Nature kindergarten close to opening after lightning strike
PURCHASING a property in Wanora five years ago was the first step of a dream move for Sharon Kneen and her late husband Scott.
"He had a dream that he wanted to have a little farm and I had a dream I wanted to have a little nature kindergarten," Mrs Kneen said.
"I said 'OK if you get your farm, I get my kindy.'"
While in the process of converting a 110-year-old cottage into a childcare centre, it was struck by lightning and burnt to the ground in 2018.
They had to go back to square one.
In another blow, Mr Kneen sadly passed away 12 months ago.
The rebuild is in its final stages and it is expected to be finished by the end of the month.
Mrs Kneen owns and operates three other centres in Karana Downs, Springfield and Capalaba under the Eskay Kids banner.
She is excited for the Mayfield Nature Kindergarten to open its doors on the 62ha working farm on the Brisbane River.
"It is a fully working farm so we have cattle and horses and chooks," she said.
"The vision of the nature kindergarten is that the children will have access to the inside, the outside and the beyond.
"There's a lot of kindy programs which do trips into nature once a week or once a fortnight. Two of our other services come out here each week. The children here, they can have that all day every day, that real immersion in nature."
The kindy's capacity will be 27 kids and four staff members will be employed.
"We're wanting to keep it very small and intimate and family-like," Mrs Kneen said.
"It's not a traditional kindy style look. It's very warm, homely sort of feel."
Mrs Kneen worked in childcare before switching to teaching.
She stopped working to look after her children but bought the centre in Karana Downs in 2010 when her kids started school.
She took on the other centres in Springfield and Capalaba in 2012.
"I've been waiting for the nature kindy to happen since then," she said.