We are building a new state-of-the-art children’s centre for local families.

When complete, the Fern Street Children’s Centre will include a purpose built building, a sensory garden linking to FG Tricks Reserve and a newly upgraded playground. The Centre will provide for 3 and 4 year old kindergarten, a single multi-use room catering for occasional care, playgroup and community activities, an online toy library hire service and a maternal and child health consulting room for visits by appointment.

The new centre is a once in a lifetime opportunity to improve the accessibility, quality and integration of early childhood services in Bayside’s south.

The Victorian Government is providing $1.6million towards the $6million cost of the centre.

Planning permit live

The planning permit application for the proposed Fern Street Children’s Centre has now been lodged and is available to view on Bayside City Council’s website under application 176/2020, including the latest traffic and arboricultural reports.

  • A two-room 66 place kindergarten
  • A 20 place Occasional Care room
  • Capacity to provide a smaller scale Toy Library service
  • A room for Playgroups to use, where parents/caregivers and their children meet to play.
  • A consulting room available for Maternal and Child Health
  • A multi functional room that will be available for hire for small to medium sized groups and available for hire in the day and/or evening for activities such as club meetings, yoga.

The Bayside Early Years Infrastructure Plan 2018-2028 was endorsed by Council in August 2018. ASR Consultants were engaged to provide a review of the current state of Bayside’s early year’s infrastructure and recommendations for the future state. Strengths and shortcomings of the existing infrastructure were identified in terms of meeting current and future need.

Kindergarten

  • Janet Mundy Kindergarten in Fern Street was closed by the Incorporation in 2017. The facility was assessed as no longer fit for purpose.
  • St John’s Kindergarten, a 55 place centre in Sandringham, is closing.
  • Beaumaris three-year-old kindergarten was closed by the Incorporation early 2019. With no four-year-old service offered, families opted for kindergartens providing both three and four-year-old programs.
  • The southern end of the municipality is now experiencing a shortage of kindergarten places. Families are having to accept places further away from their immediate community and feeder primary schools
  • State funding for three-year-old kindergarten was endorsed early 2019.
  • A State wide Infrastructure capacity assessment has commenced to understand the service implications of providing up to an additional 10 hours for three-year-olds.
  • For community kindergartens in Bayside, this will require an increase of up to ten hours a week of service provision which is not possible in single room facilities.

Occasional Care

  • Sessional kindergarten is highly valued in the Bayside community. However, the timetable does not always work.
  • Occasional Care is a service which can compliment the community kindergarten timetable and model and provide extended care options.
  • Currently, there are no occasional care services in the southern end of the municipality.

Toy Library

  • Capacity to provide a smaller scale Toy Library to compliment Bayside’s only existing library located in Brighton. The service provides families with a financially viable option for an environmentally sustainable approach to toy accessibility.
  • Data collected in 2018 indicates that families in the southern end of the municipality would welcome this local service.

Playgroup

  • A room for Playgroups to use, where parents/caregivers and their children meet to play.
  • Playgroup participation enables health and wellbeing outcomes on many levels, for both the children and their parents/caregivers.
  • Bayside’s Playhouses in Beaumaris and Hampton experience membership waiting lists. A need for an additional playgroup venue was identified in the Early Year’s Infrastructure Plan.

Maternal and Child Health

  • The Fern Street site will have a consulting room available for Maternal and Child Health. There is strong evidence outcomes for children are improved where early year’s services work alongside each other.

The natural environment is important to the Bayside community. The natural environment is evidenced as being educational, nurturing and healing for all ages and abilities.

  • The natural landscape will underpin the design of the built environment
  • The landscape surrounding the building and connecting to Trick’s Reserve will include sensory garden and play elements for all to enjoy

A preliminary arboricultural assessment report is available to view via the document library.

The playground at Trick’s Reserve will be upgraded in line with Council’s Playground Improvement Plan.

The existing playground will be updated to include intergenerational exercise equipment. Designs for the upgraded playground will be made available for feedback in coming weeks.

Following previous community feedback, amended plans now include the provision of fourteen on-site car parks that will be positioned to the east of the building. The building footprint has been reduced to allow for the provision of on-site parking. This will result in a reduced level of activity on the site

A preliminary traffic report is available to view via the document library,

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Fiona Campbell

Family and Youth Services Coordinator

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