Member for Cootamundra Steph Cooke has announced two preschool services in Cootamundra will receive grants to help increase the number of Aboriginal children and disadvantaged children participating in quality early childhood education in the year before school, as part of the NSW Government’s Community Grants program.

Ms Cooke said preschools including Grenfell Preschool and Harden’s Bunyip Preschool have been successful in receiving funding.

“Grants like these go a long way in communities across Cootamundra and I am so proud the NSW Government is investing in these initiatives which support our community preschools and the families that use these services,” Ms Cooke said.

“Grenfell Preschool is to receive $5854 and Bunyip Preschool will receive $4099, which will help them expand the support they give to young children and, in turn, their parents, in the Cootamundra electorate.

“The Community Grants are flexible and preschools can use the funding for specific individual needs, like transport initiatives for remote parts of the electorate, providing regular healthy breakfasts or new equipment like backpacks for children,” she added.

Bunyip Preschool Director Heather Gammon welcomed the “awesome” news and said the timing of the grant was perfect.

“I applied for a course on incorporating more Aboriginal culture and heritage into the service and it’s on next week,” she said.

“You can apply for professional development to help set Aboriginal culture up in your service, and it’s with two really well-known Aboriginal identities in Melbourne,” she added.

“With travel and the fact that the course is quite expensive, this grant will be really good.”

Director of Grenfell Preschool Sharon Grant said it was wonderful to hear of the additional support.

“We teach Aboriginal culture in the centre and this grant will help us encourage more children into the centre,” she said.

“I would never say no to a child who wanted to attend the service, I would scrimp and scrape to ensure those children could come here, so this grant will certainly help us encourage disadvantaged children to come here,” she added.

Minister for Early Childhood Education and Aboriginal Affairs Sarah Mitchell said this investment is yet another example of the NSW Liberals & Nationals Government is making early childhood education more accessible for all families across NSW.

“Children have so much to gain from participating in quality early education – so programs like this where we can make preschool services more affordable and accessible for families is a no-brainer for me,” Mrs Mitchell said.

“Since the Start Strong program was introduced by the NSW Liberals & Nationals, we have already seen average daily fees reduce by 25 per cent and participation rates increase by a huge 40 per cent, and we are committed to continuing this positive trend.”

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