With the devastating news that Rochester Kindergarten will not be reopening in 2022, after the floods along the Campaspe river severely damaged the building, equipment and play-space. Families have been welcomed with open arms to the Elmore Kindergarten, situated 15 minutes away. Staff of the Elmore Kindergarten have supported Rochester staff and children to transition to the new service, banding together to support families during this time. Reopening a kindergarten service for flood affected families with limited interruption, has provided families with the sense of security knowing their children have a safe space close to home, whilst they rebuild.

Other families who have relocated outside of the region after losing their homes, are also attending Shine Bright Lockington, Echuca and Bendigo. Staff of the Rochester Kindergarten have ensured each child who has relocated has transitioned easily, by visiting the kindergartens, this is despite some of their own homes impacted severely during flooding.

“Our staff are amazing. The past two years have been extremely challenging for all early childhood professionals, with COVID impacting daily activities. Their commitment to provide their time and support to families and the ability to therefore provide support to other members of the community shows to the extent our staff will go above and beyond in the community.” said Suzi Sordan, CEO of Shine Bright.

Kindergarten teacher Kim Cutting who is part of the Rochester education team commented, “The staff of the Rochester kindergarten are a strong and inclusive group of people who value relationships, community and wellbeing. We want to provide the children of our service a safe place whilst their families try to rebuild their lives. We are very proud to provide this support and we hope to continue to offer support in the coming months.”

“We wish to thank the staff of all Shine Bright kindergartens for their ongoing support and dedication through the past few difficult years and especially the past weeks. We also wish to thank all those other Kindergartens outside our region who have reached out and have provided both kind words and have fundraised for us” quoted Suzi Sordan, “the benefits to families and the community by our dedicated staff and other kindergartens have not gone unrecognised, and we wish to acknowledge their hard work.”

Rochester Kindergarten is currently fundraising to complete repairs to its play-space and replace equipment damaged during the flooding. Donations can be made via a GoFundMe page gofundme.com/f/rochester-kindergarten-flood-support or by contacting Shine Bright info@shinebright.org.au.

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