Baw Baw Shire review showcases progress in early learning and outlines roadmap
An annual review of Victoria’s Baw Baw Shire Council’s Municipal Early Years Infrastructure Plan (MEYIP) has shown “vast improvements” to strategic planning and delivery of kindergarten places and early years infrastructure with a strong focus for the future.
The MEYIP extends until 2036 and outlines the recommended infrastructure requirements for three and four-year-old kindergarten, maternal and child health, long day care, family day care and community and supported playgroups; with a specific focus on the likely demand and need for kindergarten places.
“It’s absolutely fantastic that we have this action plan in place to guide our provision of kinder places for our growing community. The plan also puts us in better stead to apply for funding to other levels of government to help us deliver more early years facilities,” Early Years Advisory Committee Representative Jessica O’Donnell said.
The plan is reviewed annually to assess what has been achieved and refocus future priorities. Since the adoption of the MEYIP in February 2019, there has been several advances in Council’s provision of early years services including:
- Development of quick and convenient online kinder applications replacing hard copy forms.
- Expansion of the Early Learning Centre co-located at Drouin Primary School providing an additional kindergarten room with a capacity for an additional 22 children (new total of 88 children across the facility), which opened in early 2020.
- Construction of a brand new Early Learning Centre co-located at Warragul Primary School with a capacity for 132 children, as well as consulting spaces for maternal and child health services, which is set to open for Term 3 in 2020.
- A brand new Early Learning Centre in Trafalgar with capacity for 132 children, also set to open for Term Three in 2020.
Advocacy to other levels of government for funding support for early years also remains a continued strong focus of Council, who endorsed the 2020 annual review of the MEYIP at a meeting held earlier this month.
Aiming to build on the initial success of the plan with a focus on exploring location options for an early years’ service hub in Drouin, discussions with the Victorian Government regarding planning for new schools in the future, and planning for a new kindergarten facility in Longwarry (2023/2024) the 2020 review was welcomed by Early Years Advisory Committee Representative Mikaela Power who said “from the beginning of our Council term almost four years ago, kinder and early years services have been a priority for us all”.
Council have requested a further report regarding the implementation of funded three-year old kindergarten and its impact on next year’s 2021 annual review of the plan, as well as the Long Term Infrastructure Plan (which guides Council’s investment in major infrastructure over the next 10 years).
Find out more by downloading the full MEYIP 2020 annual review.