A CHILDCARE centre with a difference will give young children and tertiary students the opportunity to make the most of cutting edge Monash University research.
The Windermere Early Learning Centre, which has opened on Monash University’s Mornington Peninsula campus, will provide quality childcare to the Frankston and peninsula community as well as doubling as a practical learning space for students studying a range of subjects at the university.
To infinity: Layla has fun with a rocket at the new Windermere Early Learning Centre in Frankston. Picture: Daryl Gordon
Peninsula and Berwick campus vice-chancellor Leon Piterman said the centre had a capacity for 50 children and would act as a research facility for education, early childhood development, occupational and physical therapy and psychology.
“Graduates working in the field need to know how to identify children with disabilities such as autism and cerebral palsy and what to do to manage it,” Professor Piterman said.
Centre director Karlie Molesworth said she had received many inquiries from students keen to use the centre as a resource. Some had visited the centre and information was being finalised to have the students on a more permanent basis.
As the centre opened in February it missed out on enrolments as many parents had already chosen centres for the term. There are currently 18 children at the centre.
“Numbers are gradually building, it is a beautiful space and we are very lucky,” Ms Molesworth said.
The centre accepts the children of Monash students and teachers and youngsters from Frankston and the peninsula.
Ms Molesworth said parents were well briefed about the centre’s role as a teaching resource.
“We keep everything open and clear. It is for forward-thinking families and we are very hands on with the families. It is an extremely flexible service which is all about being open and friendly. Everyone is welcome.”
Professor Piterman said the collaborative project was fully inclusive and staff were planning for up to 20 per cent of their enrolments to be children with disabilities.
He said a similar project closed in 2010 as, unlike the current centre, the business model was not appropriate and it was not financially viable.
“It was largely dependent on just the children of staff. We’ve since put it out to tender and Windermere won the successful tender.
“They are highly experienced, not only with childcare but caring for children with disabilities.”