Daylesford Community Childcare Centre has purchased a bus which will make childcare more accessible to people across the shire, while also assisting with getting the children out of the confines of the centre and into the great outdoors.
Coordinator at Daylesford Community Childcare Centre, Kylie Mookhoek, said the bus, which was designed by the kinder children, was purchased through the state government’s community support fund and meant the centre could increase its capacity.
“There are not many transport options around here, particularly for families who don’t drive. So we are hoping the bus will increase our capacity to offer access to early childhood education for families who can’t currently access it,” she said.
The centre offers three and four year old kinder, long day care, family day care and after school care.
Ms Mookhoek said the bus has already helped with the logistics of running the after school care program as it allowed her to pick up students from different schools and drive them to the after school care facility.
“We are a community organisation so we are managed by a group of parents. It’s a pretty big deal that we had enough money to buy a bus and we are really excited.”
She said one thing she and the other facilitators were particularly pleased about was the newfound ease in taking the children exploring.
“We are so excited to get out of our walls a bit more and explore the world. We go out to bush kinder at Bullarto and on excursions, but this really opens the door a bit more and makes it easier for us to get out into the community,” she said.
“This will particularly help us with taking the younger children out and giving them access to open landscapes and natural settings.”
She said the cost of hiring a bus in the past meant saving for months for one excursion, but the accessibility of having their own on hand meant more flexibility.
“When the children go out, their shoulders drop and they just feel free – there are no fences and lots of climbing, fungi and wombat holes to monitor. It’s really about focusing on that connection with nature.”
She said unstructured learning was vital.
“That connection is so important for not only stress levels, but for positive childhood development. Essentially when you take away all the structured things we put in place as adults, children appreciate what’s around them and make their own fun,” she said.
“When there is no burden of time, they can just be, and that is so important. We are trying to create global citizens – encourage children to be part of their world – and this should not be confined to a fence line.”