Upgrade ‘a win for students’ at Kennington Preschool

A $400,000 upgrade at Kennington Preschool will improve students’ education, according to teachers and politicians at last week’s official opening. 

Sally Long has taught at the school for 19 years, most of which were at the old facility at Bendigo Airport. 

She said the upgrades were long overdue and would be great for students. 

“The airport was a temporary facility for 26 years,” she said. “We were fighting with closure the whole time. 

“The numbers were up and down and we had to keep our name out there and make people know we were here.”

After a lengthy battle, the Kennington Preschool was upgraded to accommodate students from the airport.

“Early education is extremely important,” Ms Long said. “Kindergarten is the formative years of a child where they develop and begin their educational journey. 

“It’s their first steps to more formal learning and helps to determine how confident they’ll be.” 

The school’s capacity increased from 74 to 122 under the expansion, funded by the state and local governments and three local preschool associations and committees. 

“(The expansion) enables the airport kindergarten to merge with Kennington and it gives enough places for them to deliver three 15-hour programs for four-year-olds,” Minister for Children and Early Childhood Development Wendy Lovell said.

“We know that 95 per cent of a child’s brain development happens in their first five years of life.

“So early childhood education is vitally important.”

Ms Edwards said she considered her son one of the “lucky ones” because he had received specialised education for part of his schooling.

But even this was only up to a certain year level, she said. “After that, they were on their own.”

The event was one of a series of forums to be held across the state over the next year.

“This is about listening to people: to the parents of children living with learning disabilities, to the educators, and the students themselves,” Ms Edwards said.

“We’re here to listen to what they have to say about how the system is run, how it can be improved and how we can better help kids with learning disabilities.”

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