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Erica Preschool saved after last-minute agreement


Erica Preschool will continue to run its kindergarten service in 2025. 

An arrangement was reached between the Early Years Manager (EYM), YKinders, and the Department of Education to continue the Erica Preschool kindergarten service. 

YKinders, the largest EYM provider in Victoria, initially decided to close the preschool in April. 

Baw Baw Shire Mayor Cr Annemarie McCabe says she is thrilled with the news for the local community. 

“All of our councillors supported the community in advocating for this,” she said. 

“We would like to thank each and every member of the community who spoke up and advocated for this service in Erica,” she said 

“This was an example of Council helping the community to advocate and be heard,” she said. 

However, Council was aware that this agreement may only ensure the kindergarten’s continuation short term. Councillor Michael Leaney shared this sentiment at the Baw Baw Shire Council Meeting in June. 

“Everyone needs to realise that the decision was made to add in 2025, to continue the service for one year, I personally do not want to be back with the community battling this out again in another year,” he said. 

“There needs to be long-term security given to the community,” Cr Leaney said. 

The future of the preschool was also under threat in 2021 when it was temporarily closed due to low enrolment. 

Cr Leaney also thanked politicians Wayne Farnham, Melina Bath, and Harriet Shing for their continued efforts to support Erica Preschool. 

Erica Preschool operates from a Council-owned facility, which could accommodate up to 22 children. It has been operating under YKinders for approximately 15 years. 

Despite there being only ten children enrolled in the preschool this year, the service is important to the local community in Erica and Rawson. The closest kindergarten program outside the township is in Moe, meaning that if the kinder were to close, families would need to travel over 30km to access the service. 

Whilst kindergarten attendance is not compulsory, participation in an early childhood program is known to improve educational outcomes for children. 

“We will continue to advocate to ensure that this is a long-term commitment beyond just 2025,” Mayor Cr McCabe said.