MORE than 60 children have embarked on their educational journey at the newly opened $2.4 million Wallan East Family and Children’s Centre.
The centre, which was funded jointly by the State Government and Mitchell Shire Council, was officially opened by Member for Yan Yean Danielle Green and Mayor Rhonda Sanderson this month.
The facility includes a kindergarten operated by Kids First, as well as council-operated maternal and child health and immunisation services.
Kids First has 22 children in three-year-old kinder and 44 children in four-year-old kinder enrolled at the centre this year.
With the capacity to accommodate nearly 200 children and the rollout of funded three-year-old kinder from 2022, the centre will aim to have 99 children enrolled in three-year-old kinder who will move into the four-year-old kinder program the following year.
Cr Sanderson said the centre would help bind the Wallan East community together.
“I’m sure the many young families in Wallan East will appreciate being able to access early years services so close to home,” she said.
“This new centre will play a key role in servicing the immediate needs of the growing local community by offering local, accessible maternal and child health and early learning services.
“With our kinders in Wallan already nearing capacity and the projected population of three and four-year-olds expected to grow by 161 per cent in the next 20 years, it’s vital we work with our partners to invest in early education infrastructure now.
“I’d like to sincerely thank the State Government, especially our local members Jaclyn Symes and Danielle Green. We simply couldn’t fund a centre of this scale on our own at this stage in our population growth cycle.”
The population of three and four-year-olds living in Wallan is projected to grow by 161 per cent in the next 20 years, from 584 in 2021 to 1522 in 2041.
Maternal and child health appointments will be available on Mondays and Thursdays at the centre, with plans to offer immunisations in the future.
First-time parent groups, young parent groups and supported playgroups will also be at the centre, along with breastfeeding clinics and health promotion sessions.
The centre was built with $2.3 million from the State Government’s Growing Suburbs Fund and a council contribution of $164,000.
This facility is a relocatable building, the first of its kind in Mitchell Shire.
The centre was delivered by developer Newbridge Estate and Resimax Group, who fast-tracked the delivery of community land for the project.