A beautifully designed early learning centre – with indoor and outdoor playgrounds, a striking rooftop play area and interactive digital classroom technology – will be opened by the City of Sydney later this month.
The East Sydney Early Learning Centre at 277 Bourke Street, Darlinghurst, also features a new private bridge over Berwick Lane to connect it with the extensively upgraded John Birt Memorial Playground.
The centre will provide affordable care for children aged six weeks to five years and is one of three that will be completed by the City this year, creating 220 additional childcare places in inner-Sydney.
Lord Mayor Clover Moore will officially open the centre on 30 July.
The Lord Mayor said the City was committed to meeting the current and future childcare demands for the growing number of families choosing to call inner-Sydney home.
“We know there is an urgent need for childcare in our city and we’re using every lever available to increase supply,” the Lord Mayor said.
“As a result of our work over the past 12 years we have created a more liveable city and many young families are choosing to stay here, which is terrific and we know how important childcare is to those families – that’s why childcare continues to be a priority for us.
“Since June 2013, we’ve contributed to a net increase of 967 new operating places and more than 2,500 places in the development pipeline.
“This means we will meet the demand for new spaces – making the City of Sydney one of the few governments in Australia to prioritise and meet this important need. By the end of 2016, the City itself will own 27 centres, making us a significant provider of child care facilities.”
The City’s 2013 childcare needs study identified a shortfall of 3,100 places that year. That was estimated to climb to a 3,400-place gap by 2016 if action was not taken.
In response, the City committed $56.1 million for the development of new centres, with excess funds set aside for future spaces.
The East Sydney Early Learning Centre will offer 60 new childcare places for Sydney families. Two additional purpose-built centres will also be completed this year - Huntley Street Early Learning Centre at Alexandria, offering 80 places, and The Crescent Early Learning Centre at Annandale, offering 80 places. Both centres are expected to be open by September.
A fourth, The Waranara Early Education Centre at Joynton Avenue Green Square, is due for completion in the first half of 2017. It will provide 74 additional places.
The East Sydney Early Learning Centre in Darlinghurst will be run by Goodstart Early Learning, one of Australia’s largest early learning providers and not-for-profit social enterprise.
The centres will also provide affordable places to children from low-income families, and provide priority access to children with additional support needs, children from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander backgrounds and children who speak a language at home other than English.
Goodstart CEO, Julia Davison, said the new centre will give families access to high quality early learning in a state-of-the-art environment that will help develop young children’s skills and knowledge.
“We deliver nationally-recognised early learning programs, including kindergarten and preschool programs, to help prepare children for school and give them a supportive start in life,” Ms Davison said.
“Under the direction of our skilled early childhood teachers and educators, play-based learning can make an enormous difference to a child’s development.”
The City has a long-term commitment to child care, directly operating one long day care centre, one occasional care centre, two pre-schools and six out-of-school-hours care programs. The City also leases a further 17 centres to not-for-profit and commercial child care operators. By 2018, the City will own and either operate or lease 25 childcare facilities and seven out of school hours care facilities.
The public is welcome to attend the official opening of the East Sydney Early Learning Centre:
DATE: Saturday 30 July
TIME: 11am to 1pm
ADDRESS: 277 Bourke Street, Darlinghurst
For enrolments enquiries: phone 1800 222 543
For media inquiries or images, contact City of Sydney Senior Media Advisor Belinda Wallis on 0467 810 160 or firstname.lastname@example.org
For interviews with Lord Mayor Clover Moore, contact Paul Mackay on 0432 182 647 or email@example.com