. . . but kindergartens struggle for staff
CHANGES to opening hour requirements at Victorian kindergartens have posed significant staffing difficulties for smaller centres across the south-west.
New Universal Access requirements have seen local kindergartens grappling to fill teaching vacancies and restructure their staff, with Cavendish Kindergarten one of many south-west kindergartens to undergo changes this year.
Despite pupil numbers being up, the kindergarten is dealing with a separate struggle.
Under new State Government legislation, every Victorian centre is required to open for a minimum of 15 hours a week for 40 weeks of the year; previously, kindergartens were required to be open for 11.5 hours.
With increased opening hours, teachers can no longer job share as they used to, meaning many teachers have had to move to different locations to fill gaps.
Full story in the Spectator on Tuesday February12, 2013
Teacher Debbie Millard, who had worked at Dunkeld and Cavendish Kindergartens for six years, had to choose where she worked, because it was no longer possible to do both.
Choosing Dunkeld, the Cavendish Kindergarten was then required to fill two teaching vacancies, with Natalie Templeton filling one of the gaps.
Mrs Templeton also works at Branxholme Kindergarten and is helping local children on their way to become a doctor, fireman and even a fairy – but said recent changes had been challenging.
“It becomes really hard when you have low numbers and we have had to find two new teachers, which is hard being in the country,” she said.
“There has been a lot of change in the field, it has changed all the kindergartens around here but while there are challenges now, it does mean more one-on-one time with kids that need that extra time.”
The Cavendish Kindergarten features a playground, toys and an abundance of love, for just eight lucky children and Mrs Templeton said it was great to offer such exceptional kindergarten services to regional towns.
But it does not come easily.