September 26, 2008

Arrowtown Preschool Seeks QLDC Loan Guarantee

By FEA, Sue in Queenstown

A NEW childcare centre planned for Arrowtown might ease the backlog of more than 100 Arrowtown children waiting for a spot in child learning and care centres.

The Queenstown Lakes District Council on Friday will consider a request from the Arrowtown Community Preschool to guarantee a $20,000 bank loan for its $733,000 childcare project.

The preschool committee is applying to the Education Ministry next month for a discretionary funding grant to build a new community-based early childhood education centre on a site next to Arrowtown Primary School.

The new centre would cater for 30 under 3s and be run under the existing preschool management and cater for children under 3 years, where the demand was greatest, head teacher Jane Foster said yesterday.

As part of its needs analysis the preschool had identified more than 100 children in the Arrowtown community whose parents were seeking early childhood education and for whom there was no space available.

Desperate parents were ringing in wanting to book their under 3s into the preschool, which catered for only two sessions of 30 over 3s, with at least 70 on the waiting list, Mrs Foster said.

One woman, who was pregnant, even rang to book her child into the preschool for three years out.

The preschool alone had 16 under 1s, 28 children aged from 1 to 2 years, 25 aged from 2 to 3 years and 15 over 3s on its waiting list.

The preschool had already raised $20,000 towards the project.

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