YEARS before picking up a textbook, 55 of Inverell’s youngest students can look forward to extra-credit in their first years of school, thanks to a $294,000 NSW Government grant to expand Jack and Jill Preschool.
“Our waiting list at Jack and Jill Preschool has consistently been at 40 students, showing that there is a significant need for places in Inverell,” Inverell District Family Services CEO Nicky Lavender said.
Ms Lavender said the town’s preschools were all approaching capacity, indicating a serious need for greater capacity in town.
The grant will allow Jack and Jill to expand its education space into an existing toy library to cater for another 11 students. This will increase the overall capacity to 40 students a day, Monday-Friday.
“This will create an extra 55 student places over the course of each week in Inverell, which is just what the community needs as it continues to grow,” member for Northern Tablelands Adam Marshall said at the announcement.
He said the grant would slash a growing waitlist for early childhood education in the district, and was pleased the expansion would also trigger the employment of two additional full-time staff at the preschool.
“Research shows that good early childhood education is a major contributor to children’s success at school – building essential social skills, cognitive abilities and capacity to learn,” Mr Marshall said.
“Jack and Jill Preschool has seen a full waitlist since February this year, with parents forced to wait an average of six months to find a spot for their young ones. The decision to have a child is already difficult enough, and this funding will make it a little easier.”
“Our main focus is providing early childhood education, as we know the many benefits it provides to the growing mind,” Ms Lavender said.
“Being able to fulfil the needs of the children and families is why we exist and this increase in spaces will help us meet our region’s demand.”