Pooncarie preschool families celebrate the reopening of local preschool
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Pooncarie preschool families celebrate the reopening of local preschool

by Freya Lucas

March 11, 2022

Families and children along the Lower Darling River near Pooncarie in Far West NSW are celebrating the reopening of their preschool after a closure period of nine years.


Lateesha Hesta, Director of Gyndarna Preschool in Dareton responded to an expression of interest for heading up Pooncarie preschool, saying she wanted to do something to help both the preschool and the town. Ms Hesta drives to Pooncarie twice a week to offer preschool sessions. 


Ten children are attending the newly reopened service which was revived after a push from local parents and the re-opening signals a new beginning for the town after its population dwindled due the Millennium drought and a dry Lower Darling River, which also led to the closure of the town’s primary school.


As the water has returned to the river the people have come with it, with rising optimism about the town’s future being spurred on by a “baby boom”. The primary school reopened three years ago, and with the reopening of the preschool things are looking up in Pooncarie. 


Speaking with the ABC, three year old Charlie Barnes and her mum and dad, Emily and Ben, said they had been “counting down the day” until it was time to go to preschool. Emily was one of the driving forces behind the re-opening, working along with other mothers from the Pooncarie Preschool Association who lobbied for the preschool’s revival.

Had the bid to reopen the preschool been unsuccessful Ms Barnes would have been facing a 230km round trip to preschool in Dareton a few days a week, something she said was no easy task when there’s work to be done on Lethero Station which the family calls home. 


To read the ABC coverage of this story please see here

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