Sandra Hallo believes she has now fulfilled her personal mission to open an early learning centre with a home-like environment, one that parents would feel immediately comfortable to leave “their precious babies’’.

A working mother with four children, Sandra says she found trying to juggle both wasn’t always easy, and felt she had no choice but to use long daycare.

“After seeing what was available and the lack of a ‘beautiful service’, I was determined to open my own centre that not only felt homey but also had clean, modern amenities and an engaging outdoor landscape,” she says.

“My vision was to provide a place for children to use natural resources and materials where possible, and engage in messy mud play and art and crafts – in other words, do all the things that we don’t get to do with them at home.”

Six months ago, Sandra opened family-operated Gumboots Early Learning Centre, with places for 100 children, aged three months to school age, as well as a kinder program for four year olds.

She says the centre offers an enriched learning program and employs only passionate and dedicated team members.

“Our curriculum is based on ‘learning through play’, taking inspiration from the Reggio Emilia approach. This centres on giving our children opportunities for self-directed, experiential learning.

“The learning program includes extra activities, such as music and movement, Italian language, and art classes and yoga.

“Sustainable practices are also a big part of our philosophy. We teach children about the fundamentals of caring for our environment and reducing waste. We have vegie gardens, chooks and worm farms, with the children involved in daily composting.”

Gumboots’ four year old kinder program is led by qualified teachers who have a passion for what they do. Sandra says they go out of their way to make children feel welcome and special, as well as keeping safety a top priority.

Recently, the go-ahead centre launched a Bush Kinder program. Centre manager Beck, who is described as “warm and caring” and has 18 years experience in early childhood education, explains the program.

“We take the children out of the classroom for nature walks to further learn and explore – using no toys, just natural resources found in our environment. And we continue to look at new ways to offer extra benefits from varying incursions and excursions.”

Gumboots is now taking enrolments for the 2020 four year old kinder program.



Gumboots Early Learning Centre, 730 Elizabeth Drive, Sunbury. Opens 6.30am-6.30pm Monday-Friday. Inquiries: 8866 5568, email or visit


Educator Darcy. (Photo Joe Mastroianni)

The outdoor play space. (Photo Joe Mastroianni)