✦ Meg Barnden-Hyde knew from a very early age what she wanted to do career wise when she grew up.
She would work with children, helping them develop, nurturing their natural skills and abilities to become the very best versions of themselves. She always knew it was what she was good at and what she therefore wanted and needed to do, never once wavering from her decision.
It therefore comes as no great surprise to learn that over the past 13 years the much loved and respected centre manager at TG’s Child Care in Armidale has become known as ‘Mother Hen’. She has an innate ability to bring the best out in others, to help, support and develop, something all those under her watch over the years will gladly bear testimony to.
Meg first joined the TG’s family back in 2009 and, with founder Gayle Kee and her husband Trevor, has been helping grow the business into a trusted and successful pillar of the community across the current six centres in NSW and Queensland ever since.
Not many people have such a clear focus and conviction of what they want to do with their lives at an early age but for Meg it was never in question. “I love to interact with young children, always have done,” she replies without hesitation when asked why she decided to pursue her particular career path.
“From a very early age I always knew I wanted to be a pre-school teacher,” she adds. “Children are just incredible and have so much to offer. I am forever learning from them so working with them is a dream come true and certainly no one day is the same! Being a part of the process in nurturing and supporting young children to develop and reach their full potential is an amazing gift,” she says with glowing pride.
Open Your Frame
Proudly Uralla born and bred, Meg took on a variety of jobs in order to fund her studies at the University of New England in Armidale. “I cleaned the local Golf club worked at the local pub, pumped petrol at the local gas station and worked a number of retail jobs,” she recalls.
The nature of her work at this time wasn’t largely relevant as it was merely done to accrue the funds to ensure she could attain her educational qualifications, something she never waivered from. However, interestingly, it also provides an insight into the kind of person Meg is and why her style has proven so successful over the years.
“Open Your Frame” is a term you’re likely to hear amongst the staff at TG’s. Essentially it means be open to new things, try new approaches and absorb different and new ways of thinking – be a sponge, if you like! Despite being steadfast on her career choice, Meg taking on such a wide array of jobs at an early age is an example of this - of being willing to challenge oneself and not being afraid to try something different. Variety is the spice of life after all, so the saying goes!
Upon graduating Meg moved away from Uralla for a while. Upon returning to her hometown, she realised it was blatantly obvious that a top quality pre-school centre service was needed within the community. Coincidence or otherwise, it wasn’t long before she learned that Gayle and Trevor were planning on setting up a TG’s centre.
Like a woman on a mission, Meg immediately knocked on Gayle’s door, handed over her CV and said “I want to work for you!” The bold approach worked and 13 years later Meg has been an integral cog in the business flourishing to its current status.
The Secret of Success
Meg now oversees 5 centres across NSW including Armidale, Uralla, Wauchope (Hastings St., High St. and Riverbreeze) and supports the QLD centre in Urangan and with a staff of 160 educators across all six centres, only three of whom are male. When I ask what the secret is behind the success of TG’s, Meg is quick to point to the unique culture that has been created and fostered over the years.
“We place huge importance on building relationships, both internally with our staff and externally with the families and their children,” she explains.
“We interact fully with the community which is really important,” she adds. “We welcome families into the centre but also reach out to the community to maximise inclusivity. This has helped create a robust level of trust and respect, which is paramount in any business but especially important in early childhood education.
We regard TG’s Educators, the children we teach and their families as one big happy family and as a cornerstone of the community, something that we believe has contributed whole-heartedly to our excellent reputation.
“We also fully respect and trust our educators, which is so important,” Meg explains. “We encourage everyone to show initiative, be open, ask questions, to give and absorb feedback. It creates a process whereby we are all constantly learning, from new approaches and from each other.”