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Getting the best start

Ballan Primary School Principal Lachlan Carlyle showed Eureka MP Michaela Settle the land where the new kinder will be located last Friday. Photo – Lachlan Ellis

By Lachlan Ellis

More young learners will have access to a quality early education in Ballan, thanks to a new kinder being built at Ballan Primary School.

As part of the $14 billion ‘Best Start, Best Life’ reforms, the State Government has made sure that every new primary school since 2021 has a kinder on-site or next door, ensuring kindergarten programs are easier to access, drop-off and pick-up times are more convenient, and children have a smoother transition to primary school.

And soon parents and students in Ballan will enjoy that same benefit, with land right next to Ballan Primary School set to have a new kinder open in early 2025.

Eureka MP Michaela Settle paid a visit to the site on Friday 25 August, speaking with Ballan Primary School Principal Lachlan Carlyle.

“The Minister for Early Childhood & Pre-Prep announced five of these new kinders this morning, it’s a commitment we made in 2021, to start establishing kinders within school precincts. It makes so much sense for those transition periods between kinder and school. As someone who’s been a parent, with the endless drop-offs, having the kinder and school right next to each other will make an enormous difference,” Ms Settle told the Moorabool News.

“I’m delighted to say that Ballan is one of the five schools that Minister Stitt announced this morning. It’ll be a three-room kinder. The final design will be worked through with Council and the school. Obviously, Ballan is a growing town, and this government has made a huge commitment to those early years.

“We know those early years make all the difference to a child’s life, so this is another step, or another building block in fact, in the Best Start, Best Life program.”

Mr Carlyle said the new kinder would be a fantastic asset for the growing Ballan community.

“The court at the end of Steiglitz Street will have an entryway to the kinder, the school, and our community facility. It’ll be a great little precinct, you could almost say,” he said.

“We are finding ourselves all of a sudden as a growing community. Our enrolments last year and this year are going steadily north, and next year we’ll be going up a class size. What we’re hearing from the community is the need for infrastructure and facilities…what a boon it is for us to be able to have another kinder facility to cater for this community, right on our doorstep.”

Mr Carlyle said having a kinder so close will allow the school to “build our practices and processes to so strongly support families along their whole education journey here in Ballan”.

“It’s a long time coming. This is my second year at the school but my understanding is this site has been spoken about for upwards of a decade, as a great place for another centre,” he said.

“This initiative wasn’t in place back then, but it is now. It just makes sense for us, and for the community.”

The new kinder will provide up to 99 places for local kids to play, explore, and learn in.

By 2041, Ballan’s population is expected to soar from its 2021 total of 3,000 people, to around 7,000 people.