Keep them wild: The childcare team with a difference
The Sector > Provider > General News > Bringing back ‘wildhood’ – The early learning team going back to basics

Bringing back ‘wildhood’ – The early learning team going back to basics

by Jason Roberts

April 15, 2024

“Remember when you were young and spent your days outdoors, playing in the sandpit, digging in the garden, feeding farm animals and splashing around in a make-shift water park?” 


This is how John Wall, the founder of John Wall Childcare, a family owned and operated consultancy focused on strategic analysis and development of sustainable long day care services, begins any discussion on play, a topic he feels incredibly strongly about. 


“We create environments where children thrive, where they can wander, be left alone for more than five minutes, sleep in a tent or on the ground and stare at the stars past their bedtime. I call this their ‘wildhood’.” 


“Children want their ‘wildhood’ back – they want to play for real, not have play dates, they want to get dirty, not sanitized, and they want parents to swap their parenting books for a fishing rod or camping gear.”


This philosophy has guided and informed Mr Wall over the course of a twenty career in the Australian early childhood education and care (ECEC) sector as both a developer of new centres and as an owner and operator of early learning businesses. 


“I have always been passionate about the early learning sector,” he said.


“Whether it be knowing that we are positively impacting children having the time of their life at a centre we helped design or knowing that we have helped a family interested in getting into the sector set up for success with a new centre, we take tremendous pride and satisfaction in what we do.”


“Early learning is a people business. It is a business of the heart, not the head. That is how we approach and that is why we are still here twenty five years later.”


The net result is that Mr Wall and his team have been responsible for the development of well over 500 new centres with happy and grateful owners and a network of ECEC services they are proud to call their own. 


“It has certainly been an amazing journey. And one where we have continued to learn and learn.”


“Indeed, if I look back on the last six years, that is when we really have got it right. Sometimes learning what not to do is as valuable as learning what to do and it really takes a long career in a particular niche to be able to consolidate all of those learnings into something special.” 


“That is where we find ourselves now, which is amazing.” 


But it doesn’t end there. Looking to give back to the community that he has helped nurture, Mr Wall is the inspiration behind a relatively new annual event called the Early Learning Symposium. 


Presented by the Australian Childcare Collective, the Early Learning Symposium is billed as “a learning experience for childcare leaders to broaden and deepen a range of skills including leadership, communication, problem solving and more all against the backdrop of the early learning sector.”


The 2024 event will be held on May 27 at the Shangri-La The Marina in Cairns, and is sure to be a huge success and another win for John Wall and his team. 


To learn more about how John Wall can help you realise your childcare ambitions click here and to learn about the upcoming event click here

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