ECEC Provider in Focus: Tillys Play & Development Centre
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ECEC Provider in Focus: Tillys Play & Development Centre

by Freya Lucas

March 08, 2024

Tillys Play & Development Centre is a privately owned family business established in 1994 which has 12 early childhood education and care (ECEC) services in the Central Coast and Hunter region of New South Wales, with three more services due to come online in 2024. 


Other services in the network go by the Tillys Play & Education Centre. Tillys Play and Education Centre – East Maitland has the notable achievement of moving from Working Towards the National Quality Standard in 2020 (under different ownership)  to Exceeding the National Quality Standard in 2023 (under Tillys ownership). 


Tillys offers both long day care (LDC) and outside school hours care (OSHC) services. 


What is the history of Tillys? 


Tillys was established by owners and operators Ron and Donna MacIntyre who have a long history of operations in the early childhood sector in NSW. 


Services across the network educate and care for children 0-12 years of age, with the smallest service having 28 places and the largest 174. 


The Greta, Bolwarra, Chisholm, Gillieston Heights and Rutherford services have separate OSHC services which cater for between 30 and 60 children before and after school, and during school holidays. 


In 2010, Tillys established the Tillys College of Childcare, which the owners say is the “only training college in the Hunter and Newcastle areas in which students study within a working childcare centre.”


What is the Tillys vision and approach to learning? 


As well as complying with the Early Years Learning Framework and the Framework for School Aged Care, the Tillys programs focus on the holistic development of each child as an individual. 


“We believe that each area of development affects another and as such no one area is more or less important than another,” information on the website notes. 


“These areas include (children’s) emotional development, social skills and confidence, their talking and listening skills, their fine and gross motor skills and their concentration, problem solving and thinking skills. These are the skills essential for a positive childhood and transition to school.”


The programs are heavily play based, and are backed by extensive research. Music, Literacy, Sustainability, Art, Maths, Science, Dramatic Play, Dancing, Gardening, Climbing, Exploring, Researching, Technology, Puzzles, Conflict Resolution, Empathy, Animal Care, Problem Solving, Excursions and Incursions, Independence and Self Help Skills, Choices, and Friendships are all aspects of the program. 


What is Tillys approach to educators’ identity and development?


Tillys aims to ensure that all its staff are supported, and have the opportunity to work in a fun, energetic environment that encourages personal growth and development. 


The service offers flexible days and hours, along with full time, part time and casual opportunities, paying up to 21 per cent above award. 


Staff have access to paid professional development opportunities, including a Training and Development program, Future Leadership development, curriculum training, an annual conference and critical reflection forums.


Staff have replaced time away from working directly with children for curriculum planning and documentation or for study/traineeship time.


NESA fees are paid annually for early childhood teachers, and there are a range of staff bonuses and incentives including free movie tickets, lunches and gift vouchers; free influenza vaccinations each year; Westpac member benefits; Reduced Genesis gym membership fees; a free weekly yoga class; and a Referral Bonus Program with a $300 gift card.


Staff also benefit from ongoing guidance from an extended management team with over 25 years of knowledge and experiences, and from fellow educators – some of whom have been with our company since we opened in 1994.


Learn more about Tillys Play & Development Centre here

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