New Early Learning initiative to help ease childcare shortage

A new purpose-built early learning facility at St Paul’s Catholic School in Bridgewater opened its doors in February. Ludo is a CatholicCare initiative which was developed in partnership with Catholic Education Tasmania. Named after the Latin word for ‘I play’, Ludo is a new play based learning and care environment for children and their families, with the design to support children’s transition to school.

The centre caters to children aged 3-5, offering a play-based learning program. The centre provides short and long day options, before and after school care, and vacation care.

Play in action

Toni, a community and family engagement officer at Ludo, supports families whose children need help with learning and adjusting to a structured environment. Kristy Gilroy, a lead educator at the centre, makes sure that Ludo is a democratic space for children. “We recognise that children are competent and creative and that they have a right to participate in the process of learning,” Kristy said. “We view children as unique and promote a collaborative process in our journey together. We gauge the children’s interests, and plan our activities based on that.”

Ludo is a valuable addition to the area but may not quite ease the demand for parents living in Brighton. According to a 2022 report released by the Mitchell Institute and Victoria University, 61% of Tasmanians live in an area with an acute childcare shortage, with Brighton being named as the local government area with the lowest childcare availability.