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Sunday, June 23, 2024
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Centre a first for newborns

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Parents watch during the opening and blessing of the new facilities. Photo: Alphonsus Fok
Parents watch during the opening and blessing of the new facilities. Photo: Alphonsus Fok

The first Catholic Early Childhood Centre catering for newborns in the Sydney Archdiocese has been officially opened.

Sydney Bishop Daniel Meagher was joined by parish priest Fr Paul Smithers and Aboriginal elder Uncle Ralph Townsend to bless St Joseph’s Preschool and Long Day Care at Rosebery, a place of both “education and evangelisation”.

The centre which bridges the gap between pre-school and primary has been in operation since January, however the official opening was delayed due to COVID.

“… the not-for-profit long day care option is trying to reduce the financial stress faced by families due to soaring childcare costs.”

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Responding to an unprecedented demand for care in the inner-city, the state-of-the-art centre incorporates the notion of ‘the environment as the third teacher’, and features raked ceilings, exposed timber doors and walls, and open and airy play rooms, connecting children visually and physically to the outside natural environment.

Considered a green space, there are no plastic toys; all toys are made of wood, complimenting the natural beauty of the warm timbers used throughout.

Sydney Catholic Early Childhood Services CEO Franceyn O’Connor said the not-for-profit long day care option is trying to reduce the financial stress faced by families due to soaring childcare costs.

“Financial circumstances should never be the barrier that limits access to early education,” she said.

Infants enjoy the novelty as Bishop Daniel Meagher, accompanied by Fr Paul Smithers, blesses the new facilities with holy water. Photo: Alphonsus Fok
Infants enjoy the novelty as Bishop Daniel Meagher, accompanied by Fr Paul Smithers, blesses the new facilities with holy water. Photo: Alphonsus Fok

“This is why it’s vital that we create as many affordable early childcare places as possible for young families in our local parish communities.

“Children have been educated on this site well before Sydney Catholic Early Childhood Services arrived, and well before the Mercy nuns started a school here in 1928.

“The Gadigal people of the Eora Nation have nurtured and educated their children on this land for thousands of years, they have taught and guided their children as responsible custodians of the land and waterways that surround us.

“What a great decision it was to build this new place of learning that supports families and encourages a connection to the parish.”

“Today we want every young family in the inner city to have access to high quality education and care within a beautiful Catholic environment.”

Parish priest Fr Paul Smithers said the new centre offers a vital bridge to deepening faith. “Fostering life-giving connections with God and one another is vital for the renewal of our parish,” he said.

“What a great decision it was to build this new place of learning that supports families and encourages a connection to the parish.”

Two more early childhood centres at Caringbah and Marsfield are set to open in 2023.

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