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Andrew Barr sent out to close the pre-schools

By johnboy 8 May 2006 15

You have to wonder if Karin Macdonald isn’t a little glad she missed out on the Ministry this time around.

The Canberra Times reports that Andrew Barr has been sent out as the messenger for the news that pre-schools are going to have to close.

the Government is considering closing preschools, as new figures reveal eight are critically under-enrolled.

At risk are Causeway Preschool, which has just five students this year; Curtin South Preschool, which has nine; Reid Preschool which has 11; Campbell Preschool 13; Macarthur Preschool 16; Hackett Preschool with 16 students; and Cook Preschool which has 16.

It beggars belief that all 8 became under-enrolled in the last few months. So even though under-erolment is a fine reason to close a pre-school the public has to wonder if this is another panic reaction from a Government that’s blown our dough at the races.

A sensible government might have closed schools as they became under-enrolled even though the sun was shining. But that would have been good management.

It’s a shame the newest Minister is having to catch the bullets for this.

What’s Your opinion?

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Andrew Barr sent out to close the pre-schools
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nyssa76 7:56 pm 09 May 06

Fiona I have. The Team Leader has a Ba Ed (Early Childhood).

My son went to the same daycare centre and was more prepared than most of the children in his class.

One idea is to have a pre-school attached to a childcare centre.

In the Evatt and Gowrie areas this does happen. Staff walk the children to the pre-school – no less than 5m away – and collect the children again when pre-school is finished.

emd 4:25 pm 09 May 06

And I keep hearing in the media about the “baby bounce” – the sudden increase in babies being born as Gen Xers have bought houses in the recent housing boom. Are we closing preschools that will need to be reopened in three or four years?

dusty 12:23 pm 09 May 06

Yes I agree with all of you. Maybe a new approach to preschool education is required, given current family statistics. But blindly closing preschools which have seen enrolments drop is not solving the problem, just eliminating it. Handing childrens right of government based local preschool education to the private childcare centres is totally wrong, especially in the older areas of Canberra. Theres still a lot of kids there, its just they’re in part or full time childcare.

emd 11:56 am 09 May 06

The ideal would be a childcare centre that could do pickup/drop-off from a nearby preschool, or a preschool that had an after-school care program. That would enable working mothers to do a true full day at work.

Fiona 11:19 am 09 May 06

Most preschools are now running a combination of two full days (9-3) and 3 short days (9-1).

You’ll need to pick a good child care centre to find one that delivers a program as good as most of the gov preschools here. Good luck to you if you have, nyssa76!

See themclose them down, then wonder why the waitlists go up elsewhere…

emd 10:56 am 09 May 06

It’s not just for a year if you have multiple kids. It lasts until the youngest has started “big school”. I understand and agree with preschools providing a different environment to childcare, but that doesn’t change the logistics of working part time with kids in multiple different environments.

dusty 10:49 am 09 May 06

Preschools and childcare centres are completely different. My kids both went to their local govvie preschool right through, but I also required part time childcare around these hours. Preschool was crucial for them in recieving specialised preschool education, which is specifically geared at preparing them for ‘big school’ by developing their interpersonal and organisational skills, and meeting other kids that they then knew on the first day of school. Preschool gets the network thing going. Childcare doesnt do that. It is merely aimed at serving parents needs for a safe and interesting environment for their children while they are at work, of course necessary and vital don’t get me wrong. But Preschools are there for the kids, Thats the difference. Yeah so you need to juggle half days, yes it’s difficult, but it’s only for a year or so, and SO worth it if you can do it.
Mr Barr, Roll out full day preschool, say 2 full days,per week instead of the existing 4 half days, at all preschools and enrolments will skyrocket as parents can rely on that and part time childcare. Also preschool fees should be tax deductible.

emd 10:00 am 09 May 06

A “full day” at preschool is only six hours, which means you can only work five hours. If you also have younger kids, you still have to pay a full day’s fees for them, but you only get five hours pay to cover it.

As most working mothers are on lower than average salaries (try getting a promotion when you work part time or on maternity leave!) this makes pre-school less useful as a childcare option.

nyssa76 5:07 pm 08 May 06

They were trialling 2-3 full days a week.

My child’s day care offers a pre-school program so I don’t need to leave work to drop her off and pick her up. Plus, she’s already got friends in her daycare centre who do the pre-school program with her.

GnT 2:39 pm 08 May 06

One reason public pre-schools are under-enrolled is they do not offer full time child care facilities. Most pre-school programs are (I think – correct me if I’m wrong) only a few hours a week, usually only mornings or a couple of days a week. If you work full time, you still need to pay for child care, and many child care centres offer a pre-school program.

Thumper 11:31 am 08 May 06

Sorry, didn’t mean to put child care centres in there.

To quote everyone in the public eye, ‘My words were taken out of context’.


emd 11:25 am 08 May 06

I haven’t heard of any child care centre closing due to lack of enrolments. All the ones I know of have waiting lists of 12 months or more! Are you confusing them with the stories about primary schools and high schools closing?

As for the pre-school closures, the issue seems to be more that the pre-school aged kids are living in the outer suburbs, not inner city or Woden. I would have thought inner city pre-schools would be convenient as a cheaper childcare alternative if you have a four year old?

Sssanta 10:45 am 08 May 06

Cough up the cash to keep these pre-schools open. Education of the kiddies is far more important than safe fiscal decisions.

Thumper 10:39 am 08 May 06

It seems that Mr Barr has his work cut out trying to sell the policies that were introduced long before he had the job. Tough way to start.

I am intrigued, however, at the continual bleating about lack of child care facilities, and yet we see child care centres and preschools about to be closed down due to lack of numbers.

Ms Gallagher may like to explain, or at least brief Mr Barr.

emd 10:28 am 08 May 06

It’s a bloody conspiracy to push families out to Gungahlin or Lanyon, where the services are (and the supermarket carparks are crowded).

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