Preschool celebrates opening of new meeting place

Families from Marrang and Cooinda preschools celebrated the official opening of a new outdoor meeting place.

The large outdoor turfed area, covered by a shade sail, is where preschool students at Marrang can undertake group activities for literacy and numeracy, play, relax, eat and receive special guests.

"Marrang means 'meeting place' in aboriginal terms, so we were thrilled to receive the $5,000 grant from the Delkaia Best Start Program to carry out the works for this special outdoor area," kindergarten committee president, Sharon Moloney said.

"During the drought we lost our natural grass play areas, so the children are really enjoying this new space."

Delkaia is an arm of Wimmera Uniting Care. Delkaia representatives Barrie Elvish (co-chair), Tracey Rigney, Jane Freak and Andrew Harrison attended the opening, alongside Kerrie Wilson from Stawell Library - who talked about the importance of reading daily to your child - and some reptile friends from the Halls Gap Zoo.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families who attended the kinder in 2013 had input into the design of the new area, including the selection of native plants.

"It was special for the Delkaia Aboriginal Best Start program to have done this in collaboration with the Koorie families," Tracey Rigney said.

"By attending the launch we could see the great use of the space and the joy shown by families. The acknowledgement plaque will be a beautiful reminder of Delkaia's support and we are really thrilled about that."

Marrang educator Michelle Warren said the kinder community was multicultural and it was important to integrate cultural studies into the preschool curriculum. She added that family nights to celebrate milestones were also a special part of community inclusion.

"Family nights are a great opportunity to get to know the children and families in an informal way," Ms Warren said.

I must say that we love when the Halls Gap Zoo visits; the looks on everyone's faces when they interact with the animals are priceless."

Ms Warren thanked DJ and NM Hunter Gardens and Landscapes, Carey Covers and Waites Robson Memorials for their project support and to Woolworths for donating fruit for the launch catering.

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