Child­care comes of age

Southern Gazette (South Perth) - - Near You -

AF­TER more than 35 years in op­er­a­tion, the Balga Early Learn­ing Cen­tre is go­ing strong and ex­pand­ing its ser­vices.

The cen­tre is owned and op­er­ated by the Sal­va­tion Army, which is cel­e­brat­ing 150 years, and will in­tro­duce an af­ter-school ser­vice in Term 3.

Direc­tor Jo Ine­son said the pro­gram had been in the pipe­line for a while.

“We have been work­ing on it for a lit­tle while, but it all de­pended on fund­ing and staffing,” she said.

“It will be tied in with the church and will have a Chris­tian fo­cus.”

Ms Ine­son, who has been with the cen­tre for 12 years and direc­tor for five, said she had seen many changes in the in­dus­try.

“Child­care has be­come a bet­ter pro­fes­sion, it has be­come more mean­ing­ful, it is more than day-care,” she said.

“We have about 80 fam­i­lies con­nected to the cen­tre and the fo­cus is not just on the chil­dren but their fam­i­lies as well; we push hard for our staff to be on a first name ba­sis with them and help with fees when they have too many bills.”

She said she had wit­nessed chil­dren’s be­hav­iour trans­form dur­ing their time spent at the cen­tre. “It is the lit­tle things; you see them come in and af­ter a few weeks, they are calmer and play in­de­pen­dently,” she said.

Sal­va­tion Army Balga net­work direc­tor Philip

Jen­nings.

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