Pakenham Kindergarten has been granted $350,000 for its first major upgrade in its 60 years.
The kinder is among 12 children’s centres across the state to receive State Government capital funding to restore and extend facilities to meet community demand.
The upgrade includes building new children’s rooms, indoor and outdoor undercover play spaces, a large storage room and consulting rooms to bring family support services on site.
Kinders Together project development co-ordinator Di Price said the staff were excited by the impact the upgrade would have on the community.
“This has been the major goal that staff, both past and present, have been working towards for at least the past six years,” Ms Price said.
“We are the original Pakenham Kindergarten. The building is more than 60 years old and has only had minor renovations in that time.
“Relying on community fund-raisers would take years to raise this kind of money.
“It’s a great outcome for the kinder community.”
The upgrade will also support the construction of a new entrance with bag storage and a ramp to enhance accessibility for children with mobility issues.
The bathroom will have an additional children’s toilet, nappy change facilities and a disability accessible bathroom.
The renovation will increase “floor space”, allowing for the kindergarten to take on more enrolments in the future.
Cardinia Shire Council children and family services manager Pamela Martin said the upgrade would maintain the site’s historical significance.
“The value that the community places on this kindergarten has seen generations of families continue to return to the facility as a preference for their children’s education,” Ms Martin said.
“The high quality teaching and inclusive early childhood program reinforce the significance of this facility to the community and the need for maintaining and developing it for use by future generations.”
Member for Eastern Victoria Region Daniel Mulino said the grant would help give Cardinia families “flexible, accessible and affordable” early learning and care services.
“Our local area has experienced a significant baby boom in recent years. Investments like this will pay enormous dividends to Cardinia families for years to come,” Mr Mulino said.
“High-quality early years education and care are vital to giving every child the best start in life.”
Works are expected to commence early this year and will be scheduled during the school holidays to avoid disruption to the kindergarten program.
Originally published at Pakenham Officer News.