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Investing in children’s education

REDFERN: The NSW government delivered a $5,000 educational funding boost to Poet’s Corner Preschool, as part of targeted investment in the preschool education of Aboriginal children and children from low socioeconomic backgrounds Reports Malcolm Weihao Luo in the November 2011 issues of the South Sydney Herald.

Currently the average preschool fee in NSW is $38.50 in metropolitan areas and $27.70 per day in rural areas, but children from Poet’s Corner Preschool pay less than the standard amount.

“When we look at the fees, most parents pay $8 to $12, so we largely rely on fundraising and donations,” the Coordinator of Poet’s Corner Preschool Raeleen O’Halloran said. “Most children couldn’t access other preschools, because they cannot afford it.”

Poet’s Corner Preschool is committed to nurturing creativity, and social skills for children aged between three and five years. It provides a higher proportion of staff than many preschools (one staff member for every eight), which allows the team to maintain high standard service. The qualified, experienced and dedicated staff create a warm, caring and friendly environment for children.

Poet’s Corner Preschool is licensed for 25 children per day. Ms O’Halloran said: “Our priority is to get as many children through preschool as we can, but given the limited space, and some children with high needs, it means there are a number of children on the waiting list.”

Liberal Duty MLC for Heffron, Don Harwin, presented the cheque to the preschool on a surprise and welcomed visit last month.

Ms O’Halloran was delighted to receive the funding and believes it can make a difference. “We can actually purchase equipment with the $5,000, like upgrading computer programs, books and other literacy resources; otherwise, we couldn’t afford it.

“We always look at our wish list, and we really want to purchase some musical instruments to prepare our music program, [because] the language we build comes from music.”

This grant to Poet’s Corner and other preschools is one part of the financial support provided by the NSW government to preschools across the State, support of which is due to increase over the course of this financial year.

Mr Harwin said the Minister for Education and Training also announced a review for early childhood education and care, which is currently underway. “The review is being led by Professor Deborah Brennan of the University of NSW… Her recommendations will support all children in NSW having universal access to a quality early childhood education in the year before compulsory schooling.”

The Preschool is managed by the Factory Community Centre. Michael Shreenan, Executive Officer, lobbied for support for a long time, and was grateful for the $5,000 grant. “You can never have enough resources when it comes to investing in the education of children,” he said.

Source: November 2011 South Sydney Herald