Kinder’ eyes the future

 

12 Feb 2018 • Wangaratta Chronicle, Wangaratta VIC (General News)
by Simone Kerwin

Coronation receives $330,000 for upgrade A $330,000 funding injection from the State Government will provide a much-needed upgrade for Wangaratta’s Coronation Kindergarten this year. The building on the corner of Swan and Roy Streets has operated as a kinder since 1952, with little development. But after securing a $334,500 grant through the State Government’s 2017-’18 Early Learning Facility Upgrade program, to complement funds from the kinder’s committee of management and the Rural City of Wangaratta, redevelopment works at Coronation are set to kick off in the second half of the year. The project includes expansion of the playroom, new toilets, a new entry area, office space, and a new kitchen for the kinder, which caters for up to 44 students in two groups. Coronation Kindergarten director Annette McKenzie said the pre-school had been pursuing the funding since 2015, with the help of council, which owns the building (the centre is managed and operated under license by the North East Regional Pre School Association). As the building’s owner, council applied for the State Government grant, which will cover the bulk of the $455,032 redevelopment project. Council will contribute $110,532, and the kinder’s committee of management will provide $10,000 towards the project. “We are very excited it’s happening, as we have applied over a couple of years for this grant,” Mrs McKenzie said. Rural city mayor Ken Clarke said the upgrade would “offer children welcoming and accessible facilities with modern, bright and practical areas for learning and play”. Mrs McKenzie said the works would revitalise the 65 year old building and create a more efficient layout in line with modern teaching. “The funding has been very desperately needed to bring us up to current best practice, as the nature of kindergarten and early childhood teaching has changed,” she said. “In the 1960s and prior to that, when a lot of kinders were built, it was okay to have bags in the bathroom, but children didn’t bring in food in those days. “Now that they come to kinder for longer hours, it is not best practice for the entry to be the bathroom, or for bags to be stored there. “The upgrade will also provide an adequate office and storage space; staff contact hours are now longer, and they have allocated breaks, so we need a separate space for them away from the children’s area. “We will have an expanded playroom, new entrance, and a new kitchen, as well as removal of existing asbestos.” Jaclyn Symes (MLC, Northern Victoria) said it was fantastic that Coronation Kindergarten would benefit from the State Government funding. “We know that high quality early years education and care are vital to giving our children the best start in life, which is why Labor is investing in first rate early learning facilities,” she said. The upgrade is expected to commence in August, and should be completed in December. Council is working with NERPSA and Coronation Kindergarten to seek temporary space for classes off-site while works are under way later in the year.
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