Kaniva children's hub expands

KANIVA parents now have access to more kindergarten hours and childcare services each week.

The Department of Education and Early Childhood Development gave the Kaniva Kindergarten $300,000 in November 2012 to build a new room and upgrade the kitchen.

The money came after the Federal Government's Universal Access program mandated that kindergartens provide 15 hours of care a week to children in the year before they attend primary school.

If the centre increased the hours of its four-year-old program, there would not have been enough space to also run its three-year-old program, as well as childcare and playgroup throughout the week.

Member for Lowan Hugh Delahunty officially opened the new room and kitchen on Friday.

West Wimmera Mayor Ron Hawkins said the upgrade would enable the four-year-old kindergarten program to increase to 15 hours a week, while having the capacity to also run a three-year-old program six hours a week.

He said Wimmera Uniting Care childcare and the Kaniva Playgroup would also be able to use the centre.

"This upgrade has allowed us to continue to offer a wide range of programs for children aged up to five years," he said.

"The kitchen upgrade has enabled healthy eating programs to operate, including cooking for the children."

Mr Delahunty said the investment would enable the kindergarten to increase its capacity from 32 to 64 places.

"This project is key to ensuring current and future generations of children have access to high quality early years services in the years before school," he said.

"Quality early childhood education and care is crucial for young children because it helps them develop the skills they need to succeed at school and beyond.

"With the library and maternal and child health centre next door, the new and improved kindergarten is the heart of a one-stop-shop community hub for children and family services.''

Mr Delahunty said the State Government invested $300,000 in the upgrade and the Kaniva community contributed $5500.

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