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Early Years

Knox Early Years Hubs

Council has decided to consolidate its child care services into two new early years hubs, along with other early years services at each site.

Building of the new facilities will start in early 2017 following a review of Council’s child care services, finalised with a decision by Council at its meeting on 26 April to ensure it delivers better services in smarter ways. As part of the review of its child care services, Council explored how it might put money to better use in combined and more sustainably built facilities.

Specifically, the Council resolution stated the following:

  • Proceed with the implementation of two early years hubs to be located in Wantirna South (Knox Gardens Preschool site) and Bayswater (Blue Hills Children and Family Centre site).
  • The consolidation of Council’s five long day early childhood education and care (ECEC) services, and occasional ECEC service into these two hubs.
  • The creation of a report to Council, outlining a proposed plan to rationalise or repurpose Council’s early years facilities that may no longer be required for Council’s long day and occasional early childhood education and care services, due to the establishment of the two early years hubs.

Once completed, the hub at the site where Knox Gardens Preschool is currently located at Wantirna South and the new hub at the Blue Hills Children and Family Centre site at Bayswater will house, under one roof, maternal and child health, four-year-old preschool, playgroup, and long day care. Council will also offer occasional care at the hub in Wantirna South.

Why has Council made this decision?

There have been significant changes to child care over many years, and it is difficult for Council to provide an affordable service, whilst meeting all requirements, including its obligations under the National Competition Policy.

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.

Co-located and integrated early years services can help achieve better outcomes for children and families, and Council wants to invest wisely in facilities that better support the community now, and into the future.

What we’re working on

  • Finalising the design of the hub in Wantirna South through detailed design. Building works are planned to commence at the Knox Gardens site in 2017.
  • Working with the Knox Gardens Preschool Committee to explore options during this project.
  • The design for the hub in Bayswater.

What we do know

It’s business as usual at all other early years facilities in Knox. It will take some time to finalise the design for the building, construction, and to ensure it's ready, before services begin operation.
We acknowledge that there are many decisions to be made by families relating to work, school, preschool, just to name a few. We will inform families on opening dates and other essential information, as soon possible.

The hub in Wantirna South will include:

  • 117 long day care places per day:
    • For 0 to 2 year olds - 3 rooms with 12 places each
    • For 2 to 3 year olds - 3 rooms with 16 places each
    • For 3 to 5 year olds - 1 room with 33 places
  • 33 places per day for 4 year old sessional preschool
  • A shared outdoor play space for the long day care and sessional preschool programs
  • 40 occasional care places per day with an outdoor play space:
    • For 0 to 2 year olds - 1 room with 16 places
    • For 2 to 5 year olds - 1 room with 24 places
  • 1 playgroup room with an outdoor play space
  • 2 Maternal Child Health offices
  • 1 Allied Health consulting suite
  • Kitchen and dining area for children
  • Feeding room
  • Pram storage
  • Underground car park

What we don’t know

  • The date that the new hubs will be ready to open.
  • What will the fees be.
  • What will happen to the affected facilities where Council currently provides childcare. Council will make a decision about this at a later date.

Please take the opportunity to register your email address so we can keep you updated with the progress of this project.

Further information regarding Preschool and Kindergarten programs.

If you have specific questions, please contact us on eyfeedback@knox.vic.gov.au

Why have we chosen outdoor play spaces that will be shared by infants, toddlers and preschoolers?

Shared play spaces help all children and staff get to know each other and help to build a sense of community. We know that multi-age groups can promote:

  • The development of leadership skills in older children
  • Enhanced social participation for younger children
  • Self-regulation
  • Complex play situations for younger children that are created by older children
  • Skills in conflict resolution
  • Cognitive development through “novices and experts” in the same play situation
  • Enhanced communication skills

Careful consideration is being given to the landscape design of these outdoor play spaces to make sure that they meet the needs of all children, including providing safety for younger children as well as challenging older children.

Please note some pages will not be available on our website during the period 21 September to 22 October 2016 in accordance with our obligations under Council's Election Period Policy. More information available www.knox.vic.gov.au/elections

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