In 1984, a proposal for a pilot child care program on the then Darling Downs Institute of Advance Education was undertaken. The proposal suggested that a program be conducted in the Child Studies centre for 2 mornings per week. This program was extended to 2 full days, being flexible in nature but with a carefully designed curriculum, taking into account the philosophies of child development. This program was to have a strong educational content whilst also giving major attention to the emotional and physical needs of the children. Another feature of this pilot program was the assistance given by pre-school specialization teachers; serving the 2 fold purpose of providing a good adult-child ratio as well as giving the students the invaluable opportunity to work with young children in the area of day care.

The program commenced in February 1985 enrolling children between the ages of  2½ and 5 years of age with a limit of 12 children at any one time, with preference given to children of USQ’s students with no fees being charged.

It wasn’t long before it became obvious that there was in fact a need for day-care facilities as there were numerous enquiries regarding full days as well as ‘hourly‘ attendances and positive feedback about the program was received to further reinforce the facility. By the end of the first year, the program was clearly established and continued at its location for a further 2 years.

Federal Government funding of $350 000 was obtained to construct a building for a child care centre in the vicinity. Once Council approval was obtained, negotiations for the lease of the present site were conducted. The lease was to be between the Institute and the Minister for Family Services, Youth and ethnic Affairs. The DDIAE agreed to be the sponsoring body of the centre, funded by the Department of Communities

The centre opened at its present location in Baker Street on 22nd February 1988 with a management committee being appointed, with Yvonne Winer being the first President on the committee and Lyn Bower appointed as first Director. An additional 8 staff were appointed. Opening hours were 7.12am – 5.30pm with 3 rooms operating, catering for babies, toddlers and a kindy group.

Extensions to the initial building have occurred since its inception, including an additional play room, enclosed verandah and a dining room. The centre also received a name change from being Darling Heights Child Care Centre to Mirambeena Children’s Centre, meaning ‘Welcome’.

There have been many changes in the early childhood industry, proving quite a challenge for ‘not for profit’ centres such as ours. Judicious spending, creative fundraising, application for various governmental grants has seen Mirambeena survive what many other centres were unable to. The hard work by the longest serving Director, Ruth Arnold, ensured Mirambeena became a leader in its field. Ruth’s initiative to affiliate the centre with C&K has also raised the profile of our centre with early childhood qualified teachers employed as from 2002.

During its 26 years of operation the centre has only seen 4 Directors employed, indicative of their passion and loyalty to this wonderful environment. The highly qualified and devoted staff have been a hallmark of the employees here, being strong advocates for quality early education. Many children have enjoyed the caring environment on offer at Mirambeena, some later returning as parents to start the close association yet again. Mirambeena embraces the family atmosphere and close ties with our local community.

Mirambeena remains a community based centre, where decisions affecting the here and now as well as its future are embraced through the valuable input from the management committee. The passion and dedication shown by our experienced staff supports the environment ‘where children come first’.