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MEDIA RELEASE - Heywood Kindergarten to change hands

31 July 2019

A local privately run early learning business will operate from the Heywood Kindergarten facility from next year, which will cater for the community’s growing needs.

The neighbouring Hunter Street-based Heywood Early Learning Centre will assume full responsibility for the operation in the new year, after making a formal approach to council to lease the building for the purposes of delivering a full range of education and care services, including kindergarten (three and four-year-old), long day care, vacation care and before/after school care.

Glenelg Shire Mayor Cr Anita Rank said the three year tenancy agreement, which is effective from 1 January, will assist the town in accessing additional early learning programs, which council does not currently provide and are sought after by local families in the growing community.

She said the Heywood Early Learning Centre had committed to continuing an indigenous learning program, which is reflective of the Glenelg Aboriginal Partnership Agreement. This is in addition to allowing for an earlier delivery of a full 15 hours of three-year-old kindergarten, which had been scheduled for 2021, but will now be implemented a year earlier.

“Heywood Early Learning Services will deliver a full wrap-around service five days a week, responding to requests from families who want greater flexibility in programming whilst delivering greater educational opportunities for the community,” Cr Rank said.

“Ultimately, this arrangement will assist in making Heywood an even more attractive home for families as it will provide opportunity for people to be able to work and know they have access to before and after-hours care in their home town.”

The Heywood Early Learning Service has been in operation for 15 years, employing eight staff and servicing 65 families. It is envisaged that no job losses will be incurred as a result of the changes.

Owner Jorgina Sarahs said it would initially continue to operate from its current Hunter Street site in addition to using the council owned building.

“Our business is at capacity catering for 28 children five days a week and it is at a stage where it is organically ready to grow, but we don’t have the space on site to do this,” she said.

“We recognised that there was huge demand within the Heywood community to grow early learning services and sharing our skills and collaborating with council was an obvious opportunity. Our offer provides the opportunity for us all to benefit” she said.

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