No room: childcare centres full

Families looking to enrol for preschool or childcare next year are again out of luck.

All but one of the centres in Yass and Murrumbateman are full to capacity.

Murrumbateman Early Child Care Association (MECCA) said they were still taking registrations for next year but families were being warned they were unlikely to get a spot. There were already six families that could not start on the day they needed to.

Director Christine Armstead said it was unfortunate there was still a shortage of places, despite the preschool extending nine places from last year.

“We are now licensed for 35 children per day, and that’s already full,” she said.

“Anyone who is down for later in the year probably won’t get in, unfortunately.”

Priority was being given to four-year-olds preparing for school the following year, and three-year-olds were being restricted to a maximum of two days per week, in an effort to deal with the high demand.

Yass Early Child Care Association (YECCA) director Georgina Edgar said she had already completed the class lists for next year and confirmed they had a shortage of places.

Their under-four age group was currently full, and their over-fours were full apart from spaces the centre was required to keep free for vulnerable children under an agreement with the Department of Community Services.

Their highest demand came from families with children under two years.

Plans were currently underway to start an extension next year which would bolster their room number to three.

Yass Montessori Preschool is also at capacity. Director Shelly Aluwahlia said all days of the week were fully booked for next year and they were currently placing families on a waiting list.

“The response has been really good, and we’re really happy and our families are happy. It filled up really quickly, which is great for us,” she said.

She said the preschool ran under a sessional Montessori structure (rather than traditional), which meant children could attend one, two or three days a week.

This was putting a lot of children through their system each week.

Goodstart Early Learning director Denise Curtis said their facility was also at capacity, with 76 children per day booked in for next year.

“Every year is the same, so it was expected [to reach capacity],” she said.

The centre caters for babies to children aged five.

She said they were still taking registrations but families were going straight onto a “huge waiting list”.

She would be finalising the centre’s bookings by the end of November.

In fact, the only facility in Yass which still had vacancies was Country Children’s Early Learning. Operator Julia Morphett said this was because they’ve got an additional educator starting next year, and a few children moving on to kindergarten.

“We will have some vacancies … we have some full day spots available for zero to five-year-olds,” she said.

There were also still some after-school vacancies for the facility’s Yass Public and Berinba programs, but the 2013 inaugural Mount Carmel before and after-school care program was already full.

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