THE Wangaratta Children’s Service Centre now offers long daycare, a kindergarten, maternal and child health and disability support under one roof.
The new centre is on trend with the rest of the state in providing onsite early intervention for issues ranging from learning to behavioural problems.
Since January, the Handley Street centre has had the capacity to provide for an additional 55 children a day in a new double kindergarten room, with an adjoining open space.
It also has a new room each for early intervention provider Scope, the disability support service Noah’s Ark and maternal and child health.
The $2.75 million upgrade was funded jointly by Wangaratta Council, the Victorian Government and the community.
Minister for Children and Early Childhood Development Wendy Lovell, who helped open the centre yesterday, said it would provide increased access for parents and their children.
“The children become very comfortable with the centre, so they are used to coming here for long daycare or child and maternal health,” she said.
“So then, if they do have the need for other services, like the early child intervention services, it’s not a scary space to go.
“It’s a one-stop shop for children who have not yet started school at a convenient location for families.”
The centre’s acting child services team leader Carla Sanders said having the services onsite meant better care for children.
“Even if the staff can have a quick chat with the therapist they might just get a couple of ideas,” she said.
“They can try to implement some strategies prior to even accessing the services.”
Ms Lovell also announced a $467,000 extension for Wodonga West’s Jamieson Court Preschool, including $117,000 from Wodonga Council.
In line with the Wangaratta centre, it will provide 66 four-year-old kindergarten places, maternal and child health, parent support and allied health services.
The Berringa Hub at Bellbridge will get a $100,000 refurbishment, including $25,000 from the Towong Council, to increase its capacity by 18 places.
“These grants will ensure local children’s centres can be extended and upgraded to meet demand for quality service and will ensure children have the very best education and care in the years before school,” Ms Lovell said.
Ms Lovell also opened a new early learning centre at Wangaratta’s Yarrunga Primary School, which she said would provide a smoother transition from kindergarten to school for young students.