Provider working to solve Charleville’s childcare woes
IT IS all hands on deck at the Charleville Early Learning Centre, where the staff at every level are working hard to make space for a sudden influx of extra children.
The unexpected closure of Sam’s Place daycare – one of the few childcare centres in town – this week has left parents without an option for their kids, and the remaining providers scrambling to find a solution for them.
Pauline Newton, children's services manager at FGP Moreton, the charity which runs the Charleville Early Learning Centre, told the Western Times they are looking at every way they can help local families.
“We are now full, and have included families who have put their enrolment forms in, so a number of those families do have places at the centre,” she said.
“But we couldn’t accommodate everybody, so we are currently at capacity, however we are working very hard along with the Department of Education and the Office of Early Childhood to find solutions to increase our capacity as quickly as we can.”
The Charleville ELC had finished renovations in early January in preparation for the new year, and the closure of Sam’s Place caught them off guard as much as it did for parents.
Now, the centre is looking to convert some outdoor areas in to enclosed classrooms in order to take more children.
“We have a number of options, and the first one is to enclose some of our verandas; by enclosing them to make classrooms it will increase our capacity to fit children in,” Ms Newton said.
“We have been exploring lots of different options, but not all have come to fruition … we are doing what we can at our service.
“We are already advertising for more childcare educators, are interviewing, and have already put on at least one new staff member this week.
“From our p[perspective, this is very sudden for us too – we have only just heard about it this week as well, it has caught us quite unprepared, but we are working as quickly as we can.”
The ELC is not in it alone, however – multiple levels of government have also been involved in the effort to find solutions.
“We understand that parents desperately need childcare, and we have been working with David Littleproud’s office, and he has been a great help, as has Mayor Annie Liston” Ms Newton said.
“The more people you can have working together, the better the outcomes are for everybody; if all government bodies and organisations can come together to find a solution that works for everybody, then we will be happy.”
A date for when more places will open up at the Charleville ELC has not yet been confirmed, but they are looking to find a permanent solution by January 28.