Building blocks for sensory play

Somers Parade Kindergarten children Hugo, Edward and Harry, committee president Anna Martin, Early Childhood Management Services area manager Sharon Jordan and staff member Anita May celebrated the Altona childcare centre receiving a $200,000 grant through the Building Blocks grants program. (Damjan Janevski) 308658_03

The Somers Parade Kindergarten community has celebrated a positive result at the end of a year’s worth of work to secure a $200,000 grant via the state government’s Building Blocks grants program.

Early Childhood and Pre-Prep Minister Ingrid Stitt announced the grant recipients last month, with a number of centres across the state sharing in $14.7 million of funding.

“We’re committed to delivering never before seen investment in early childhood services across our state, to help our kids and their families access better quality facilities, for the best start to life,” she said.

Somers Parade Kindergarten committee member Kelly Mevel said the committee and staff members were finalising the designs for new nature-based sensory play facilities, including mud kitchens, harvest tables, native planting and nature pathways.

“At the heart of it, we wish to create an inclusive outdoor space that delights the senses and kids can entertain their imagination,” she said.

“It’s like a dream come true.

“It cements that we’re here to stay.”

Ms Mevel said the committee would aim to liaise with an Indigenous local to support the finalised designs for the upgrades.

Early Childhood Management Services [ECMS] early childhood education director Rebecca Hand said the grant was a testament to the work of the kindergarten committee over the past 12 months.

“We’re delighted Somers Parade Kindergarten has received funding to boost the learning environment for children,” she said.

“It’s a great outcome for families and the community.”

Ms Mevel said next year would be the first time in which the kindergarten would offer two longer days across the four-year old program.

Matthew Sims