Our story

Mel & Mike Comerford – Owners

As the proud new owners of Arden Early Learning and teachers themselves Mel and Mike are highly passionate about early childhood and ensuring each child has a bright and nurtured early childhood experience. 

Mel is the Director and Founder of Astute Early Years Specialists, a boutique early childhood management consultancy in Brisbane. Mel is also an experienced early childhood professional with more than 25 years working in the early years sector and is passionate about and dedicated to the quality of education & care for all children.

Mel has spent 10 years in senior executive roles with Goodstart Early Learning and C&K Association Limited, both large not-for-profit early childhood organisations that together deliver exceptional early childhood education and care to more than 100,000 children nationally.

Mike has been a high school teacher for over 30 years.  He has worked in various schools throughout Brisbane and most recently teaches manual arts at Forest State High. When Mike is not teaching, he is a dedicated cyclist and very talented handyman. Mike has spent many years in early childhood centres helping with odd-jobs and handyman tasks. 

Mel & Mike are parents to four beautiful children and together and are both very excited to be the new owners of Arden Early Learning.

Pauline Bailey – Centre Manager

I have been  in  the  Child Care Industry since I was 17 years old and it is an industry that I still hold so much passion and advocacy for. I hold an Advanced Diploma in Children’s Services and a Certificate IV in Training and Assessment. Back in 1997 I commenced employment at Saint Stephen’s College Child Care Centre as a centre lunch relief group leader and it wasn’t long before I was promoted to Assistant Director. From 2003  to  2013 I proudly managed  and  operated  Saint  Stephen’s  College  Child  Care  Centre.  During my 16+ years employment at the centre I became a respected professional within the College and the wider community. I lead my team through the National Quality Standard changes and enhanced the centre’s  environments,  both  indoors  and  outdoors.

During my time as Centre Director, I employed many ‘fresh’ child care workers and I mentored them to become amazing, professional educators. It was during this time that I discovered my love and commitment to  workplace training.   From 2013 to 2019, I trained and assessed students/educators  who  worked  in  various  child  care  centres  and  in  various  roles,  to  complete  their studies. It was so rewarding to share my knowledge and experience with my students and see them blossom and grow as Educators. It takes a ‘special’ someone to be in child care and I am honoured to have met and mentored some pretty ‘special’ Educators.

The  most  important  message  that  I  give  to  my  Educators/Students,  is  that  we  have  the  most powerful and important job of caring and educating for children in their first five years! We need  to  get  it  right! We  need  to  show,  (not  teach)  children  how  to  be  empathetic,  caring  and confident individuals. We need to provide opportunities and encourage children to take risks and persist with challenges. We need to understand that not all children are the same – give them opportunities  to  excel,  even  if  it’s  not  ‘normal’  age  appropriate  development. Allow  children  to perfect a  skill and support their achievements.

Let children know that it’s ok to feel every emotion,  because  as  adults,  we  definitely  do!  Give  children  the  ability  and  voice  to  have  their  own opinions and ideas. Allow children to accept and embrace other cultures and respect, support peers who may have an additional need.

Early Childhood is the time where Educators impact a little person’s life more than we sometimes realise. My Kindergarten Teacher inspired me all those years ago and all I wanted to be was just like her. She was pretty amazing and I hope that in my 26+ years in the industry that I have inspired some little person.

What do I love about Arden Early Learning?

  • My first impression of Arden Early Learning was the instant homely feel and the calmness as you step foot through the front door.  Laughter, music,  singing  and  giggles  were  the  sounds  that  filled  my  ears  and  I  instantly  knew  that  Arden  is where I needed to be.
  • The  team  have  compassion,  drive  and  pedagogical  knowledge  that  they  thrive  to  share.  We  want  to connect with families and the community, to ensure that the children are being raised with an abundance of knowledge and skills.
  • The children bounce through the door, eager to start their day and discover what is happening at kindy  for  the  day.    Friendships  and  bonds  are  formed  and  children  feel  safe  and  content  and  know that they are supported to make choices or try a challenge.

Come and say hi – meet the team and allow us the honour of joining your child’s early learning journey!

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