Publication: Bendigo Advertiser
Author: Andi Yu
BENDIGO Health staff now have access to on-site childcare after a new centre opened on the Bendigo Health campus on Wednesday.
State minister for Children and Early Childhood Development, Wendy Lovell, officially opened the centre with the help of a small group of children.
Jenny’s Early Learning Centre is located on the main hospital site, where the old caretaker’s house once stood.
The heritage-listed property was incorporated into the design of the open-plan childcare centre, which was built to accommodate 104 children.
Private company Exemplar Health funded the centre’s construction – one of many additions to the new hospital.
Jenny’s Early Learning Centre executive director Ahdy Elghitany said the centre cost about $2.5 million, with half a million spent on the playground alone.
Five children had their first day at the centre on Wednesday, with more expected to start early next year.
Mr Elghitany said places at the centre were almost booked out, but it was a suitable size.
“If you were to go to Melbourne it is a very large centre. In regional Australia centres to range from 80 to 150,” Mr Elghitany said.
Jenny’s Early Learning Centre has several sections designed for different age groups.
The ratio of child to carer ranges from one to four, up to one to eleven depending on the childrens’ age.
Mr Elghitany said the deck and play area was the centre’s most unique feature and the outdoor playground design was a break with tradition.
“It’s the biggest design challenge that most centres have,” he said.
Mr Elghitany said children could play in or outdoors because of large doors opening on to the deck.