Latrobe Local News:
Latrobe allocates funding to special needs preschool programs
Cost savings brought about by placing Blundell Hall preschool into recess have enabled Latrobe City to allocate further funding towards preschool programs for 2002
By Latrobe City Council - 7th January 2002 - Back to News
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Cost savings brought about by placing Blundell Hall preschool into recess have enabled Latrobe City to allocate further funding towards preschool programs for 2002 which will benefit the whole municipality, Latrobe City Mayor, Councillor Brendan Jenkins, has said.
Cr Jenkins said the additional funding in the second half of the financial year will be directed towards the Preschool Field Officer program, making the position of Preschool Field Officer a full-time role. It will also provide 570 hours of funding for an additional Assistants during this period to cater for special needs children in preschool groups.
"The Latrobe City Preschool Field Officer’s work involves offering resources and support to families and preschool staff in order to encourage the successful inclusion of children with additional needs into funded preschool programs," Cr Jenkins explained.
"This means that any child with disabilities, developmental delays, social or emotional difficulties, challenging behaviours or speech difficulties can be referred to the program," Cr Jenkins said.
"Working with preschool staff, the Preschool Field Officer can assess the child’s needs, advocate for the family and can then refer the child to other specialists. Through the Preschool Field Officer, children can be integrated into preschool programs and assisted with transition to school."
Cr Jenkins said the 570 hours of Additional Assistant funding to be used where high needs children are ineligible to be funded under the current funding arrangements especially where there are high numbers of special needs children in a group.
"Where a child has significant additional needs, limited funds may be made available through the Commonwealth Programs for Schools Special Education Program to provide an additional assistant for the child’s preschool group. While thirteen children are being funded through the Commonwealth Programs for Schools Special Education Program for 2002, there are still a number of children who fall outside of the Department’s guidelines, who have additional needs. Latrobe will reallocate the balance of monies saved through Blundell Hall’s recess to providing additional assistance for these children," Cr Jenkins said.
"Preschool enrolments for 2002 have all been processed with 857 children accepting places in Council’s Funded Preschool Program across the municipality, clearly indicating the preschool system in Latrobe is one of the largest education providers in the area," Cr Jenkins said.
"Places are available in all townships for preschool in 2002, with fifteen vacancies currently available in Traralgon where there were concerns by some, that placing Blundell Hall in recess, would lead to insufficient places," Cr Jenkins added.
Latrobe City’s Preschool Unit Leader, Jill Sargent said that prekinder places have now been offered for all on-time enrolments for 2002, with some late offers still to be made. "There will be prekinder groups in ten preschools next year, with combined groups being held in six centres," Ms Sargent said.
"We can also confirm that there will be a stand-alone group for three-year olds at Glengarry Preschool in 2002, despite lower numbers of registrations", Ms Sargent added.
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