Growing our preschool service

Hume City Council will significantly increase its investment in Council-owned preschools to provide higher quality early education to an increasing number of local children.

Council has today unveiled a new model for the delivery of preschool, to commence in 2016.

Hume Chief Executive Domenic Isola said the changes would benefit families and better prepare children for school.

“We want to do everything we can to give children the best possible start to their education. This reform will provide our preschool centres with more educators and additional places for families,” Mr Isola said.

“In 2016, Council will offer one preschool educator for every 11 children, and that’s a big change we’re making to cater for legislative changes, which previously required one educator for every 15 children.

“This means our three and four year old children will have more face-to-face time with educators, with groups of more than 22 children to be supported by three educators.

“And of these three educators, at least one will hold a degree qualification, and at least one will possess a Diploma of Children’s Services. We will support these improvements with greater investment, and spend an additional $392,000 in 2016 to positively transform Council’s preschool service.

“Hume will soon advertise for more preschool educators who have the passion and drive to positively influence the lives of our youngest residents.”

Council has opened five new preschool rooms in the past two years, and plans to establish new preschool centres at Lockerbie, Craigieburn West and Merrifield in the future.

Mr Isola said today’s announcement would help Council to better cater for Hume’s rising population.

“We anticipate that Council will need to offer an additional 679 preschool places by 2019, because many new families are moving into our community,” he said.

As part of the reform, Council has carefully analysed the current and future demands of its preschools across Hume, and the ability of centres to cater for particular group sizes.

In order to enhance the standard of preschool services in areas where our youngest families live, Council has found it necessary to discontinue the following preschools at the end of 2015:

• Bellbrae Preschool in Meadow Heights;
• Farmridge Preschool in Gladstone Park;
• Hilton Street Preschool in Craigieburn; and
• Westmere Preschool in Coolaroo.

Mr Isola said Council would support all families in these areas so that they have access to other nearby preschool centres.

“Each of the four preschools is within a 1.5km walking distance of another preschool,” he said.

Staff members at the four facilities will be offered roles at alternative Council-owned preschool centres in 2016.

For further information, call Hume City Council on 9205 2200.

Updated : 9:25 AM, 4 June 2015

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