India Barnett (2), Marco Bjork (2) and Mateo Bjork (2) join
the pre-schoolers' sing-a-long. Photo by James Beech.
"We're living the dream" is how team leader Gill Hodgson
described seeing KingsView Early Learning Centre officially
opened on Friday after 13 years of work.
"I feel today we've put our stamp on the ground to say we're
here and here for good."
The centre in Frankton welcomed its first children in early
May, after a $350,000 renovation and more than a year gaining
Its official opening was celebrated on Friday. More than 100
children, pupils, teachers, parents, board members,
supporters and guests applauded, as Deputy Prime Minister and
Clutha-Southland MP Bill English cut the ribbon.
Mr English acknowledged mention by other speakers of the
Government's support for early childhood education and said
it was important it involved the spirit he saw in KingsView.
The centre was there to support the parents, he said.
"We do have a pretty good system, where anyone who can meet
the licensing requirements can start up an early childhood
centre, which means we get all these places that reflect
their particular community, or the particular nature of the
education and care parents want, or in this case the
direction for KingsView and where they want to go," he said.
"We need to keep the system as open as possible and I will
make sure as far as I can influence it that we keep early
childhood education and care where parents can influence it."
Mr English said the Government spent about $800 million a
year on subsidies for the early childhood education system
four years ago.
Next year, it was going to be $1.3 billion as more people
used it, reflecting the commitment the community had to
Guests enjoyed afternoon tea while exploring the fully
equipped and furnished centre, which supported 24 children,
or 11 a day.
A 25th child was expected to join today.