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Rhett and Jack enjoy the event to break ground at Wantirna South Early Years Hub

Frequently asked questions

About the hubs

Why a hub?


The Knox Children and Family Centres are designed to bring together many different kinds of services for children and their families in one location. This will assist families to have a better awareness of the extensive early years services Council offers, and provide them with an easy way to access multiple services much more easily. All services under one roof will also mean that children’s development can easily be supported from early age through to preschool without the need for repeat conversations between parents and staff.

When will the centre in Wantirna South open?


The centre in Wantirna South will open in early 2019. We will confirm the opening date as soon as possible.

When will the centre in Bayswater open?


The centre in Bayswater is scheduled to open in early 2019. We will confirm the opening date as soon as possible.

What is so different about these hubs?


These centres will house a number of quality early years services, programs and seamless, integrated systems such as enrolments/registrations and payments, to support families in the community. They will be new modern facilities that provide co-located access to young children and their families in Knox. The clever design means that as centre requirements change, the centre can be adapted to ensure that the best possible care is provided for your children at all times.

How long will it take these buildings to finish?


We are expecting the construction to finish in late 2018, and for the centres to open in early 2019. Regular updates on the progress of the construction works will be available on the website.

How were the sites chosen?


In determining the most suitable sites Council assessed Council-owned land and consideration was given to:

  • Size of the land
  • Existing uses
  • Location and access for families travelling across the municipality.
  • Suitability of the land in relation to impact and cost of repurposing for early years services.
  • Potential co-location or proximity to other community services, including schools.
  • Proximity to other child care services.

The suitability of the sites for preschool, Maternal and Child Health and playgroups was also assessed and thorough traffic and parking assessments were undertaken.

About our services

What type of services will be offered from these early years hubs?


Our Bayswater and Wantirna South centres will provide sessional Preschool, Maternal & Child Health, Playgroup, Allied Health and Long Day Child Care services. Long day preschool places will also be available

The Wantirna South centre will also have an Occasional Education & Care service.

Why has Council made the decision to amalgamate its childcare centres into two hubs?


By co-locating and integrating our early years services we can help support high quality outcomes for children and families, and Council wants to invest wisely in facilities that better support the community now, and into the future.

There have been significant changes to childcare over many years. Many of these changes will benefit children and families and are focused on improving the quality of early years services. Council is continuing its commitment to provide high quality childcare services to young children and families and this includes striving to provide an affordable service, whilst meeting all requirements, including its obligations under the National Competition Policy.

Our families have told us they value having the choice of Council-operated long day care services, and that our occasional care service meets the needs of many families because it is the only occasional care service of its type in the Knox municipality.

What are the benefits of a shared outdoor yard?


We know that children learn just as much from each other as they do from adults, so a mixed age early childhood setting provides opportunities for this. Each child has their own interests and strengths and the variety of experiences available in a shared outdoor yard acknowledges children as developing individuals as well as in a particular age group.

Older children learn to be leaders, teachers and carers of the younger children and quieter or reserved children can also find younger children with whom they can show confidence and self-assurance. Younger children benefit from their older role models and language development is significantly enhanced through the interaction with older children.

Older children also have the opportunity to demonstrate helpfulness, leadership, patience, and tolerance. They also model social and academic behaviours for younger children.

What about the safety of babies and toddlers in the shared outdoor yard?


Our highly qualified Early Childhood Educators are experienced in setting up safe, engaging and developmentally appropriate learning environments that involves all children and creates spaces for children to explore, engage and learn. Safety is one of the core considerations when the Educators plan both for the indoor and outdoor learning environments. The experiences to be planned promote learning, positive behaviour and consider safety and supervision of all children.

How will educators monitor the whereabouts of the children?


Our service will always comply with the required educator/child ratio set by the Education and Care Services National Regulations. Our experienced Educators will get to know each of the children and their specific interests by joining in their play while at the same time observing safety and well-being of the children. Part of the Educators’ current practice is having clear communication with each other and following the established process, ensuring that at all times they are aware of whereabouts of the children.

Will educators know my child in this big centre?


Absolutely, your child will be educated and cared for by a group of dedicated Educators who are trained to focus on each individual child in the context of a group of children. Educators already work together and have many opportunities to share ideas, to plan and discuss children’s development and learnings.

