STACY SQUIRES/Fairfax NZ
ONE YEAR ON: Sydenham Community Preschool head teacher Rhonda Duncraft reads stories to Nevaeh North, 2, left, and Ysabella and Jack Breack, both 2, at the preschool’s temporary premises.
Sydenham Community Preschool is losing staff and children after spending a year operating from a church hall.
The preschool has no idea whether it will ever be able to return to the Christchurch City Council-owned building it has occupied for 16 years.
but head teacher Rhonda Duncraft said it was vital that the preschool moved back to its suburb because the need for a community-based, not- for-profit school in the area was high.
last year’s June 13 earthquakes forced staff and children from the Huxley St building and, soon after, the preschool moved into a temporary home at St Anne’s Church in St Martins.
Duncraft said she did not expect to be at the church a year later and was calling on the council to provide the preschool with information on the status of the building.
“We’ve been loyal tenants for a long, long time but, when it comes to the nitty-gritty, it’s closed doors.”
she said she understood the predicament the council was in with the number of buildings it had to check, but she wanted to know when to expect some information.
Church leaders had installed heat pumps in the hall and had fixed the toilets, but it was still not ideal, Duncraft said. “We have no decent playground.”
Staff had to pack up all their equipment, including tables, mats and toys, at the end of each day because other community groups used the hall at night, she said.
they also had to share the toilets with adults attending meetingsduring the day.
The location was having an impact on staff, with one resigning and two others indicating they would leave at the end of the year if no other premises could be found.
The number of children attending the centre has dropped. Before the June quakes the preschool’s roll was full and it had a waiting list. now it has vacancies and no waiting list.
Duncraft said many parents did not have a car and were not able to walk their children the extra 1.2 kilometres to the church.
– © Fairfax NZ News
I wonder if this community Preschool could fund raise and also get added government funding to get their own building. I know a Preschool that operated from a community building for at least ten years, packing up in the weekends, lighting the log-fire which was the only source of heating, and having a limited outdoor set up. if the need in the community is there, a survey will confirm this, then the Ministry of Education will be keen to support this.