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City of Ballarat Community Magazine April 2011
places for 2011
Thanks to the combined efforts of Council and a number of kindergartens and
community groups an extra 85 Ballarat children are experiencing the joys of
attending kindergarten this year.
In November last year it was identified that the Ballarat area could potentially
be unable to offer enough kindergarten places in 2011. This is a reflection of
Ballarat's above-state-average population growth and the regions attractiveness
to young families.
A partnership was quickly formed between Council, the Department of Education
and Early Childhood Development (DEECD), kindergarten cluster managers and
stand-alone committees of management to determine both short and long term
solutions to the problem.
Council identified a number of potential buildings that could be renovated to
free up space at some of the kindergartens and together with the DEECD's
'Optimising Kindergarten Places 2011' project made available urgent funds
to complete the works to the required standards. DEECD contributed $9,000
and Council $13,000.
These works allowed Midlands Kindergarten to increase capacity by offering
an additional 25 places.
The Alfredton Kindergarten was also identified as having the potential to cater
for more children, but in order to do so the Ballarat Toy Library would need to
be relocated. After much searching, it was determined that the best option
would be to move the Enhanced Home Visiting Nurses Unit from the Eureka
Resource Centre to Council's Barkly Street premises, freeing up the Resource
Centre to be the new home of the Toy Library. The new location for the Toy
Library brings it together with local community groups and playgroups that
also utilise the building.
Consequently Alfredton Kindergarten now has the capacity to offer additional
places, which it will do next term.
The difficulties in offering enough places to meet demand highlighted that the
Ballarat region does not have a centralised registration system or process in
place that can accurately identify the number of children registered for enrolment
in kindergartens now and in the future.
To overcome this problem in the long-term, Council has been able to secure
a DEECD grant of $6,000 to engage someone to work one day a week on
determining if and how a centralised registration for kindergarten enrolment
may assist in meeting future needs.
The centralised registration feasibility project will be complete at the end of April,
following which a recommendation will be made to Council, the kindergarten
sector and DEECD.
This collaborative approach has gained an additional 85 kindergarten places
for the 2011 school year. This has been achieved thanks to the availability of
funds and grants at short notice from Council and the State Government, as
well as the capacity of agencies, teachers and committees of management to
work closely and quickly towards a common goal.
Council congratulates all those involved and looks forward to continued
cooperation to ensure Ballarat's ongoing commitment to early childhood
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