Enrolment/Registration

How can families enrol/register for the sessional preschool in the centres?


Families will be able to nominate for their preferred preschool through KEYS online. We will advise when this becomes available.

Is there a waiting list for the childcare services in the two new buildings?


The waiting list for our childcare services is now open. Families are able to express interest in the centre they would prefer their child to attend in 2019. Visit Knox City Council Child Care Network for more information.

Will families have the opportunity to visit the new centre before starting?


We will arrange for a number of open days for families to visit the new centres, this will be after the completion of the construction works. Information on the dates for open days will be available on the website around November 2018.

How much notice do childcare families need to give if they choose not to go to these new centres?


Families can advise their centre team leader of their decision at any time prior to the move.

Will families already using other services in the hubs get priority?


Knox City Council has a central registration process for allocating places at preschools they manage. This central registration process includes a Priority of Access policy and procedure that ensures preschool services are accessible and equitable to all families.

The Priority of Access is a points-based system that allocates preschool placements to ensure a fair and equitable enrolment system, outlined in the Funded Preschool Policy. Higher priority points are allocated to children in Knox who are:

  • previously deferred
  • enrolled in or on a waiting list for an early intervention service in Knox
  • already a user of one of our other early years services
  • from those families identified as vulnerable, according to set criteria

More information

How do child care and preschool fees differ at the hubs?


Council is committed to providing quality child care and preschool services to as many residents as possible. Costs for accessing both child care and preschool services within the hubs will remain consistent with current arrangements, please refer to Councils draft budget for further information. Prices for 2019 are yet to be set and will be available when known.

What preschool session times will be offered and how many children will be in each group?


We currently offer our preschool program in a number of settings. We have short days and longer day sessions as well as preschool within our child care program and planning is currently underway for our 2019 program.

More information regarding session times will be available in late May.

Can families attend sessional preschool with child care before and afterwards? How would the fees be structured?


Families can continue to access either preschool or child care services separately or choose to participate in preschool within a child care setting.

Attending either preschool or child care will attract the associated fee, and families who access preschool within a child care setting will continue to only pay the child care fee as is current policy.

My child attends: I pay:
sessional preschool preschool fees
child care only child care fees
preschool within a child care setting (where offered) child care fees (fees are inclusive of preschool program where offered)
sessional preschool and child care child care fees and sessional preschool fees

Relocating to the new centres

What are the plans for transitioning child care and families to these centres?


There will be a transition plan for the families and children to these new centres. We will be consulting with families to plan this transition together.

What will Council do with the six childcare buildings when they relocate to these hubs?


Council is currently considering a number of options with respect to the existing child care buildings. We will update the community when we have more information.

What will happen to the MCH service at the Blue Hills site during the construction works?


Bayswater Maternal and Child Health has temporarily relocated to the following locations:

  • Birch St MCH. 2 Birch St, Bayswater - enter via the preschool carpark.
  • Warruga Avenue MCH. Cnr of Warruga Ave and Phyllis St, Bayswater - enter via the Bayswater West Primary School Warruga Ave entrance. The MCH is located in the school office area.

For any queries, please contact MCH Central Booking on 9298 8741.

About our Bayswater hub

What will the design look like?


The design of the Knox Children and Family Centre (Bayswater) is built around the concept of a Sunflower and maximises the opportunity to use natural sunlight in a similar manner to the sunflower itself. The sunflower is designed to capture as much of the sun’s rays as possible and our building is informed by this need. Having two main ‘U-shaped’ elements ensures the building captures as much sunlight as possible, making best use of the abundant natural light that will be harnessed as a result of the north facing play areas. This will create a rich outdoor classroom, complimenting the equally enriching educational space within the building.

This design will build community and enable the play spaces to be shared between all age groups which will help to develop leadership skills in older children and enhanced social participation for younger children.

Will the centre be environmentally sustainable?


The centre will be a light and open space that will aim to incorporate:

  • 48 x 300 watt panels solar powering the site. It is anticipated that no external power consumption will be required
  • Passive heat exchange technologies – this means no running costs
  • 200,000 litres of water tank capacity
  • 7+ star energy rating

This will result in a 95% reduction in energy costs, an 80% reduction in lifecycle maintenance costs and 80% reduction in water costs.

