MORE children in rural and remote parts of Queensland now have access to kindy services.

The state government has extended its kindergarten program to 14 new rural and remote communities, including Bell and Leyburn on the Darling Downs and Winton and Glenden in Central Queensland.

Education Minster Grace Grace said the free program for four-year-olds was now being delivered at 116 rural and remote state schools across the state

“The expansion of this program means up to 177 extra children will have the opportunity to attend a face-to face kindy program at their local state school,” Ms Grace said.

“Up to 800 children are anticipated to attend state delivered kindergarten across Queensland during this year,” Ms Grace said.

Keppel MP and Assistant Education Minister Brittany Lauga said the state-delivered kindergarten program started with 11 state schools but more were added due to its success.

“Byfield is a perfect example of a community that will greatly benefit from the Palaszczuk Government’s State Delivered Kindergarten program,” Ms Lauga said.

“Previously, many families in the Byfield community were unable to access a local kindy program for their children before they started Prep.

“We all know how important kindy is for children’s learning and development so this is wonderful news for local families in Keppel,” Ms Lauga said.

Byfield State School principal Stacey Cottam said the school community was very happy to be able to offer a kindergarten program to local families.

“This program is a great fit for our school and for early childhood learning in our community,” Ms Cottam said.

“We’re in a small rural community and because of our location most of our kids weren’t able to access kindy before starting school.

“We have two children enrolled in kindergarten now, who will attend two days a week this semester and three days a week in second semester.

“This will make a huge difference for the children in our community,” Ms Cottam said.

The 14 schools joining the State Delivered Kindergarten program this year are:

Central Queensland:

Ambrose State School

Bororen State School

Byfield State School

Glenden State School

Winton State School

Fraser Coast:

Brooweena State School

Rainbow Beach State School

Darling Downs and South West:

Bell State School

Leyburn State School

North and Far North Queensland:

Burketown State School

Gumlu State School

Murray River Upper State School

Wonga Beach State Schools

Southeast Queensland:

Russell Island State School

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