Kidsfirst Glacier Country, South Westland’s first-ever early learning centre, will fill a big gap for working parents and those who are busy in other ways.
OUR TOP STORIES:
The purpose-built centre opened on the Franz Josef School site in time for the start of Term Three, and is the first dedicated education facility in the region for those under the age of five.
Kidsfirst Kindergartens Chief Executive Sherryll Wilson says the organisation knows that the new early learning centre couldn’t have come soon enough.
“Business leaders tell us they are looking forward to being able to attract more staff to the region, now there is a year-round, reliable early childhood education facility in the town,” says Ms Wilson. “There has been a real gap in this area, and we are delighted to be able to fill it.”
ABOVE: West Coast-Tasman MP Damien O'Connor, Kidsfirst Board Chair Carolyne Grant, Makaawhio upoko Richard Wallace and Kidsfirst Chief Executive Sherryll Wilson.
As a not-for-profit organisation, Kidsfirst often finds itself filling gaps that others are unable to – or won’t.
“While we need to remain financially sustainable and make sensible business decisions, we are not driven by the need to return a profit to shareholders. Our shareholders are the communities and families we serve, and any surplus we make goes back into services to benefit them.”
The centre’s extended hours and flexibility in taking both permanent and casual enrolments will be of particular benefit in a town with such a high visitor rate and large numbers of seasonal, casual workers.
“The versatility of Kidsfirst Glacier Country means that parents visiting the area can enrol children for our unique educational experience, whilst themselves enjoying all that Franz Josef has to offer,” says Ms Wilson.
Craig Rankin, Chairman of the Franz Josef Business Development Society Incorporated, can see the benefits of the early learning centre for Franz Josef already.
Franz Josef Business Development Society Incorporated have been involved with this project from the start, kicking it off after discussions with the community. They liaise with the local community council and the City Council.
“The tourism industry brings many young families to Franz Josef, and often they would leave after having children because there was no professional early childhood centre available. Kidsfirst Glacier Country brings not only a reputable organisation in to provide a higher level of early childhood education, it has also been designed with a real understanding of the unique needs of South Westland,” Mr. Rankin says.
“The centre also provides full time work for local people – those who got behind the facility four years ago, and have seen it through to its completion. Kidsfirst Glacier Country is a fantastic asset and we can’t wait to see what will happen in Franz Josef because of it.”
KIDSFIRST KINDERGARTENS ARE A NOT FOR PROFIT ASSOCIATION THAT HAS DEVELOPED AND MAINTAINED KINDERGARTENS IN CHRISTCHURCH, CANTERBURY AND ON THE WEST COAST FOR OVER 100 YEARS - AS THE PLACE LOCAL KIDS COME TO LEARN, PLAY AND HAVE FUN.