Kids from small communities south of Beaudesert are getting access to early learning experiences through a free weekly playgroup at Rathdowney State School.
Local early education legend Kris Kelly, who taught for 35 years at Laravale, Hillview, Beaudesert, Darlington, Tamrookum, Rathdowney and Tubber St Community Kindy, has come back from retirement to lead the group.
Mrs Kelly does the second, fourth and sometimes fifth Wednesday of the month and Scenic Rim Regional Council does the first and third Wednesday, usually from 9am to 11am.
Principal Wes Kroll said it was bridging a gap in small communities outside Beaudesert.
“Because of our location, we don’t have a lot of access to early childhood experiences like day care or kindy, and we saw that need with children who were coming to prep,” he said.
“We’ve always had a playgroup, but we wanted to formalise it. So, we went from being a parent-run playgroup and I’ve hired Kris, and she was very willing to take that on once a fortnight, and the other fortnight, Council do the First Five Forever Program.
“Kris is a valuable asset because she’s a member of the community, she connects the community and there are generational connections to Kris. We’re getting people from Darlington way, a family came over because a relative lived here and they’d heard about it, Kooralbyn, Tamrookum, Rathdowney. If people wanted to travel out from Beaudesert, they’re more than welcome.”
Mrs Kelly is in her element being back each fortnight at Rathdowney State School, which currently has 34 students from prep to year six and two teachers – Mr Kroll and Kasey Lane.
When the Beaudesert Bulletin visited the group, six mums and their children were enjoying catching up and learning through indoor and outdoor activities from crafts and make believe to splashing about with water.
She said children and parents alike benefited from the group.
“We’re getting about 10 kids along most times, and a few mums have recently had babies so they’re not back yet,” she said.
“It’s just a really gorgeous group of lovely mums, and it’s like I get to have this gorgeous group of daughters and grandchildren.”
For more information, visit the Rathdowney State School Facebook page, phone the school on 5540 4333 or email firstname.lastname@example.org