Sydney Archdiocese expands ECEC offering with affordable options
The first Catholic Early Childhood Centre catering for newborns in the Sydney Archdiocese is set to open in January 2022.
St Joseph’s Preschool and Long Day Care at Rosebery will incorporate the notion of ‘the environment as the third teacher’, and features raked ceilings, exposed timber doors and walls, and open and airy play rooms, connecting children visually and physically to the outside natural environment.
The service responds to what the diocese calls “an unprecedented demand” for care in inner Sydney, and will offer families access to faith-based, low-fee, quality care for 60 children from birth to six years of age in partnership with parishes and Catholic schools to achieve key educational milestones.
“We want every young family in the inner city to have access to high quality education and care within a beautiful catholic environment,” a spokesperson said.
Wooden toys will feature heavily in the environment, which the diocese says will be a place of both “education and evangelisation” bridging the gap between pre-school and primary while supporting families battling high cost of living pressures.
The service has been designed by award-winning architects Neeson Murcutt + Neille, and the main design features include an entry forecourt, offering communities a place to meet, and a community piazza located at the heart of the service.
Sydney Catholic Early Childhood Services CEO Franceyn O’Connor said the not-for-profit long day care option is trying to reduce the financial stress faced by families due to ‘soaring’ childcare costs.
“Financial circumstances should never be the barrier that limits access to early education,” Mrs O’Connor said. “This is why it’s vital that we create as many affordable early childcare places as possible for young families in our local parish communities.”
“We want every young family in the inner city to have access to high quality education and care within a beautiful Catholic environment,” she added.
Mrs O’Connor said that by working across the parish community, the diocese can provide “a more comprehensive early education experience, including a seamless transition into kindergarten with the foundations already in place to succeed at school.”
“The centre will promote the pastoral outreach of parish and school communities by supporting the lifelong needs of families with young children,” Sydney Archbishop Anthony Fisher OP said.
“Catholic education has achieved some extraordinary things in 200 years but we must keep pushing the boundaries and one such boundary we are crossing at last is into affordable, quality Catholic pre-school and long day care centres,” he added.
Two more centres are planned by the diocese for Caringbah and Marsfield and should be open by 2023.
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