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Early Years

Knox Early Years Hubs

Council run child care facilities are undergoing substantial improvement to co-locate and integrate a range of early learning and family support services to better support children and their families.

From 2018 -2019, Councils five long day care and occasional care services are being consolidated into two new early years hubs. Each hub will include:

  • Maternal and child health
  • Four-year-old sessional preschool
  • Playgroups, and
  • Long day care.

The hub in Wantirna South will also house Council’s occasional care service.

This means that over the next 3 years, the following services will be relocated to the new early years hubs:

  • Long day care currently at Birchfield Crescent Children and Family Centre
  • Long day care currently at Rowville Children and Family Centre
  • Long day care currently at Coorie Avenue Children and Family Centre
  • Long day care currently at Talaskia Children and Family Centre
  • Occasional care currently at Tyner Road Children and Family Centre
  • Long day care currently at Park Crescent Children and Family Centre

Playgroups and Maternal and Child Health Service will remain at Park Crescent Children and Family Centre.

These specially designed hubs will be located in Wantirna South (currently the Knox Gardens Preschool site) and Bayswater (currently the Blue Hills Children and Family Centre site).

Map of Early Years Hubs

The hubs will modernise the facilities and provide improved services to young children and their families in Knox.

“We’re reshaping some of our services and developing dedicated, modern multi-use early years facilities so council can provide improved, one-stop locations to match changing community needs and help with affordability for families,” Cr Holland said.

Everything under one roof

Outdoor play spaces that will be shared by infants, toddlers and preschoolers.

Shared play spaces help all children and staff to 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.

Watch the Knox Early Years Hub Video on YouTube

Benefits to families

The early years hubs will bring together different kinds of services for children and their families in one space to offer options for parents that are high quality, flexible and coordinated.

A big benefit to families is improved communication about their child. With many services under the one roof and with parents’ permission, families will not have repeat discussions with staff about their child’s development.

Other benefits are:

  • Better access to occasional care
  • Great environment to give children the best care and early learning
  • A choice of early education and care services to suit needs of the family
  • Increased awareness of the different types of Council services available
  • Opportunities to feel part of a special community
  • Flexibly designed building to cater for Knox’s changing demographics over the next 100 years

Benefits to children

  • Improved quality of services, leading to improved learning
  • Continued support of established individualised learning programs when children transition between groups as all staff and children know each other
  • A setting that invites children and their families to actively engage in positive early years development
  • A new sustainable building ... good for our environment, good for our children.
  • Children will learn, discover, explore and play in spaces that specifically cater for their growing needs.

Clever design

Designing facilities that will provide quality programs and services for our ever changing community needs are very important to Knox City Council.

The hubs design will incorporate an open flexible layout that could successfully allow multi-uses and accommodate diverse functions and changing community needs. It will also incorporate environmentally and economically sustainable design principle to significantly lower overall lifecycle and operating costs for the facility particularly in terms of water and energy use.

The design will also embrace the principles of Universal Access to enable members of the community and users of the facility to have unrestricted access.

The hubs will be light, open spaces with connecting indoor and outdoor learning environment and are intended to have:

  • 48 x 300 watt panels with 12,000 amp/hr storage capacity which is anticipated to result in our external power consumption to nil
  • No running costs (using passive heat exchange technologies)
  • Operational costs (excluding staff costs etc) will be reduced by around 85%. This includes an estimated 95% reduction in energy costs, an 80% reduction in lifecycle maintenance and a 80% reduction in water costs.
  • Water tanks with capacity of 200,000 litres will provide 80% of our water requirements
  • Building life will be100 years
  • 7+ star energy rating

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 next...

We are finalising the design for the hub in Wantirna South so that construction can commence in early 2017.

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.

What will be at the hub in Wantirna South

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 is yet to be finalised

  • The date that the new hubs will be ready to open.
  • The fees
  • What will happen to the other facilities where Council currently provides childcare.

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

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

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