Play time carried on uninterrupted at Orange Preschool on Friday with a funding announcement unable to distract from hide and seek.
Parliamentary Secretary for Western NSW Rick Colless’ visit to the early learning centre announced the NSW Government award of $7000 through the Community Grants Program.
Mr Colless said the purpose of the grant was to discourage learning outcomes gap between preschools with a high enrolments of Indigenous children and those without.
“It’s important as a statewide program that all children, irrespective of their background, have access to the same facilities,” he said.
Orange Preschool has a licence to care for 40 children at a time, 50 per cent of those students are from Indigenous families.
The centre will use the grant to purchase equipment and games to facilitate cultural diversity acceptance and learning.
Director at Orange Preschool Sonya Murphy said they would purchase culturally appropriate books, puzzles and a rug designed by an aboriginal artist.
“It’s important to us to have access to toys and equipment that the children can identify with as part of their cultural background,” she said.
“That allows them to feel safe, secure and supported in our pre school and hopefully helps their families to feel confident in their decision to send their children here.”
Orange Preschool employs Aboriginal Officer Bianca Merchant to engage with Indigenous families, encourage enrollments and help make cultural decisions.
“We want our Indigenous children to feel that they belong, to see that we accept them and hopefully that allows them to develop their identity in their community.
“When they feel accepted and supported engagement goes up and learning opportunities increase.”
Orange Preschool plans to use some of the money to replace equipment destroyed by mould.
Mr Colless said he relished the opportunity to visit one of our regions early learning centres, especially to present money to a much deserving preschool.
“These children don’t have a care in the world, hopefully this money can make things a little easier for their teachers too,” he said.