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Children at Grafton’s Uniting Care Jack and Jill Preschool have had their backyard transformed from a patch of artificial grass to a natural wonderland thanks to a $6,000 donation from ETC that was used to kick-start the project.

Preschool Director Bridget Olssen said the new backyard featured a bike track, mud kitchen, a bridge over a stone creek bed and even a solar powered waterfall.

“The entire garden has been designed by the children and all our families were involved in the plan,” Miss Olssen said.

“The children spent two terms researching garden books and playgrounds to work out what it was they wanted.”

Miss Olssen said having a natural outdoor play space was really important to children’s learning and development.

“In early childhood theory, the environment is known to be the child’s second teacher,” she said.

“It’s so exciting to see the children hide, explore, taste and engage in our new outdoor wonderland.

Miss Olssen said the new outdoor play space would enable the centre to accept more children with additional needs and challenging behaviours.

“Last year we had one child per day with additional needs. This year we have two per day and we are hoping to have three per day next year now that our outdoor environment has been transformed and better suited to accommodating children with additional needs,” Miss Olssen said.

ETC Director Tony Walker said it was pleasure to support Uniting Care Jack and Jill Preschool through the ETC Community Support Fund.

“The fund is designed to help organisations improve the social and economic development of local communities and we are confident the money we are donating will help make a more positive future for our community,” Mr Walker said.

“Since 1989, ETC has placed over 51,000 Australians into jobs, trained more than 23,000 people, helped over 34,000 small businesses to start-up and grow, and contributed in excess of $25 million to the local communities in which we operate.”

The latest round of the ETC Community Support Fund is now open and closes on Sunday 31 August.

Visit https://etcltd.com.au/csf/ for more information and/or to apply.



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