New Mil­ton preschool

Clutha Leader - - FRONT PAGE - MARY-JO TOHILL

Mil­ton’s old play­cen­tre in Spenser St will once again be filled with young chil­dren, with the open­ing of a new fa­cil­ity in the spring.

It will be called Mil­ton Lit­tle Cit­i­zens and op­er­ated by the Methodist Mission South­ern.

Direc­tor Laura Black said the need for a new preschool was high­lighted by the com­mu­nity and the Min­istry of Ed­u­ca­tion.

Fol­low­ing the closure of an early child­hood cen­tre last year, a con­sul­ta­tion was car­ried out with the three re­main­ing fa­cil­i­ties, which had the capacity to en­rol some of the chil­dren from the closed cen­tre, but not all. Feed­back showed all three cen­tres were full with wait­ing lists.

Word had got out quickly about the new cen­tre, she said.

‘‘In the last few days we’ve al­ready had en­rol­ment enquiries.’’

The preschool is due to open in spring and will be li­censed for 25 chil­dren (10 un­der 2s).

Ren­o­va­tions on the old play­cen­tre build­ing started this week.

Over the past few years, the num­ber of young fam­i­lies liv­ing in Mil­ton had in­creased sig­nif­i­cantly, which had put pres­sure on lo­cal early child­hood cen­tres, she said.

Ex­pan­sion of the nearby Otago Cor­rec­tions Fa­cil­ity was having an im­pact on the com­mu­nity, be­cause staff with young fam­i­lies needed preschool fa­cil­i­ties on hand.

The Methodist Mission had been build­ing ‘‘pos­i­tive re­la­tion­ships’’ with the Mil­ton com­mu­nity for four years, Mil­ton Com­mu­nity Health Trust nurs­ing man­ager Dale Wy­ber said.

This in­cludes the em­ploy­ment of sup­port and ad­vo­cacy worker Pa­nia Tu­lia, who is sub­con­tracted to the mission to pro­vide so­cial ser­vices, and is based at the Toko­mairiro Com­mu­nity Hub. She works across many sec­tors of the com­mu­nity and will be help­ing fa­cil­i­tate the needs of the chil­dren and fam­i­lies who use the new preschool.

ANA MAPUSUA

A new preschool Mil­ton Lit­tle Cit­i­zens is to be es­tab­lished in the old play­cen­tre build­ing.

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