service in Beenleigh, Queensland, that Goodstart Early Learning, the tenants at the time, were considering closing down.
Seeing potential to do things a bit differently at the service level, Mr King agreed to take over the lease and at that point AppleBerries was born.
The team wasted no time in investing in the service, adding a nursery, updating the yards and re-energizing the leadership and educators. Over the course of the following five years AppleBerries gradually expanded through a combination of buying and building services.
What is AppleBerries vision and approach to learning?
The AppleBerries mission is to profoundly enrich the lives of its children and its families and they deliver on their vision through a “home from home” approach to early learning and care.
Amanda Webster, an educational leader at AppleBerries said, “we deliver an educational program that is based on the strengths, interests and age appropriate goals that are individual for each child, age group and the service as a whole.”
“We are strong advocates for the voice of children that reflects our partnership with our families and wider community.”
The team is guided by a set of core values that include being innovative and adaptable, engaging with the utmost integrity, being accountable, demonstrating determination and always being nurturing and compassionate.
Are there any unique aspects to how AppleBerries runs its business?
Other than providing service leaders the flexibility to express their practice and programming passions as they wish, the senior leadership at AppleBerries have created a unique culture of high performing service leaders that permeates through the entire organisation.
Of the six service leaders currently in place, two were hired at the time of acquisition, one joined with the acquisition and the other three, two of whom currently operate brand new services, were promoted from within the organisation.
“At AppleBerries we believe very strongly in the power of succession and backing ambitious, committed team members to step up and take on ever increasing responsibilities and roles,” Andy Reid, AppleBerries Chief Executive Officer said.
“What I am particularly proud of is that three of our leaders came from within, and transferred to another service to spread their wings, and step up in their career.”
“That is the AppleBerries way.”
The senior leadership team has been very careful to build a culture where opportunities to grow and evolve abound with the all service leaders included in the AppleBerries group’s quarterly strategic meetings with coaching and mentoring with the founder, CEO and operations manager hard coded into weekly, monthly and quarterly routines.
It also considers work life balance an essential component of its approach and reflects the importance of this attitude by closing its services for two weeks over the Christmas and New Years period to enable all team members to relax and reset ahead of the upcoming year.
What does the future look like for AppleBerries?
As more and more time passes the operational success of AppleBerries emboldens the team to continue to look for additional opportunities to expand its service offering to more children and families across South East Queensland.
“We are an ambitious bunch,” Mr Reid said.
“We have such an amazing group of leaders that believe in us and what we are trying to do. We will continue to grow, but at a nice steady pace, which doesn’t put too much pressure on the business, but still opens a lot of avenues for career growth for our team. It is mutually beneficial.”
The leadership team are very open with their service based teams about their plans for the future which provides the broader group with a strategic purpose and a sense that they are all part of something bigger than just the community they serve.
To learn more about AppleBerries Early Education visit their website.
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