Heathridge Primary School attempting to address childcare challenges with Playful Learners


Principal Karen Garn-Jones and early years teacher Anita Kay with pre-kindergarten students. Picture: Martin Kennealey        www.communitypix.com.au d457318       
Principal Karen Garn-Jones and early years teacher Anita Kay with pre-kindergarten students. Picture: Martin Kennealey        www.communitypix.com.au d457318       

HEATHRIDGE Primary School is attempting to address childcare challenges.

It has established an early learning centre, pre-kindergarten and out-of-school-hours care service with Playful Learners as an alternative to traditional long day care.

It is open every day from 7am to 6pm, offering childcare for children aged three to 12.

The early learning centre is staffed by tertiary qualified early educators and education assistants and delivers a play-based education program to help prepare children from age three for more formal primary education.

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The school also hosts the Accelerated Learning Centre for Autism program, with childcare programs designed to foster inclusion for children with special needs.

Heathridge Primary School and Playful Learners also have a profit re-investment program that focuses on mutually beneficial projects.

Recently, Playful Learners contributed to a nature playground the school’s P&C was developing.

Centre director Angela Davey said Playful Learners was started to provide better childcare through local primary schools.

“Parents were telling us childcare was too expensive and too hard and they wanted a service that was flexible, local and more personal,” she said.

“We see ourselves as an extension of Heathridge Primary School, playing an important role in caring for and preparing children for school.”

Heathridge Primary School principal Karen Garn-Jones said teachers had noticed children starting kindergarten were “more literate, numerate, confident and secure at the start of the year”.

Playful Learners is looking to expand through primary schools into Joondalup and Wanneroo with a shortage of childcare services.