Pahiatua Kindergarten is to close its doors at the end of 2015. Ruahine Kindergarten Association will be relicensing the Tyndall Street premises as a community based Early Learning Centre, opening in the new year to cater for children from birth to five years.
Ruahine Kindergarten Association (RKA) has spent considerable time assessing ways that they can sustain their commitment to the Pahiatua community, whose population is declining. From the start of term one in 2016, RKA will provide the Pahiatua Early Learning Centre and continue to operate Holyoake Kindergarten.
The Early Learning Centre will operate Monday to Friday, 8am-5pm, and provide places for children aged 0-5 years. Parents will still have access to up to 30 hours free, if their entire ECE subsidy is used at the centre. As a community based facility, they can also still be actively involved in their child’s education.
The Ministry of Education’s early childhood education curriculum, Te Wh?riki, will be at the core of the Early Learning Centre’s teaching and learning. RKA will appoint a new team of teachers and a centre manager. At least 80% of the teachers will be fully qualified and registered, with all staff provided with continuous professional development through the association’s programmes.
Refurbishment of the facility will start immediately following Pahiatua Kindergarten’s official closing on 18 December 2015. Purpose-built, the Early Learning Centre will include a sleeping room with cots and bedding, and age appropriate toys and learning resources.
The Pahiatua Kindergarten community have been fundraising for a new outdoor environment. These funds will be transferred to the new facility with plans changed to accommodate the new age group. Bi-culturalism, environmentally-friendly and sustainability practices will continue to be the norm.
“Pahiatua is a special place, with many farming, commuting and working families”, says RKA’s General Manager, Alison Rudzki. “Providing both a kindergarten and an early learning centre means we can offer more choice and flexibility in quality early childhood education”.
The Early Learning Centre will be open all year, closing only for the statutory holidays and days between Christmas and New Year.
Pahiatua Kindergarten is one of two kindergartens in Pahiatua. The other, Holyoake Kindergarten, is not affected by the change. Kindergarten parents can keep their child’s attendance the same, extend the hours with the Early Learning Centre, or if they wish to transfer their child to Holyoake, RKA will do their best to accommodate requests.
The association has 23 other kindergartens in the wider Manawatu, Rangitikei, Linton, Pahiatua and Foxton areas and will investigate redeployment opportunities for Pahiatua Kindergarten’s three teachers, whose positions have been disestablished.
A letter to the Pahiatua Kindergarten community was sent out prior to this release being made public.