Pre-school pupils in Leighton Buzzard joined dignitaries to celebrate the opening of their new building.
The youngsters at Greenleas Pre-School, in Kestrel Way, took part in a ribbon-cutting ceremony last Friday with South West Beds MP Andrew Selous, acting headteacher Rebecca Clarke, joint chair of governors Emily Wilding and Sue Howley, representatives from Central Beds Council and Amanda Wallace the pre-school manager.
The new building is home to 48 children aged two upwards – with 24 taking part in morning sessions and 24 in the afternoon. It is based on the site of Greenleas School, and is one of two pre-schools that Greenleas runs in Leighton.
The pre-school children were previously housed in classrooms in the main school, but now have their own bright, airy building complete with outdoor play space. Those classrooms will be filled by an extra Year 3 class in September and an additional Year 4 class at the start of the 2016/17 academic year.
The new building is part of Central Bedfordshire Council’s extensive programme to create extra pre-school and school places across the area to cater for the needs of an increasing population. With the council having assumed responsibility from the government for providing pre-school places for funded two year olds, Greenleas Kestrel Way was identified as being in an area needing additional pre-school places
Mr Selous, who also enjoyed a tour of the main school site, said: “It is absolutely brilliant to see the school full of happy children and fantastic to see the addition of a much-needed pre-school.”
Mrs Clarke said: “This is the missing piece of the school. It was always part of our vision to offer quality education from an early age.
“The children are still very much part of the Greenleas family, because while they now have their own purpose-built building and lovely outside space, they still come into the main school for lunch and special assemblies.”
Councillor Mark Versallion, Executive Member for Children’s Services at Central Beds Council, said: “I’m glad that the children are so happy with their new building. Nursery and pre-school are fantastic places for children, as they allow them to mix with other children of their age, play, explore and take part in a host of different activities.”
For more information about childcare and early education in Central Bedfordshire visit www.centralbedfordshire.gov.uk/childcare