Birdwood residents are hoping that kindy might finally be available in the town in 2016. Open Arms Community Child Care Centre have applied to become a Universal Access Preschool within their long day care setting. If successful, this means families will be able to access a ìkindyî program within the child care centre in Birdwood.
The centre has applied for this program in response to the large number of families who have expressed disappointment that while Birdwood has a primary school and high school located in the town, families have to travel to access a kindy program.
Open Arms at Birdwood hopes to run both half day and full day sessions, providing an alternative for those children who may not be initially ready for the full day sessions that many of the other local kindergartens provide.
Universal access to early childhood education ensures that a quality, early childhood education programme is available for all children in the year before full-time schooling (often referred to as preschool or kindergarten). The programme is to be delivered by a degree qualified early childhood teacher for 600 hours a year.
Research shows that participating in a quality early childhood education programme can significantly increase positive educational and life outcomes for children, especially those from more disadvantaged backgrounds.
The universal access initiative aims to improve participation in quality early childhood education for all Australian children.
While attendance is not compulsory, early childhood education programmes are delivered in a range of settings including child care, stand-alone preschools and school-based preschools, in order to meet the needs of working families, regardless of their location.
An initial information session was held on Thursday June 25th with great interest from local families. Another session will be held on Tuesday 4th August, 7-8pm at the centre, for families who were unable to attend the original session. If you would like to know more, please contact Open Arms on 8568 5011 and ask to speak to Tamara, or email the centre at info@ openarms.net.au.
Alternatively, contact Tamara at the centre if you are unable to attend, but wish to receive more information or register your expressions of interest for enrolments in 2016 and beyond.
Families are encouraged to go to www.surveymonkey.com/s/KINDY_OAC to complete a survey to give their feedback regarding the types of sessions and programs they would like to see available. Stay tuned for updates!
Pictured above: Director and Early Childhood Teacher Tamara Zilm celebrating the 4th birthday of Mitchell, now making him eligible for Universal Access kindy in 2016.