Boom in childhood care
Another early childhood centre is to open in Timaru to meet strong demand.
A new facility is planned barely 12 months after the last was opened.
Little Wonders, which opened a childcare centre in Otipua Rd in 2011, has received planning consent for another daycare centre at 307 Wai-iti Rd.
The 2685 square metre site on the intersection of Morgans and Wai-iti roads has been allocated land use as a childcare centre operating between Monday and Friday, 7.30am to 6pm.
The preschool will cater for up to 100 children and 17 staff members.
A new building will be constructed in the central and southern portion of the site.
The proposal provides for 18 car parking spaces and an outdoor play area.
The building will feature five large multi-purpose rooms, four sleeping rooms, two bathrooms, two kitchens, a staffroom, meeting room and laundry.
Little Wonders in Otipua Rd is operating at capacity with 75 children attending each day, while there is still a substantial waiting list of families waiting to get into early childhood education in South Canterbury.
A site at the former Timaru Christian School, in North St, has also been identified, with a childhood centre scheduled to open in 2013.
The South Canterbury Free Kindergarten Association bought the plot in December and is spending $250,000 remodelling a prefabricated building and altering the grounds.
It will cater for up to 40 children aged six months to five years.
South Canterbury Free Kindergarten Association manager Margaret Whitford said changing times and the Christchurch earthquakes had increased demand for childhood centres.
"It was certainly identified after the Christchurch earthquakes that it was not easy to get children into early childhood care.
"We accommodated about 56 families at that time; we put in extra teachers."
Demand had increased since then, in particular for children under two years, she said.
"People have more choices now; more parents are working."
More than 30 childcare centres, playcentres and kindergartens operate in South Canterbury.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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