Tree changers put pressure on regional areas, with increased demand for ECEC services

Tree changers put pressure on regional areas, with increased demand for ECEC services

by Freya Lucas

August 10, 2021

New South Wales-based Braidwood Preschool will expand to meet growing demand for early childhood education and care (ECEC) services in the area, which has risen in line with an increasing number of young families making the move from larger cities to more regional areas. 


The preschool, which currently accommodates 30 children, will expand to add an additional 20 places thanks to $520,000 in funding from the NSW Government. 


There is currently a waitlist of 30 children, with demand from existing families for additional days. Angela Backhouse, president of the Pre-School committee shared with local  publication Braidwood Times.


The expansion, Ms Backhouse said, has been kept in mind for some years, and has been fuelled by an increase of young families moving to, or returning to, town, marking what she described as a population shift. 


At Bungendore Preschool Director Kim Brodrick said she has turned away several eligible children because the service is “packed to capacity”.


“The situation for next year looks similar,” she told the paper. “This year, we could only accommodate 71 children and there are 130 children already on the waitlist for next year.” 


One regional success story, however, is the creation of a three year old classroom for the Queanbeyan and District Preschool Association, something which Nicky McCarthy, managing director of the association said has “great potential to help address the current significant, and growing, unmet need for preschool places in the Queanbeyan district.”


“The unmet need is also a consequence of strong growth in the Queanbeyan population over the past decade (which is projected to continue going forward), combined with historic under-investment in preschool infrastructure,” she explained. 


To read the original coverage of this story please see here