Nothing could prepare Bundaberg for the drenching rain brought on by ex tropical cyclone Oswald in January 2013. The river peaked higher than ever before and roads across the region closed due to heavy flooding. While the rain eased, water gathered in the catchment area, rushed downstream and headed for the city on its way to the ocean. Thousands of people were evacuated as the city was inundated with floodwaters.


C&K Bundaberg South Community Kindergarten was completely submerged. The indoor and outdoor resources were destroyed and the grounds were covered in mountains of rubbish. It was devastating for the 12-month-old kindergarten. But there was no time for mourning.


After organising appropriate amendments to their centre licence, the childcare centre was able to offer a temporary home for the children from C&K Bundaberg South, while efforts to restore the flooded kindergarten were underway. Ensuring the Bundaberg South children were able to continue attending a care and education facility was essential in supporting families to get back on their feet. While their children were being cared for by an organisation they knew and trusted, parents could focus on other rebuilding efforts.


For the children, the kindergarten provided a place of sanctuary and calm after such a traumatic experience. The educators working at the kindergarten and childcare centre were equipped with tools and resources that enabled them to engage in appropriate conversations with the children. These conversations helped the children understand what had happened and how it took time and patience to fix all the damage that had occurred. Much further south, a C&K kindergarten in Brisbane’s Arana Hills heard about how the Bundaberg South kindergarten had lost all their resources. The teachers at Arana Hills held many conversations with the children about what was going on. These conversations helped the children connect with what they were seeing on the news. The children imagined what it might be like to be in their situation and what they could do to help.



Lead by a keen parent, the kindergarten began collecting donations of toys and handmade gift bags for the Bundaberg children. The kindergarten celebrated each donation as it arrived and the pile of donated goods grew.


The gift bags were adorned with personal messages and drawings by the children from Arana Hills. Over 50 bags of donations were collected and sent in trucks to Bundaberg.


The gift bags were distributed to the kindergarten and the wider Bundaberg community to children who were evacuated and had lost all possessions. As the children were presented with the gift bags, their faces lit up with joy. The personal messages printed on the bags raised the spirits of the Bundaberg children.


The Bundaberg educators discussed why people do this, why there is a generosity of spirit and how important it is to belong to a community who cares for each other. They also explained the joy of giving as well as receiving, and the children asked how they could say thank you to the children and families who thought of them in their time of need. In response, the Bundaberg children created and decorated a mobile to send to Arana Hills. The news of the kindergartens helping one another was shared throughout C&K. Other C&K kindergartens in Brisbane and around Bundaberg also began fundraising to help the Bundaberg children. The spirit of helping those in need spread throughout the organisation. C&K educators assisted Bundaberg to clean up and rebuild. Around the same time of the flood, another natural disaster occurred. An area close to Bundaberg, known as Coral Coast, was struck by a tornado. Many families lost possessions and experienced fear and trauma.


The C&K educators recognised an opportunity to give the children a unique and beneficial experience and arranged for the children at Bundaberg to visit the Coral Coast kindergarten over two days. This proved to be a very healing event. Children were able to talk about their experiences together, share stories and grieve and recover together. Conversations, facilitated by educators, helped the children express themselves in a safe and suitable way.


Appropriate natural disaster resources for the children and families were also available on the visit. In a time of disaster, C&K was able to use its resources to create relationships and links throughout the community. Important messages were portrayed to vulnerable children to help them cope.




The Creche and Kindergarten Association (C&K) is a not for profit community based early childhood provider with almost 400 early childhood education and care services including kindergarten, childcare, family day care, limited hours care and a network of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander programs across Queensland, from metropolitan to regional and remote towns. The C&K Building waterfalls teaching and learning guideline for kindergarten is the only independently approved early childhood curriculum in Australia and offers a natural learning through play concept. All profits are reinvested to ensure the best outcome is achieved to benefit children and educators at its services.


Organisation Details
14 Edmondstone St Newmarket QLD 4051
Contact details: 

+61 7 3513 2559