By Jessica Anstice
Families throughout Cardinia will soon benefit from a kindergarten funding boost from the State Government.
Bridgewood Integrated Children’s Centre in Officer, along with a number of nearby early education centres, received exciting news from Premier Daniel Andrews at the end of last year.
The new integrated children’s centre received funding to provide at least 66 kindergarten places, integrated into long day care, maternal child health services, allied health services for early years, family services, and a range of other community centre offerings.
The funding will come out of the State Government’s Children’s Facilities Capital Program which comprises of $21.1 million in capital grant funding.
“Kinder is so important for a child’s education and their opportunities in life – but to get the most of it, they need good facilities,” Mr Andrews said.
It was also a lucky time for Minaret Early Learning Centre in Officer, which received a whopping $500,000 to upgrade its facilities.
The project includes the refurbishment of the existing junior primary classroom to create an early learning centre for three and four-year-old’s, providing additional kindergarten places for local families.
A further 400 kindergarten services throughout the state will benefit from information technology grants of up to $1500 to buy items such as desktops, laptops and tablets, including Bayles Kindergarten, Emerald Preschool, St Clare’s Early Learning Centre in officer and Heritage College Early Learning Officer.
Bayles and St Clare’s received the most amount of funding, being $1500, to be put towards additional IT resources, while Heritage was given the same amount to purchase new IT equipment. Emerald Preschool also received $1419 for additional IT resources.
The Minaret Early Learning Centre and technology funding is part of the State Government’s $33.6 million investment in the 2019/20 Budget for the Children’s Facilities Capital Program and Inclusive Kindergarten Facilities Program.
On top of the distributed funding, Pakenham Heights and Beaconsfield kindergartens will soon feature more inclusive playgrounds.
Pakenham Heights Kindergarten received $94,000 to upgrade to accessible car park spaces so participants are as close as possible to the accessible public entrance which will feature widened internal and external doors.
There will also be an access ramp leading to the outdoor environment, an accessible path to the sandpit, and a sensory garden/seating area.
With an $18,354 grant, acoustic wall panels will be installed in the two rooms at Beaconsfield Kindergarten on O’Neil Road, making the rooms quieter – providing a better learning space for all children.
The Victorian Budget 2019/20 included $6 million for the Inclusive Kindergartens Facilities Program.
“These upgrades will make a big difference in ensuring children of all abilities attending kindergarten in these locations get the support they need to thrive,” Education Minister James Merlino said.
“Making Victoria the Education State starts with early learning years, which is why we are making unprecedented investments in early childhood education.”