New Childcare Centre to Open in Kununurra

Published on Monday, 25 March 2024 at 9:00:00 AM

The Wunan Foundation and One Tree Community Services won a bid to establish an Early Learning Centre in Kununurra. Dubbed the Pindan Early Education and Care Centre, it will aim to eventually accommodate up to 38 children meeting the community’s demand for quality childcare.

Wunan, as the lead organisation, secured the funding under the Community Childcare Fund Restricted (CCCFR) Expansion (Closing the Gap) program initiated by the Department of Education, Skills and Employment, and are expecting to open the doors later this year following seven weeks of refurbishments. The MG Building Company, owners of the site, have been contracted for construction.  

“We are incredibly excited to deliver such a critical community resource alongside One Tree, who have been exceptional partners throughout this process,” said Prue Jenkins, Chief Executive Officer of Wunan. “This initiative is going to provide some much-needed relief for parents in the East Kimberley and a safe place for children in need. By providing access to childcare, we aim to address workforce shortages and encourage essential workers to stay in Kununurra. Without adequate childcare options, these professionals might be compelled to relocate to areas with better childcare facilities, leaving gaps in essential services in Kununurra.”

Priority places will be reserved for children in the most disadvantaged circumstances, to ensure price doesn’t become a barrier for those families who can’t afford childcare services. Community-led organisations (like Wunan) are much more likely to get Aboriginal families through the door, because parents are more likely to trust the staff.  “Traineeships are key to the success of this program. Offering free accredited training in early education and care, provided in a culturally safe way, will support the employment of many local staff. One Tree will provide this training face to face through our Registered Training Organisation (RTO),” said One Tree’s Executive Manager, Claire McManus. “A local mentor will provide additional support and guidance, offering our trainees the highest level of support and chances of success.”

Additionally, the new early education service will also incorporate language education through a partnership with Mirima Dawang Woorlab-gerring Language and Culture Centre (MDWg). Wunan Foundation will contribute $50,000 over two years to support the development and delivery of language sessions at the facility, as part of the Miriwoong Early Learning Language Capacity Development (MELCD) project.

“Wunan and One Tree are committed to delivering high-quality childcare services that meet the needs of the community”, added Ms Jenkins. “By combining our expertise and resources, we aim to break down barriers to early childhood education and provide a culturally safe play and learning environment for the children. We want to ensure all children, especially Aboriginal children who often reside remotely, have access to culturally appropriate services. It’s crucial to recruit and train local individuals to meet this need.”

Recruitment has begun, with a local Mentor, Community Liaison Officer and local trainees already working. As the building progresses and office space is established further members of the team will be employed.

The establishment of the Pindan Childcare Centre represents a significant milestone for the East Kimberley in the regions ongoing efforts to provide equitable and affordable access to childcare services for all families.


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