Van makes big dif­fer­ence

The Tribune (NZ) - - YOUR BODY - RICHARD MAYS

Not hav­ing trans­port is now not a prob­lem for the par­ents and chil­dren of Awa­puni Kinder­garten.

Thanks to a new 10-seater diesel Nis­san Ur­van, the Alexan­der St kinder­garten now op­er­ates a pick-up ser­vice that col­lects chil­dren from their homes and drops them off af­ter the kinder­garten day.

A van had been on the wish-list for years and head teacher Kim Ste­wart said it was pick­ing up a full load of seven chil­dren ev­ery morn­ing.

‘‘It’s just work­ing so well for lots of our fam­i­lies. It can be re­ally dif­fi­cult for some par­ents to get their chil­dren here.’’

Some were re­cent im­mi­grants still learn­ing their way around the city. Oth­ers had no fam­ily car, had lim­ited fi­nances, job-re­lated time res­traints, or lived too far away to walk.

Ste­wart said it could be ill­ness or a new baby that made get­ting chil­dren to kinder­garten a chal­lenge. Some­times fam­i­lies only needed the help for a short term.

One of the kinder­garten dads had vol­un­teered as a driver, and he and a kinder­garten teacher did the pick-up and drop-off runs.

Ste­wart said they used the gov­ern­ment’s eq­uity fund­ing to buy the sec­ond-hand van and kit it out.

‘‘We’re re­spon­si­ble for the chil­dren’s safety, so it has been equipped to a high stan­dard.’’

The chil­dren could now en­joy reg­u­lar ex­cur­sions in the van.

Ste­wart said there were in­quiries from par­ents out­side the area, in­clud­ing from Ron­gotea 20km away, where there is a play­cen­tre but no kinder­garten.

‘‘It's just work­ing so well for lots of our fam­i­lies’’

Kim Ste­wart, Awa­puni Kinder­garten

PHOTO: SUPPLIED

Ko­mal Jakhu, 4, left, and Rahziyah Ak­bar Shah, 3, are all strapped in and ready to go in the new Awa­puni Kinder­garten van.

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