Today the Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle is pleased to announce a new service agency - St Nicholas Early Education.
St Nicholas Early Education will provide much-needed early education services and extend the Diocese's existing activities in the community, building on the faith-life and worship of our parishes, our social services and the primary and secondary schools throughout the region.
This extension of the Diocese's works within the region "comes at a time when the whole Church has been reflecting on how we can best support families", says Bishop Bill Wright:
"Much has been said locally about the need for quality, affordable early education. Privately-run Centres have been operating in a few parishes for some time, but we have now seen an opportunity for the diocese itself to provide this assistance to families more widely."
"Our Church is open to all and the St Nicholas centres will be no different, encouraging inclusion of children from all cultural and socio-economic backgrounds. St Nicholas will operate 51 weeks of the year, closing only between Christmas and New Year," Bishop Wright said.
A totally refurbished 52 place early education centre, the first St Nicholas campus will be located at 845 Hunter Street, Newcastle West – opening in early 2016. Staffed by a team of qualified early childhood professionals, St Nicholas will be Child Care Benefit and Child Care Rebate approved, seeing parents and carers able to access Government support says Diocesan Vice Chancellor of Administration, Sean Scanlon:
"The need for additional early education options within the Newcastle CBD is well documented, and through St Nicholas we hope to alleviate some of the pressure parents may be feeling in trying to secure a place for their children,"
"At St Nicholas we will be providing high quality care and education for children aged eight weeks to five years, and with smaller group sizes we aim to create an environment where all children can not only develop but excel," Mr Scanlon said.
Expressions of interest are now being accepted for St Nicholas, and may be submitted online via stnicholasmn.org.au