The St Andrew's District Children's Centre has secured its future and that of the former Esk Valley School after buying the building from Playcentre.
The community is also set to benefit from weekly visits by the Waimate Mobile Kindergarten, which will provide a drop-off facility at the building.
"We are all so pleased and as you can imagine the community is delighted also," said secretary Alice Porter. The parents had to raise $30,000 to buy the building from the Playcentre New Zealand and did so with the help of the community, for which they were very grateful, Porter said.
"It was bought by the community for the community."
The children's centre was given the first option to buy the building when Playcentre no longer wanted it. Currently there are 24 children enrolled at the centre which meets every Tuesday morning during term time.
"We are a licensed centre and are directly funded by the Ministry of Education and follow guidelines for teaching and learning."
The centre's extensive curriculum planning has been used by the ministry as a model for other playgroups.
Porter said the centre strives to provide educational and fun experiences for the children.
"What sets us apart from other centres is that our children are building important relationships with those they will be at school with."
That makes the transition to school a positive experience, she said.
"The centre has a great family atmosphere. We currently have a great mix of babies, toddlers and older children."
She said it was also a much needed network and support base for the women of the community, which was essential in a rural and remote environment.
Currently a lease is being drawn up with the Mobile Kindergarten so the Waimate Mobile Kindergarten Association can relocate to the Esk Valley venue one to two days a week.
"This is an amazing asset to the community, a drop-off and leave facility operating in our own rural community allowing our mothers and caregivers to travel locally as opposed to travelling to town for kindergarten."
She said the children's centre has also become an Incorporated Society with a board made up of the children's centre parents along with non-centre community members.
With the building now owned by the community, it would be available for everyone to use for such things as barbecues and children's birthdays.
"Generations of families have come through this facility and it is with great happiness we have secured it for many more generations to come."
- The Timaru Herald