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IN just three short years Yar-
ram’s Early Learning Centre is
thriving with the service now
providing employment for 35
That compares with a staff of just 10
when it first opened in 2015. It has grown
so much the service is just keeping up
Tomorrow (Thursday) the centre
marks its third birthday which is a cause
Back in 2006, support was growing
in Yarram for the establishment of a dedi-
cated child care centre in the town.
At the time, project committee mem-
ber Alison Payne said “there was still a lot
of work to be done before the first ball of
playdough is squished by childcare centre
Twelve years later, on July 13, 2015,
the Yarram Early Learning Centre in the
newly built Yarram Hub was opened.
Centre director Lynne Heron said the
centre was borne out of the community’s
needs and continues to develop with these
needs in mind.
“We opened in 2015 with kinder-
garten and limited long day care, which
very quickly exploded into a need for a
lot more long day care places than we ex-
pected,” she said.
Ms Heron said the rapid expansion of
the service was quite challenging, particu-
larly due to a lack of educators in the area.
“There weren’t many experienced
staff in the area because it had never been
needed here, so quite a few of our staff
had to travel,” she said.
“Keeping up with the demand for long
day care has been challenging the whole
way through. Now we have reached ca-
pacity and have a waiting list.”
When the centre first opened, it was
catering for up to 72 children a day.
The before and after school care com-
ponent of the service was moved to Yar-
ram Primary School, so the centre can
now cater for 105 children a day.
“We have been able to up our numbers,
but we are still full,” Ms Heron said.
“There are some vacancies in before
and after school care.”
Ms Heron said the uptake of the ser-
vice by the community was unexpected.
“I think people are still surprised there
are so many people in the Yarram area
that need care,” she said.
“All of the parents of children in long
day care work. It can be challenging for
young families, where mum and dad both
have to work.”
Ms Heron said in its three years of op-
eration, one of the centre’s strengths has
been its ability to attract high quality staff
to the service.
“Our kindergarten teacher Jo Nunn
is highly regarded in the early childhood
field,” she said.
Ms Heron said as the centre was still
young, it was financially vulnerable, but
expected that to stabilise over the next
“We want to continue to meet the
needs of the community. It is really im-
portant the service reflects what Yarram
wants and at this stage, that is long day
care,” she said.
“Our highest area of growth is for
children aged two to three, so we want to
keep meeting those needs.”
Ms Heron said the committee will
continue to look for ways to expand the
Wellington Shire Council has sup-
ported the Yarram Early Learning Centre
during its first three years of operation.
“Council is pleased to see the centre
performing so well. We acknowledge the
staff and committee of management for
their dedication and hard work,” mayor
Cr Carolyn Crossley said.
CHILD CARE BOOM
Happy birthday: from left, Yarram Early Learning Centre staff and stu-
dents Cooper, Dulcie Barlow, Daphne, Nala, Brianna Blunden, Isobel,
Noah, Camden, front, Austin, back, Lauren Mason, Freya and Jaycee are
excited to celebrate the centre’s third birthday tomorrow (Thursday).
BOTH Yarram and Woodside hosted their NAIDOC games last Saturday to mark the start of NAIDOC week, which high-
lights Aboriginal culture. See stories on pages 14 and 15.
(ABOVE) Netball: at the Woodside NAIDOC celebrations the first netball best on ground was awarded in the 15 and Under to Wood-
side’s Bethany Jones with all members of both teams joining together to celebrate NAIDOC and this year’s theme, Aboriginal women
(RIGHT) Culture: Wulgunggo Ngalu Learning Place dancers perform on the Woodside oval at half time of the senior match. The dancers
performed three dances which depicted their culture and that of Wulgunnggo Ngalu Learning Place which means bring together. Pictured
is Wulgunggo Ngalu staff member Gary Jones and his sons Cooper and Bailey.
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