Mt Gambier services continue to express concerns with growing waiting lists

Mt Gambier services continue to express concerns with growing waiting lists

by Freya Lucas

May 23, 2022

Educators from Carma Playhouse in Mount Gambier, in the South East of South Australia have spoken out about the growing pressure on families in the region for access to early childhood education and care (ECEC) in the region.


Speaking with local publication The Border Watch, Carma Director Carolyn Rolley said the issues with extensive waiting lists are common across the South East region with an average waiting time between 12 to 18 months for families.


As a result of the challenges Ms Rolley said that parents are feeling compelled to take any available spots even if the hours and days don’t suit.


“At the moment there seems to be no place anywhere for people to send their kids and the pressure can be relieved depending on which centre the parents choose,” she told the paper. 


With a number of families on the waiting list, Ms Rolley said priority was given to families who already had children enrolled in the centre.


“Families are growing in size and so when we make connections with families we then try and make a spot available for their siblings because we know the families will need the place.”


She said long waiting times was mostly due to a large number of young families in the area which had contributed to the pressure on availability.


To help alleviate this pressure, Ms Rolley suggested more community-based centres could be built within the region to help open up spaces for families.


Families contacting the centre, she continued, are often disappointed to learn about the length of the waiting list. 


“It can be very disappointing telling families we do not have space for them here at the centre and when we do tell them we can hear the stress and disappointment in their voices,” she said. 


To access the original coverage of this story, please see here.