When selecting materials for this centre, sustainability and longevity are major drivers. Locally sourced materials with carefully considered sustainable properties form the basis of the design elements. Where possible, we will recycle and repurpose timber and other building materials in order to build a world-standard environmentally sensitive building with an emphasis on sustainability and reducing landfill and our environmental footprint.

As a result, our new facility will have a building life of 100 years (most buildings are designed to last 50)

What will be included in the new centre?


The Knox Children and Family Centre (Bayswater) will include:

  • A child care service.
  • A 4 year-old preschool service.
  • A Maternal and Child Health service.
  • An allied health consultation suite.
  • A community/playgroup room including outdoor play space.

Will people need to travel further to the new centre?


The new centre will be easily accessible to a large proportion of the Knox community.

How has Council planned for the impact of traffic and parking around the new centre?


A traffic impact assessment was undertaken to assess the traffic and parking needs of the new centre.
The projected increase in traffic during the morning and afternoon peak hours can be accommodated on the surrounding road network without significant impacts.

The traffic impact assessment also identified that the proposed centre may generate up to a maximum parking demand of 52 parking spaces. Sufficient parking is available within the centre precinct to cater for this increase.

Will there be a reduction in the number of child care places available?


No. It is expected there will be a small increase in the number of child care places available.

All current users will be guaranteed a place in one of the new centres.

About our Wantirna South hub

What will the design look like?


The design of the Knox Children and Family Centre (Wantirna South) is similar in shape to a cocoon and allows the child to enter the centre at the entry point then, as they develop, gradually work their way through the building until they emerge ready for school – similar to the journey a butterfly takes. The design allows the building to explore the relationship between natural light and materials and the internal playrooms will have highlights of colour representative of the caterpillar’s passage towards being a butterfly.

There is a natural flow from the indoor to the outdoor and back again, making best use of the abundant natural light. All classrooms have access to the outdoor play areas as well as being connected via internal passageways along the spine of the building. The structure has been designed to allow natural light to penetrate the indoor spaces which enhances the connection to the outdoor spaces.

Play spaces will be shared between all age groups which will help to develop leadership skills in older children and enhanced social participation for younger children

Will the centre be environmentally sustainable?


The centre will be a light and open space that aims to incorporate:

  • 48 x 300 watt panels solar powering the site. It is anticipated that no external power consumption will be required
  • Passive heat exchange technologies – this means no running costs
  • 200,000 litres of water tank capacity
  • 7+ star energy rating

This will result in a 95% reduction in energy costs, an 80% reduction in lifecycle maintenance costs and 80% reduction in water costs.

When selecting materials for this centre, sustainability and longevity are major drivers. Locally sourced materials with carefully considered sustainable properties form the basis of the design elements. Where possible, we will recycle and repurpose timber and other building materials in order to build a world-standard environmentally sensitive building with an emphasis on sustainability and reducing landfill and our environmental footprint.

As a result, our new facility will have a building life of 100 years (most buildings are designed to last 50).

What will be included in the new centre?


The Knox Children and Family Centre (Wantirna South) will include:

  • A child care service.
  • A 4 year-old preschool service.
  • A Maternal and Child Health service.
  • An allied health consultation suite.
  • A community/playgroup room including outdoor play space.
  • An occasional child care service.

Will people need to travel further to the new centre?


The new centre will be easily accessible to a large proportion of the Knox community.

How has Council planned for the impact of traffic and parking around the new centre?


A traffic impact assessment was undertaken to assess the traffic and parking needs of the new centre.
The projected increase in traffic during the morning and afternoon peak hours can be accommodated on the surrounding road network without significant impacts.

The traffic impact assessment also identified that the proposed centre may generate up to a maximum parking demand of 52 parking spaces. Sufficient parking is available within the centre precinct to cater for this increase.

When will the new centre be built?


Construction is expected to be completed in late 2018 with the centre opening in early 2019.

Will there be a reduction in the number of child care places available?


No. It is expected there will be a small increase in the number of child care places available.

All current users will be guaranteed a place in one of the new centres.

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