Mitchell Shire Mayor Rhonda Sanderson, left, and Member for Northern Victoria Jaclyn Symes inspect works underway at Wandong Kindergarten last week.

Work is starting on upgrades to Marie Williams Kilmore Family and Children’s Centre and Wandong Kindergarten.

Member for Northern Victoria Jaclyn Symes and Mitchell Shire Mayor Rhonda Sanderson turned the first sod on the upgrades, totalling $3.4 million, on Thursday, which will increase capacity at the kindergartens and improve both early childhood facilities. 

The Kilmore Family and Children’s Centre is set for a $2,968,000 expansion, which will double existing kindergarten capacity to support the commencement of funded three-year-old kindergarten and create an inclusive integrated centre for the community.

The existing kindergarten and maternal and child health facilities will be integrated into a single cohesive facility, with two new rooms and a small expansion of one existing room providing an additional 58 kindergarten places. Without the upgrade, an estimated 100 children would be unable to access early learning opportunities in Kilmore by 2024.

The maternal and child health suites upgrade will include new gathering and waiting spaces.

The Kilmore upgrade has been jointly funded from the State Government’s Building Blocks program and Growing Suburbs Fund. 

The $498,000 Wandong upgrade will prepare for the roll-out of subsidised three-year-old kindergarten, starting in 2022. The project will also deliver a multipurpose space for the community and health services.

When complete, the Wandong centre will be able to accommodate almost 100 kindergarten children, an increase of 20, with upgrades to the maternal and child health space enabling an extra day of kindergarten timetabling each week.

Ms Symes said creating more places for children to attend kindergarten and access to the best facilities was vital to ensuring a world-class education in the early years.

“I’m delighted work is getting underway on both of these kinders and our Kilmore and Wandong families are a step closer to getting fantastic upgraded early learning facilities,” she said.

Cr Sanderson said as well as meeting the increased capacity for three-year-old kindergarten, the project was also a welcome stimulus for the economy.

“We want to do everything we can to give children in Mitchell a good foundation for ongoing learning and development. Mitchell Shire’s current population of three and four-year-olds is expected to nearly double by 2030. It’s vital we work with our partners to invest in early education infrastructure now,” she said.