Aldinga Beach Children's Centre

Our new Children's Centre at Aldinga is improving the education and services available for young children and their families. On 24 February 2015 I made a speech about the centre in Parliament.

Aldinga Children's Centre Speech - 24 February 2015

Over the past 10 years, this government has had a policy to establish children's centres across our state to improve the care, education and services available to children in their early years, which we know are so important in helping children become fantastic adults in our state. Currently, over 40 children's centres have opened across South Australia, which is a magnificent achievement, and they are now a firmly entrenched part of our education, health and social services systems. 

The community in the south, in my electorate, is lucky to have one of the newest children's centres at Aldinga Beach. It is co-located with the Aldinga B-7 Primary School. While the official opening of the children's centre is some months away still, it has been operating since mid-last year. It has already provided a huge range of services and has become an essential part of this dynamic and fast-growing community. It has really become a hub and has helped develop a whole lot of other things that have happened in the community. 

The services that have been provided are many and varied and include the kindergarten, which is the centre of all the children's centres. This kindy is truly world class and has 80 students at the moment, which is up significantly from when it opened last year. It has relieved the pressure on the existing Aldinga kindergarten, which had a huge number of students—over 150—which made it one of the biggest in the state. That pressure has reduced and the services have been able to be provided at the children's centre. 

Also provided are child and family health services, including an immunisation clinic. Uniting Communities runs mental health services and youth development classes. The Salvation Army provides financial counselling. Playgroups are run from the centre. Disability support groups and occasional care are also run from the centre, as well as Autism SA workshops, grandparents carers groups and Circle of Security parenting groups. A huge range of services are run from the centre and one of the great things about it is that it works hand in hand with the primary school in delivering those services. 

I would like to pay credit to all of the staff at the children's centre for the fantastic work they have been doing, including Jane, Lauren, Tracey, Fiona, Mel, Sue, Jamie, Jules, Mea, Alex, Josh, Tara and Leigh. The director, Jane, has also had a role coordinating reception classes at the Aldinga school, and it is a sign of the close collaboration across the two sites. Of course, Aldinga primary is now one of the largest primary schools in South Australia, with over 700 students, and it growing at a very fast rate. There has been huge growth in the last few years alone. 

Yesterday, I was lucky enough to be at both sites for the Aldinga Family Fun Day, which is jointly held by the Children's Centre, the school, Anglicare, the ANZ Bank, Onkaparinga Children's Services, and supported by other great organisations including OZ Harvest, Aldinga CFS, Parenting Playground, Aldinga Cricket Club, and others. I was delighted that the Premier and the Minister for Education were able to come along as part of the southern metropolitan cabinet meeting, visit the family fun day and meet lots of the parents, students, and other workers taking part in the family fun day. 

I think I can speak on their behalf and say they were very impressed with the services the Children's Centre provided, as well as the school. The minister was able to have a tour of the school site and see some of the fantastic things happening there, including the Stephanie Alexander kitchen garden scheme and the literacy programs. I would like to thank the principal, Lyn Langeluddecke, and the chair of the governing council, Jess Sweet, for their hospitality and the great work they do at the school. 

Aldinga is a very fast-growing area and, as most people would know, it is an area where lots of new families or soon-to-be families are buying houses and having children grow up there. Over the coming years, we are going to see more and more demand for education and children's services in the area, and that is going to mean that there will be more demand on kindy places, on school places and on high school places. 

Of course, Aldinga does not have a high school of its own at the moment; its students have to graduate from Aldinga primary and go across to Willunga High School for their continuing higher education. So, one thing I will certainly be advocating for as long as I am in this place is that we make sure that the supply of education services and the number of places that are available for our children in the local area keep up with the growth in families and the growth in the number of children.

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