Eastern Southland preschool expanding into new building

Hope Preschool manager-teacher Lisa Thomas at the construction site of the early childhood education centre's new building in Mataura on Thursday.

Robyn Edie/Stuff

Hope Preschool manager-teacher Lisa Thomas at the construction site of the early childhood education centre’s new building in Mataura on Thursday.

A waiting list for enrolments might be a thing of the past when Hope Preschool moves to its new building in Mataura early next year.

The early childhood education centre, which currently operates out of the hall of the Mataura Christian Church, has 22 children on the waiting list.

It is licensed for 25 children at any one time, but during the course of a week it teaches 50 during its operating hours of 7.30am to 5.30pm, Monday to Friday.

Hope Preschool’s manager-teacher, Lisa Thomas, said when the new building was opened it would be licensed for 45 children at any one time and up to 90 taught a week.

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“Some [children] come in the mornings, some come in the afternoons and some come for one or two days a week,” Thomas said.

She helped set up Hope Preschool in the church hall about eight years ago.

“It’s proved to be successful, so we thought it was time to have our own purpose built building.”

Hope Education Trust which owns Hope Preschool, bought a property next to the hall and construction of the new building started just over a year ago.

The hall has one learning space but in the new building there will be two, along with a staff room and offices. The preschool has six teachers who are either full time or part-time.

Thomas would not comment on the cost of the new building but said funding had been received from Community Trust South, Ministry of Education and Foodstuffs Community Trust.

Thomas has been involved in early childhood learning for more than 20 years.

“You start at the beginning with children and work really hard, it makes a difference to their whole life.

“I love working with the children and their families.”

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