(11am, Thursday 6 November 2014, 33-49 Sussex Street)
Thank you, [MC]. Good morning, everyone.
It's quite a thrill to see a second Montessori Academy opening in the heart of our City. It's the 16th Montessori school to open in Sydney, and we already have one in King Street.
There is a huge and growing need for early education and care in the City, as evidence by the numbers of working families which have been rising steadily for two decades and the City is acting to deal with that.
From early 2016, there will be at least 240 new child-care spaces for babies and children after the City approved three new centres across the LGA.
In addition to these, construction has already begun on our 60-place centre in Darlinghurst and we're working on the design of a new centre in Green Square.
In all, we're investing $33 million in these new centres because child care is essential for working parents. We're also encouraging the creation of child-care centres in new developments.
There's not just a need for child-care, but for high-quality education and care which encourages and supports children to learn and develop. It also helps parents by allowing them - especially the mothers! - to retain their skills and not to suffer the career disruptions that long periods out of the workforce inevitably entail.
But of course parents want the confidence that they will be entrusting their children to the best care and teaching available.
The fact that this centre already has a waiting list of 300 for its 90 places suggests people have confidence in the Montessori name.
The environment provides children with easily accessible materials and the program itself caters for language enrichment, social skills, practical life exercise, sensorial materials, art and craft, science, mathematics and cultural area.
The Montessori claim is that it supports children's independence, concentration and self-discipline - attributes which are important to develop from childhood.
I'm really delighted to see it open. We want Sydney to be welcoming and accessible for everyone - and that includes parents and their children.
So I look forward to the contribution that the school, its teachers and parents, will make to the life of the City. I wish it all the very best.