Build inspires new generation

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Teacher Courtney Dennett and 17-month-old Charlie Brierly enjoy a chat with builder Richard Pearce at the Ashburton Baptist Preschool.

What are you dooooing?

Builders working on major renovations at Ashburton Baptist Preschool get this question a lot from the youngsters who look through the safety fencing.

Construction crews from McIntosh Builders are almost finished stage one of a four-phase renovation that will boost the preschool’s capacity from 69 to 85.

Preschool manager Vincent Brierly said the children at the facility had been very interested as builders demolished and rebuilt rooms using hammers, saws and other tools. Some children have been imitating the construction work in their play.

Keeping the preschool operational while the work is under way has required some deft planning and communication to ensure everyone can do their job. But that planning means they can continue in confidence.

Mr Brierly said staff, children and parents were all looking forward to seeing the end result in late October.

The Ashburton Baptist preschool has been operating almost 40 years and has been at the same site on Eton Street for the majority of that time, growing from the early days as a small church creche.

It currently caters for 69 children a day and as the Ashburton community has expanded, so has demand for its services. The preschool has separate areas for up to two, two to three and a half, and three and a half to five years.

Once renovations are complete, the preschool will have capacity for 85 children a day. There is already a waiting list beginning to grow for under two spaces and that is the first area to be renovated.

The preschool has three separate blocks; an office and staff area in a older house, the new area under re-construction and another building with entry off Tancred Street.

Mr Brierly said the buildings had been looking tired and the renovation would create new areas for play and skill development.

It was important the preschool retained its homely feel, he said.

“Environment plays a huge part in development and sets up opportunities for educators to foster those meaningful relationships with children and their families to empower them to learn and grow.”

The new under two area would allow the preschool to retain its primary caregiving model and create new play space for a wider range of activity.

All the children had been interested in the recent building activity, which involved demolition, diggers and a concrete truck.

“It’s been quite a learning curve for everyone.”