Hafiza and Amir Pirani have recently opened their first early childhood education centre. Following her passionate belief in the wonders of the early years, Hafiza, a teacher with over 10 years of experience in Early Childhood Education, and her husband Amir - a Sales Manager for an international firm - decided to take the leap of faith and create a centre where strong values and cultural diversity would be an asset, and where children’s capabilities would increase while they are having fun. These ideals came a step closer to reality for them with the establishment of Aspirations Early Learning Centre - a centre licensed for 60 children, located in Papatoetoe, Auckland.
Even though Hafiza had a reasonable amount of experience in the industry, she faced many challenges along the way. Setting up a centre can be a complex process, and many things were new to her. Construction, regulations and compliance were all a learning curve. As the project started to take shape, they learnt about building consent, playground design, centre layout and choice of furniture and materials. Marketing know-how was another challenge to her, including identifying their target audience, finances and budgeting. All along though the Piranis were always sure of one thing - they wanted a centre that looked different, not just the standard neighbourhood childcare. Their vision was to have a centre that is inviting and inspires learning and exploration in children.
Having worked in the early childhood education sector, Hafiza knew about Play’n’Learn. However, about two years ago, while in the planning phase of opening up their centre, she met David and Darren at the ECE Expo. The Piranis had a number of meetings with Darren where they discussed what they wanted their centre to look like - and they liked the solutions that he suggested. Weighing up their different options, they decided to work with Play’n’Learn because of the personal approach and consistency of the service. They were especially impressed by the way Darren took the time to understand exactly what they needed. Play’n’Learn, Hafiza says, was able to work according to their needs and timelines.
While Hafiza believes that children explore and learn while playing, she also likes to add some structure to teaching. With this in mind, she chose a mix of Montessori and other resources. She doesn’t adhere to a specific learning philosophy but likes the concept of wood and natural materials. “We tried, as much as we could, to go for more natural resources than plastic ones in our centre”, she explains. Darren suggested that they chose natural, customised furniture rather than kitset products - resulting in a delightful, fresh contrast between wood and bright primary colours throughout the centre.
Hafiza and Amir are pleased that their centre is equipped with all the necessary resources and furniture to pass the Ministry of Education’s requirements. Darren’s knowledge and experience helped them save much time and money. Furthermore, they say, it was a one stop shop - they found all the equipment they wanted, avoiding the time-consuming task of shopping around and following up on deliveries. Says Hafiza: “The team at Play’n’Learn outdid themselves and went the extra mile. Now we have a centre looking better than we ever dreamed of.”
Being asked if she would recommend Play’n’Learn to other centres, Hafiza tells us that she has already done so, and that she would most certainly work with them again. She praises their customer service for being great - from the time of her initial enquiry until after centre setup. She liked how they work around the customer’s needs, and how they are always positive, even if that means coming back 3 or 4 times to do a particular job. Play’n’Learn, Hafiza says, is sure to do what is necessary to make a customer is satisfied.