MORE than 20 years of providing childcare services for the Aboriginal community and vulnerable families in Murray Bridge is being celebrated by country agency ac.care.

The organisation is celebrating 21 years of Minya Porlar Creche after a 20th anniversary community party could not be held last year due to COVID-19 regulations.

“We are celebrating 21 years of delivering early childhood education and care to the Aboriginal community and vulnerable families of the Murraylands,” ac.care children’s services director Meri Daniel said.

Ms Daniel has worked for the organisation for 20 years, soon after its commitment to providing childcare in Murray Bridge began when ac.care was asked by the community to be the auspicing body for the service 21 years ago.

Over that time, she has seen the importance of offering tailored and culturally-appropriate care to vulnerable children and supporting parents to work, secure employment, study or benefit from respite from their caring roles.

DEDICATED: ac.care children’s services director Meri Daniel has contributed two decades to leading delivery of high quality early childhood care, along with associated career opportunities for community members, at Minya Porlar Creche in Murray Bridge.
DEDICATED: ac.care children’s services director Meri Daniel has contributed two decades to leading delivery of high quality early childhood care, along with associated career opportunities for community members, at Minya Porlar Creche in Murray Bridge.

“I’ve seen families come back around with the next generation over that time and also many staff complete training and continue to work at the creche or contribute to the broader community in health or education thanks to the training provided as part of their employment,” Ms Daniel said.

“We made a commitment from the start to not only provide high quality early childhood care and education to the community to prepare children for school, but also deliver career opportunities for community members.”

Early childhood educator Alma Wilson is among the Aboriginal staff to gain an industry qualification while working at the creche and continue to contribute as part of the care team.

“I just love coming in, interacting with the children, when they give me cuddles and their beautiful smiles,” Alma said.

The centre models best practice in Aboriginal-specific child care and provides opportunities for children to experience local language, a nutrition program, natural play environments, links with other community based programs and cultural experiences focused on the Ngarrindjeri nation on which the creche operates.

“We connect with the community and celebrate culture every day,” Ms Daniel said.
This focus on culture is treasured by ac.care’s senior Aboriginal advisor Kathy Rigney.
CARE AND SUPPORT: Children are supported to play, learn and grow at the Minya Porlar Creche in Murray Bridge, which has been operated by ac.care for 21 years.
CARE AND SUPPORT: Children are supported to play, learn and grow at the Minya Porlar Creche in Murray Bridge, which has been operated by ac.care for 21 years.

“Sharing language, knowledge, stories and history with our children is important,” Ms Rigney said.

“It is great to see the kids speaking some of the language and singing in Ngarrindjeri.”

Ms Rigney’s own son was cared for at the creche almost 20 years ago when she needed a suitable childcare place for her child while she pursued employment opportunities.

“I love working and family were too far away to babysit for me, so it was great to have the creche available,” she said.

“I have so much respect for the service as an Aboriginal creche and the staff that work there.”
Ms Daniel explained the centre went beyond childcare to providing broad support for vulnerable families, including connection to other services.

“We not only ensure the community has the education opportunities children deserve and need, but also assist families who may be struggling with everyday life challenges,” she said.

“We work closely with a lot of service providers here in Murray Bridge, making sure the families have access to all the supports they need to improve their life and experiences at home with their families, especially with increased challenges families have been facing in recent years.”

MEANINGFUL WORK: Early childhood educator Amy enjoys guiding children through learning activities at ac.care’s Minya Porlar Creche.
MEANINGFUL WORK: Early childhood educator Amy enjoys guiding children through learning activities at ac.care’s Minya Porlar Creche.

This includes the creche providing a bus service to help families with limited transport access the centre, as well as take children on excursions into the community.

ac.care chief executive officer Shane Maddocks said he loved visiting the creche to see children happily playing and learning among each other and with the adults committed to caring for them in a loving environment.

“Minya Porlar Creche is the type of place you send your kids for terrific care in a culturally supportive environment,” he said.

“Being a small centre, families are assured their children receive quality care meeting the specific needs of their children.”

The creche is operated by ac.care with funding from the Department of Employment, Skills and
Education and operates Monday to Friday from 8.15am to 5.15pm, caring for up to 18 children each day, with childcare subsidies available to offset out of pocket fees to parents.

Call (08) 8531 4400 for enrolments and more information.

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ac.care Locations

ac.care is a dynamic organisation servicing the South Australian communities the Limestone Coast, Murraylands, Riverland, Adelaide Hills and Fleurieu Peninsula.

Our mission is for all country people to have a safe home, enough money to live on and strong, positive relationships.

Please find our service locations here or use our contact form to request a service.

Mount Gambier
Head office and Foster Care

70-72 White Avenue Mount Gambier, SA 5290
PO Box 1842 Mount Gambier SA 5290
Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm

Mount Gambier
Community Centre

22-24 Ferrers Street Mount Gambier, SA 5290
Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm

Mount Gambier
Family Relationship Centre

1 Helen Street (cnr Bay Road) Mount Gambier, SA 5290
Monday
9am to 5pm
Tuesday
10:30am to 5pm
Wednesday
9am to 5pm
Thursday
9am to 5pm
Later by appt
Friday
9am to 5pm

Berri Community Centre
Servicing the Riverland

5 Kealley Street Street Berri, SA 5343
PO Box 1345 Berri, SA 5343
Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm

Murraylands Centre
Servicing the Murraylands, Adelaide Hills and Fleurieu Peninsula

29 Bridge Street Murray Bridge, SA 5253
PO Box 2090 Murray Bridge, SA 5253
Monday to Friday 9am to 4pm

Millicent
Community Centre

57-59 George Street Millicent, SA 5280
PO Box 378 Millicent, SA 5280
Monday to Friday 9am to 4pm
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