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Questions asked about new preschool for Bourke

General Manager of Bourke & District Children’s Services Prue Ritchie, Preschool Director Kellie Stuart and Connected Beginnings Director Tanya Mitchell are all concerned about the details of future preschool funding for Bourke. The lovely littlies are Everleigh Smith, Elliott Brown, Daisy Toombs, Indi Green and Bronte Willoughby. Photo TWH

The positive state government announcement that Bourke is amongst 100 communities to get new public preschools has raised concerns with Bourke’s early childhood educators.

The Minns government says that thousands of families across NSW will benefit from the biggest expansion of public preschools in history – including a new preschool located at the Bourke Public School.

But while Prue Ritchie, the General Manager of Bourke and District Children’s Services (BDCS) said she is excited that the government is investing in early childhood education at Bourke, she is concerned about the impact on existing local services.

“We have concerns about what the longer-term consequences of this investment for Bourke means,” Ms Ritchie said, “In Bourke, the preschool has been run by a community-based service since 1969.”

“It began as an Aboriginal-led preschool and amalgamated with the childcare centre and the mobile children’s service in 2008 to become a single organisation, as Bourke & District Children’s Services.”

Ms Ritchie said that while the organisation was keen to see more early childhood services in Bourke, the BDCS wants to ensure that the investment is what the community wants and that it addresses long term needs for children, especially vulnerable children.

“The data tells us children in Bourke are particularly vulnerable,” Ms Ritchie said. “And for decades, the people of Bourke have been pushing to get better outcomes for their children.” […]

Read more in the printed edition of The Western Herald.

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