Sneak peak at Gisborne's new $3.7m kinder

Early childhood learning is about to enter a brave new world in Gisborne, with a $3.7 million centre featuring high-tech capabilities and an environmentally sustainable design expected to open its doors in Robertson Street on Monday.

The new home of Gisborne kindergarten, Gisborne Maternal Child and Health Centre and Gisborne Toy Library, Macedon Ranges council’s family and children’s centre will be unveiled during a traditional smoking ceremony involving indigenous elders.

Features of the centre include an integrated design with two kindergarten rooms, offices, consulting rooms and a multipurpose area.

A vertical garden from floor to ceiling makes a striking first impression upon entry to the main foyer, while windows, ceilings and furniture of varying heights, shapes and materials are designed to ensure the centre is interesting for its youngest clients.

A specially designed kitchen will encourage children to be part of the food preparation process.

Even Gisborne kinder’s beloved chicken Pumpkin had been catered for, with a flash steel coop included as part of an outdoor area that also features a bamboo forest, play equipment, synthetic and natural grasses.

Inside, wi-fi and internet-enabled smart TVs will foster technology-driven learning.

“Our main concern with all of this has been to provide a space that will have real benefits for families and children,” council’s community wellbeing director Karen Stevens said.

Kinder rooms will cater for classes of up to 33 children, five more than before.

Immunisation and outreach services such as speech pathology could also be run from the centre.

Rooms will be available for use by mothers and play groups, and hired out to community groups outside business hours.

After almost two years of planning and construction, mayor Graham Hackett said the centre’s opening was an exciting moment for the growing community.

“Families will have greater access to services and children will have a wonderful new centre in which to play and learn,” he said.

“This is the first of its kind for council and a real opportunity to showcase our commitment to ensuring infrastructure supports the needs of future generations.”

Water collected from the centre’s pitched roof will be used to flush toilets, while other environmentally friendly elements include double-glazed windows, solar hot water and native vegetation.

Land at the rear of the centre will be landscaped but kept available for future expansion.

The name of the centre, which will open from 8.30am-5pm weekdays, is in the process of being finalised.

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