Outdoor fun for all

Northern Bay College Family Centre children are enjoying a redeveloped play garden, thanks to support from Ardoch Youth Foundation and the Bank of Melbourne Neighbourhood Funding Grant program.

Centre manager Helen O’Connor said Ardoch applied to the Bank of Melbourne program on behalf of the centre for funding for the project. She said the new play area is proving popular with the children who access programs at the centre.

“The space is important in developing the children’s imagination and they are really enjoying it,” she said. “We expect it to be even more popular as the weather improves.”

Helen said the play garden is important in developing pathways to the kindergarten which is next door and also on the Northern Bay College site, as well as encouraging kindergarten families to access the family centre.

The play garden will be officially launched during Children’s Week, with a special function on Friday, October 27 from 10am until 1pm.

Special books for families

The Smith Family has lead the way in providing specialised reading books for some of the area’s youngest students and their families.

The Smith Family’s ‘Let’s Read Program’ supports reading for pre-school children. Geelong Dimmicks Charitable Trust donated $1000 toward the Let’s Read program, which helped Northern Bay Family Centre and Early Learning Centre purchase special dual language books because of the growing number of non-English speaking families in the 3214 community.

As part of a program to provide reading material to the school, the Lions Club of Corio Norlane provided a similar amount to make sure that Prep children at the college could have dual language books too.

The wonderful stories are in English and also in another native language so that parents and child can read together. A library will be created at the Centre where kinder groups can come and do reading and where families can borrow the books and enjoy reading them together at home.

Exciting changes for families

The early years hub at Northern Bay College has undergone some exciting changes in recent months with a new name and new staff committed to support the school’s vision for a ‘cradle to career’ approach to education.

The newly-named Northern Bay Early Learning and Care Centre was originally an incorporated body on the school site. The school took on responsibility for the operations of the centre in May to further promote community inclusion and support for families.

The childcare centre and kindergarten offers a funded four-year-old kindergarten program and childcare for children from six weeks to five years old, for anyone in the community. Half and full day childcare places are available at competitive rates.

Among the new, friendly staff who arrived with the changes are director Narelle Langenberg and kindergarten teacher Vivian Kilpatrick.

Next door, the Northern Bay Family Centre continues to support families from pregnancy to five-year-olds with playgroups, parent support programs and drop-in activities. The family centre receives sponsorship from Barwon Child Youth and Family.

Family Centre co-ordinator Helen O’Connor said the changes have been positive for families in the area and fit with the College aim to promote a planned, seamless and integrated path of education, care and support for children and families from birth and kindergarten through to Year 12 and beyond.

Also based at the centre is Jo Ridgeway, who works with families in the Supporting Parents’ Access to Childcare and Education (SPACE) to help them engage with education and employment.

Families are welcome to call in any day to see the facilities and programs at work.

An Open Day will be held on October 27 from 10am until 1pm to showcase the programs, facilities and staff. There will be a range of activities and all families are invited to participate.