jewin' the fat


A Sad Day for Sydney
September 30, 2009, 4:24 PM
Filed under: Comment | Tags: , , , , , , , ,

It is a sad day for the Sydney music scene, when a much loved venue closes unexpectedly – for fans, musicians and patrons.

Meanwhile, across town, another local business is being forced to close, to the disappointment and detriment of families, friends and supporters. It may not be as flashy or popular as the Hopetoun Hotel, but Alikat Pre-School is a self-reliant, non-government funded local business, providing an integral public-service to the community for over 23 years.

While ABC Learning Centres are being shut down, even after being propped up financially and administratively by the Rudd Government, Alikat Pre-School has no strings attached. It is a financially successful, educationally sound, community focused business and educational institution, which deserves as much noise and fury at the news of its forced closure.

As to the Hopetoun, people would travel to Alikat from across the city of Sydney, to ensure and entrust their children to Lynne and Nadene. Some even crossed the globe, to give their children the opportunity to learn and grow.

One need only look at the children who attend this highest quality school, to see the impact Alikat has had on generations of Sydney youth. From its humble residential garage beginnings, to the extensive, outstanding facility it now calls home – the ethos has remained the same. Every child deserves a top-class education, and this young age is crucial to development.

This appears to be in direct opposition to the Australian Government’s Early Childhood Reform of ensuring that every child has access to quality early childhood education in the year before they commence school. Some parents have moved to the area to be closer to the school and the community, developing friendships and community support networks, running parenting courses and offering moral and social support to those who immigrated to Australia.

Now with 8 staff and hundreds of alumni, it is as much a staple of local culture as the famed Hoptoun. In fact, it probably taught a fair few of those Hopetoun Music fans motor-skills, readied them for school, taught them to appreciate rhythm and melody, and refined their first live performance ability at the annual end of year concert.

I should know – I was an Alikat pre-schooler some 20 years ago.

Four months notice, now down to just over two, is just not long enough to relocate and obtain all the relevant licenses required, never mind trying at this late stage to enroll our children elsewhere.

We need educational facilities like Alikat as much as we need music venues like the Hopetoun – they both support, nurture and inspire the talent of our youth. Don’t let either of these local gems fade away. We will be that much poorer for their absence.

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