DRUMMOND PARK PRESCHOOL TO GET AN INDIGENOUS GARDEN MAKEOVER

DRUMMOND PARK PRESCHOOL TO GET AN INDIGENOUS GARDEN MAKEOVER

Northern Tablelands MP Adam Marshall, centre with Drummond Preschool students, Jack Marshall, left, Maximo Brown, Pippa Riggall, Zara Hobbs, Liam Flanagan, Adam, Molly Morgan, Addison Harvey, Bronte Polson and Kara Clark.

Wednesday, 15 August 2018

NORTHERN Tablelands MP Adam Marshall says a grant of just under $15,000 will give Armidale’s Drummond Park Preschool the practical financial tools to complete a garden makeover to enhance the physical learning environment for little kids.

Mr Marshall said Drummond Park Preschool was one of 12 preschools to share in almost $143,000 allocated in this round for Northern Tablelands under the NSW Government’s Quality Learning Environments fund.

The grant will allow for an upgrade to the front garden at the preschool with an Aboriginal-inspired theme and build on the work undertaken with the garden last year which included an aboriginal mural.

Mr Marshall said the project would do away with an area now that is not very accessible or reliable as a safe play space for children.

“The front area is currently uneven and sloping, and is too damp and shady to be used for much of the year and in wet weather,” Mr Marshall said.

“The design of the meal area will combat these issues and will provide a place which reflects and respects the diversity of the Aboriginal culture.”

Preschool director Jo McDermott described the funding as wonderful news which would provide a functional outdoor eating area, deck, additional rock garden and native plantings of edible foods.

Mrs McDermott said the preschool catered for 18 children each day with a staff of five and has been operating since 1971.

“The Aboriginal-inspired front garden upgrade will be an invaluable resource for educators and children at the preschool,” Mrs McDermott said.

“It will provide a completely new, functional and safe area for children to learn, eat and interact and the new granite surface will not only be culturally inspired but also improve practices for hygiene and cleaning.

“The upgrade to the front garden will provide children at the preschool with a new culturally themed, safe and practical meal area which can be used more often.

“And the new deck will provide unlimited opportunities for group activity, music, drama, culturally inspired activities and physical exercise. The utility of the area makes it an exciting space for children. It will be culturally themed and even with the absence of playground equipment, will offer so many options for children to immerse themselves in the natural environment and play in unstructured ways.”

Mr Marshall said the front garden makeover would be a complete contrast to the back garden environment and this contrast would provide enhanced learning opportunities for the children.

“It will provide an inspired, respectful, functional and purposefully constructed setting in which to learn about and connect with Aboriginal culture,” he said.

“This will present opportunities for the preschool to interact with the Aboriginal community, parents and the wider community in building, maintaining, decorating and using the area.

“Preschools in my electorate are showing an ongoing commitment to ensuring our children have access to top quality early childhood education, which, as the local member, makes me extremely proud.”

“Not only will this funding improve the quality of the learning environment for children but parents can also rest assured that their children are having the best start to their educational journeys as possible.”

The preschool is waiting on news for an additional grant they’d applied for from Crown Lands to undertake some work for some critical waste drainage issues paving the way for new works for bathroom facilities and a new office area.

The front garden works will then follow on from those, and are hoped to be completed before the end of the year.

The Quality Learning Environments program was introduced in 2018 and is part of the NSW Government’s $332 million Start Strong Program which was introduced in 2016 and has been extended to 2021.

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