Kindy kids' big adventure

THE big school adventure began yesterday for Coffs Coast children entering kindergarten and some local schools are experiencing a significant increase in enrolments.

Oliver Caesar, aged five, started at Bishop Druitt College yesterday and embarrassed his mother by revealing his lunchbox contained ‘one of daddy’s birthday chocolates'.

Mum Rachel Caesar was keen to emphasise the lunchbox also contained fruit and water, banana muffins the pair had cooked together the day previously, and the chocolate was merely a first-day ‘treat.’

“I snuck in a little chocolate as a surprise,” Ms Caesar said.

“It’s very exciting,” she said of her oldest child starting school. Most kindergarten students were born during a mini baby boom following federal treasurer Peter Costello’s 2004 plea for families to have ‘three children – one for mum, one for dad and one for the country’.

The appeal and accompanying increase in maternity benefits is credited with a much-heralded national spike in 2005 births.

As a local government area, Coffs Harbour went against the national trend, recording 658 births in 2005, 31 fewer births than in 2004 and 63 fewer births than three years earlier.

At Bishop Druitt College yesterday there were no indications of the national mini baby boom of 2005.

“We still have the same two-and-a-half kindergarten classes we always have,” said school head of primary, Graeme Naftel. “It allows us to maintain those small classes that are so important in the early years.”

Increased kindergarten sizes were noticed at Kororo, Sawtell, Coffs Harbour and St Augustine’s primary schools, although other schools reported unchanged kindergarten enrolments.

“We’re up to nearly 60, which is a substantial increase and we’re looking at having at least three kindergarten classes, which is a great improvement on last year,” principal Peter Hickey said.

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