Giving all children an equal chance through inclusive preschools

 BEST START: Nola Bales manager family and early years with preschoolers Dominic Garoni, 4, and Ava Gale, 4, at Belgrade Ave Community Centre. Picture: MARK JESSER
BEST START: Nola Bales manager family and early years with preschoolers Dominic Garoni, 4, and Ava Gale, 4, at Belgrade Ave Community Centre. Picture: MARK JESSER

Seven Wodonga kinders have received a combined funding of more than $57,000 to create inclusive play-spaces accessible for children and guardians of all abilities. 

Wodonga City Council applied for the state funding for six of their preschools – and on behalf of the Mungabareena Aboriginal Corporation owned Koori First Steps Preschool.

Council early years and family services manager Nola Bales said they were thrilled to receive the funding, which would help ensure all children have access to the same opportunities. 

“It’s so children of all abilities can access all areas of a preschool,” she said.

“It’s incredible, we don’t want children to be left behind simply because they can’t access the services properly so here at Wodonga we’re all about not leaving anyone behind.

“We want all children to be included, we want to provide a happy and healthy environment for all children – so it’s incredibly important.”

Three preschools in Benalla and one in Wangaratta also recieved funding.

Ms Bales said as well as the specifically designed tables, they also successfully applied for large foam blocks for children to climb on and equipment, both which provide sensory benefits. 

“The number of children who are needing special requirements, even as far as even sensory equipment, is growing every year,” he said. 

Ms Bales said they had also put in applications for a program to upgrade buildings and playground to make them more inclusive. 

Northen Victorian member Jaclyn Symes said the program was about giving everyone the best start to education. 

“It’s wonderful to know kids in Northern Victoria will benefit from even more inclusive, welcoming environments,” she said.