Horsham kindergarten upgrades will create 26 more places

BRIGHT FUTURES: Member for Lowan Hugh Delahunty reads to Shenae Barnett, Scarlett McGennisken and Hunta Faull, all 4, at Bennett Road Kindergarten. The kinder will undergo a $210,000 upgrade. Picture: SAMANTHA CAMARRI

BRIGHT FUTURES: Member for Lowan Hugh Delahunty reads to Shenae Barnett, Scarlett McGennisken and Hunta Faull, all 4, at Bennett Road Kindergarten. The kinder will undergo a $210,000 upgrade. Picture: SAMANTHA CAMARRI

UPGRADES to two Horsham kindergartens will create places for 26 more children.

Bennett Road Kindergarten and Green Park Kindergarten will share in more than $400,000 to improve their premises.

The State Government, Horsham Rural City Council and each kindergarten have pitched in to pay for the developments.

Green Park Kindergarten's upgrade will create 16 additional places.

Its floor-level decking will be extended to enhance accessibility.

An additional accessible bathroom and nappy changing amenities will also be built.

The State Government contributed $153,000, Horsham Rural City Council allocated $46,000 and the Green Park Kindergarten committee raised $3000 for the works.

Bennett Road Kindergarten's upgrade will create 10 additional places.

The upgrade will include outdoor decking, an accessible toilet and nappy change infrastructure.

The existing bathroom, kitchen and storage areas will also be reconfigured.

The State Government contributed $157,500, Horsham Rural City Council allocated $42,500 and the Bennett Road Kindergarten committee raised $10,000.

Member for Lowan Hugh Delahunty visited Bennett Road Kindergarten on Thursday to make the announcement.

"A lot of people said there was not much in the State Budget for Horsham and the Wimmera," he said.

"But the reality is we allocate money in the budget that can then get rolled out.

"I've always said investing in our children at this age is so important."

Horsham and District Kindergarten Association early years manager Shirleen Greening said the development was vital.

"We are starting to look forward to 2016 when the teacher-to-child ratios change," she said.

"The ratio now is a teacher to 15 children.

"In 2016, it will change to a teacher to 11 children.

"This will help us meet those national quality standards."

Mrs Greening said the new teacher-to-child ratio would mean kindergartens needed more space and staffing.

"We are almost at capacity for four-year-old children, and we have a waiting list for three-year-old kindergarten," she said.

More than 130 children attend Green Park Kindergarten: about 72 four-year-old children, and about 60 three-year-old children.

Bennett Road Kindergarten will start offering three-year-old kindergarten next year.

About 45 four-year-old children already attend the kindergarten.

Mrs Greening expected demand for kindergarten places would increase.

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