Thursday, February 2, 2023
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Department of Education announces closure of South Coast daycare centre, impacting 60 kids

Parents with children at a South Coast daycare have been given a month to find a new service after the Department of Education announced it would not renew the lease on the site.

The site of Milton’s Big Fat Smile center will be used for a new special education school.

The development application for construction was submitted to Shoalhaven Council in December.

It has yet to be approved.

Marc Donnelley, whose daughter Aria is in her senior year at the center, says there is frustration and fear among parents.

“My daughter is in her senior year of early childhood education and this should be the year she solidifies all of her learning goals and prepares for big school,” said Mr. Donnelly.

“In four weeks she will be locked out of the place she loves. She will likely be separated from most of her friends and we are expected to cover and sort that out.”

Marc Donnelly says his daughter Aria is now heading into a potentially tumultuous senior year of early childhood education.(Supplied: Marc Donnelly)

Phil McDonald, the CEO of surf brand Ocean and Earth, started his child at the center two and a half months ago, but was not told about the closure.

“We had others [childcare] spots available, which we gave up going to this one,” he said.

“If we can’t find another place, we’ll have to come over for a day or two and pick up a sitter.”

Mr McDonald has called for the DA process to be halted for three to six months.

A bearded man with graying hair stands smiling in a garden.
Phil McDonald was not briefed on the center’s future when he sent his child there this year.(Supplied: Phil McDonald)

Big Fat Smile chief executive Kim Bertino said the center was notified last week that it would not be able to stay at the site.

“We tried to work on a temporary location where the center is at the moment,” she said.

“With the department, it has not been possible to stay on that site and there is no option to renew.”

‘Totally unacceptable’

The Liberal candidate for Gilmore, Luke Sikora, criticized the Department of Education’s decision.

“I share their frustration and disappointment with the ministry’s decision,” he said after speaking to parents today.

“We have a DA for a new childcare location, meters away from this one and I’m calling on the council to expedite that approval.”

He said he was working with other childcare services to address the matter.

“We are looking at ways to increase childcare capacity in the area and we have received expressions of interest from centers willing to do so,” said Mr Sikora.

See also  बच्चों से पूछे सवाल, अम्बेडकरनगर में शिक्षा और वैज्ञानिक सोच को बढ़ावा देना उद्देश्य | Questions asked to children, aim to promote education and scientific thinking in Ambedkar Nagar


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