Additional early learning services required for Keysborough by 2018
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Residents of Keysborough request that Greater Dandenong Council, deliver on the promise to establish a new maternal and child health centre and kindergarten to meet the growing needs of our community by 2018.
Prior Council commitments to our community have yet to be confirmed and delivered two years later. 23 March 2015 Council minutes pg.15963
" (e) When will the construction of the Hub be completed? It is difficult to answer this question at this point in time in the planning and consideration process without a confirmed location and building plans. It is obviously difficult to put an end date as to when the facility will be finished, ready to open and be occupied. However, Council has committed funding in its Long Term Financial Plan to work towards that in 2017/18."
Maternal and Child Health Service (MCH)
Walkability to the closest MCH centre, Keysborough Maternal Health on Cheltenham Rd is limiting our most disadvantaged residents without a car.
1) Residents in the southern area of Keysborough currently walk over 6 lanes (Dandenong Bypass) to access the closest MCH centre. Vic Roads reported in 2015 that this section of Dandenong Bypass carries over 36,000 vehicles per day.
2) The majority of residents in the southern area of Keysborough would have to walk over 2.5kilometres to access this current MCH or catch two separate buses.
3) Bus access for the most south-east corner of Keysborough is over a 600m walk which could be a struggle for a mother with a C-section.
4) The current MCH at Cheltenham Rd does not have sufficient space for parenting classes to take place so residents are asked to travel even further to other Council buildings.
To our latest knowledge, there are no vacant places available in 2017 within Keysborough for the four-year-old kindergarten. We are aware of at least a half a dozen residents sending their children to kindergarten in neighbouring suburbs.
For Prep classes the Australian Education Union (AEU) strongly recommends a maximum of 23 students. In kindergartens, the teacher-student ratio is 1:11. Some of our Keysborough kindergartens hold up to 30kindergarten students in one session. This number of children is a rather overwhelming environment for children with additional needs. While the ratio is determined by the Department of Education and Training, Council should be providing the best possible ratio to benefit our youngest residents.
Within Keysborough the 3year old kindergarten program (voluntary attendance) is full for 2017. As of 27th March 2017, the following kindergartens with 3-year-old programs had no vacancies, Keysborough Kindergarten, Bilbungra Kindergarten and Corrigan Rex. For the first time, this year Freedom Club started a 3-year-old program which is also full.
While we understand the priority within Council kindergartens is the 4-year-old kindergarten (funded 15hour program) our centres within Keysborough must have the capacity to extend the 3-year-old program to meet the population demand.
In summary, the Keysborough community has waited in limbo for 11months for the State Government budget promise of a Primary School site announcement. The community has no guaranteed funding yet of an opening date due to next year's State election. State Government politics should not delay Council's core function of delivering a new Maternal Health Centre and kindergarten for our community in 2018.
Keep in mind today's one year old (born prior to 30th April 2016) will attend four-year-old kindergarten in 2020.
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