All smiles at Jack and Jill Preschool, following Member for Northern Tablelands Adam Marshall’s announcement of $294,000 to expand learning space. Back row, left, BEST Employment’s Katrina Garret, IDFS CEO Nicky Lavender, Inverell Shire Councillor Paul King, Local MP Adam Marshall and Jack and Jill Employee Jordan Morrow. Adults in front, Bec Moffitt, Sharon Staader and James Curtis.

Tuesday, 5 December 2017

YEARS before picking up a textbook, another 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 access to early childhood education in the town.

Member for Northern Tablelands Adam Marshall today announced the funding for Jack and Jill Preschool with local students, teachers and parents, saying that it would slash a growing waitlist for early childhood education in the district.

“This grant will allow Jack and Jill Preschool to expand its education space into an existing ‘toy library’ to cater for another 11 students, increasing the overall capacity to 40 students every day, Monday to Friday each week.

“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. This expansion will also trigger the employment of two additional full-time staff at the preschool, which is great news.

“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.”

Inverell District Family Services CEO Nicky Lavender said Inverell’s preschools were all approaching capacity, indicating a serious need for greater capacity in town.

“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,” Ms Lavender said.

“Our main focus is providing early childhood education, as we know the many benefits it provides to the growing mind. 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.”