PHOTOS

Parkes Early Childhood Centre celebrates milestones, including its 65th birthday

The children and staff of the Parkes Early Childhood Centre (PECC) were in party mode on Wednesday as the facility celebrated more than one special occasion.

The preschool sector of PECC turned a big 65 years old, while the early childhood centre marked 25 years since its construction and merger with what was once called the Parkes Preschool.

Youngsters and staff - in their finest and wackiest costumes and party hats - gathered in the playground with those who have had a long association with the centre, to sing happy birthday and cut the cake.

And amid the celebrations, PECC took the opportunity to also congratulate its first, only and soon retiring director Lindy Farrant, and launch its new logo.

Lindy began with the Parkes Preschool, which was funded and built by the community in 1954, as a preschool teacher 33 years ago.

Before PECC had been established, Parkes Preschool was one of seven in NSW selected by the government to be a Rural Community Multipurpose Childhood Centre, that combined the preschool with daycare, as a trial to see how the two entities could work together.

Lindy was appointed its director and joined the president of the Parkes Preschool at the time, now Parkes' mayor Ken Keith OAM - who was present at Wednesday's celebration - in travelling the state advocating and seeking funding to merge the two under the one roof.

PECC patron and former chair of the building committee more than 30 years ago, Rosemary Morris, also present on Wednesday, said that daycare in Parkes was suffering dreadfully at the time because it wasn't receiving enough funding.

"While the preschool was doing okay," she said.

"We decided as a community to go under the wing of the preschool... The government was doing the multipurpose centres so we applied.

"It all came together at the same time."

Cr Keith added "we just wanted funding organised and to have the kids treated the same... [and] given the best possible care".

Fundraising began, which included many art shows, to cover the costs of the funding shortfall to have the Parkes Preschool's building extended to accommodate the childhood centre and the employment of staff.

"We raised $80,000 in one year to build the long daycare centre," Cr Keith said.

PECC committee president Craig Smith - who's been on the committee for about 13 years - said the centre was still going strong after 65 years.

The new logo resembles PECC's next stage, looking to the future.

"We wanted to modernise our logo and find a logo to truly reflect the essence of PECC," acting director Colette Genet-Marks said.

She said it was 18 months in the planning and involved the help of staff, parents and community members.

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