Recess ends for Macarthur Kindergarten

Published on 31 January 2018

child car playing

After a year in recess, four-year-old children will return to Macarthur Kindergarten, which is great news for the local community.

Moyne Shire Council voted in early 2017 to put the kinder on hiatus rather than permanently close it down due to a lack of enrolments.

That left just the three-year-old kinder running one day a week in 2017 under the watchful eye of Port Fairy woman Suzan Finnigan.

Now Mrs Finnigan will be in charge of six new enrolments at four-year-old kindergarten in Macarthur, which will run three days a week.

The kindergarten’s return to operations is thanks largely to the efforts of Mrs Finnigan, who worked closely with the local community in the past year to encourage enrolments, rather than have children go further afield for kindergarten.

She also worked with the local school and men’s shed to get the place looking nice in time for the new enrolments and help ensure the future of the facility.

“It’s such a little kinder, I felt sorry for it,” Mrs Finnigan said.

“The kids are great, and it didn’t feel right that they needed to travel half an hour to go to kinder.

“Once the kids leave Macarthur, they’re not coming back here to go to school, and that has a knock-on effect.

“I thought, if I can do the work to get the kindergarten open properly again, then I’d have a job, the kids would have somewhere to go, the school stays open, the milk bar stays open.”

Mrs Finnigan’s dedication came about despite having no connection to Macarthur.

“I didn’t know anyone up there – I didn’t know any child or parent. I’d never even been to Macarthur before I started doing three-year-old kinder there for six hours a week.

“So I did a four-week placement at Macarthur Primary School so I could have a better connection with Macarthur.”

Mrs Finnigan praised Moyne Shire Council’s move to put the kinder into recess instead of closing it down permanently.

“That decision was a really good – it was really good for the kids,” she said.

In return, Moyne Shire has rewarded Mrs Finnigan’s hard work and dedication but securing an exemption for her to serve as the kindergarten’s teacher – Mrs Finnigan is about six months away from being fully qualified.

“I’m 84.9 per cent qualified – I can see the finish line,” she laughed.

“It was nice that they wanted me. I’d been here last year as the three-year-old kinder teacher one day a week, and I’d done a lot of work in the community, so it was good to know I would be here again this year.”

Moyne Shire’s community services manager Jan Consedine said it was a no-brainer to seek an exemption for Mrs Finnigan.

“She’s the best person for the job at Macarthur and has done a great amount of work to help get us to the position where we can re-open the four-year-old kinder,” Mrs Consedine said.

“On top of that, she’s quite an exceptional person.”