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Little Beacons opens centre, bush kinder

The long-awaited official opening of the Little Beacons Learning Centre at Beaconhills College’s Berwick Campus took place yesterday, Tuesday 25 October.

College guests, along with children and staff celebrated the opening of Little Beacons and its adjoining ‘bush kinder’ outdoor classroom, now named ‘Biik ngarnga-ut’ (learn on country) by Boon Wurrung Elder Aunty Fay Muir.

Little Beacons Berwick was built with the help of a $1.6m State Government grant and began its programs at the start of 2020, but the official opening was delayed due to COVID-19 restrictions.

A separate $50,000 State Government grant has also helped create the natural bush kinder area, used by children in the centre’s Early Explorers Program. It contains wetlands, woodlands, open pasture and Indigenous plants.

The centre itself is an extraordinary example of a high quality, early learning facility and mirrors Little Beacons the College’s Pakenham Campus.

Rated as ‘exceeding’ in all seven areas of the National Quality standards, its features include 122 solar panels, water tanks for flushing toilets and garden upkeep, bee-attracting plants, acoustic ceilings and calm, seamless spaces between indoor and outdoor areas.

The building was blessed by The Rt Revd Dr Paul Barker, Assistant Bishop – Jumbunna Episcopate, Anglican Diocese of Melbourne. Guests enjoyed musical performances by Little Beacons children, who also shared an Indigenous acknowledgement in language.

Head of Little Beacons, Vicki Reid, said the quality foundations of the building were reflected in the Little Beacons curriculum, which supported each child’s development and the skills they needed throughout life.

“I am so very grateful for the team who deliver quality education every day,” she said. “We know they are supporting future leaders to grow and be the best people they can be. I would like to thank all involved in achieving this amazing project.”

The centre offers Early Years and outside school hours programs, along with playgroup and allied health services. Planned future services include early intervention and maternal/child health.