Changing faces: Bubba Bears

Posted at 11:15am Tuesday 06 Aug, 2019 | By Mackenzie Dyer Author

The new owner of Bubba Bears in Stanmore Bay, Leonie Linklater, has 16 years experience in early childhood education and a passion for encouraging creative play.

While many things are remaining the same at the childcare centre, including their “awesome” staff, Leonie says she has implemented a new focus on loose parts play.

Loose parts play encourages children to interact with day-to-day objects, rather than toys made for specific functions.

“Studies say it is more beneficial for children to have toys that don't give them instant gratification,” Leonie says.

“This encourages them to be imaginative with how they use something, which has been linked to improving their long term social skills.

“I've had some fun in op shops finding things for them to play with. Even if I don't know what they are, the children always find a creative way to use them.”

Leonie moved from West Auckland with her two younger children to be closer to her eldest daughter, Holly Skiffington, who had her first child, Octaviya, last December.

“We really like being on the Coast because it's a more relaxed pace than West Auckland,” Leonie says.
Holly, who is a qualified early childhood teacher, has joined Bubba Bears part-time. 

Prior to childcare, Leonie had a variety of different careers including owning a motel in Hamilton and helping set up SkyCity's first ever payroll system.

“I thought about trying something different again after our move, but I always kept going back to childcare.

“It is rewarding for me to watch the children develop and to help families.”

Her journey in childcare began first as a mum, and then as the owner of childcare centres in Lynnmall and Henderson.

She sold Lollipops Henderson in 2012 and Curious Kids Lynmall this year. 

Bubba Bears is licensed for 37 children.

“Our aim is to work with families to provide excellent care and education for their children in a homely environment, and a small centre is the ideal environment for this.”


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