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Waterford Preschool Parents Left Stranded by Closure

By Nicola Smith on December 2, 2020 in News

Waverley College, what have you done? Photo: Mel Archer

Despite numerous attempts by the community to save it, Waterford Preschool on Henrietta Street, Waverley, will be closing for good at the end of 2020. The preschool has been running in the same location for fifty years.
Waverley College, the owners of the privately run preschool, announced its closure in September, citing aims to use the space for the mental wellbeing of its older students. In a statement from the college, a spokesperson said that the decision was made in line with the school’s broader aims.
“Due to limitations with heritage listings, a greater need for space and to cater for an increased focus on our wellbeing programs and learning spaces, the difficult decision to repurpose the preschool space was made,” the spokesperson told The Beast.
While many parents acknowledge that this is a good use of the space, there was concern over the lack of community consultation in the decision-making process.
Alicia Caplice, a parent at Waterford Preschool, said she understands the school’s motivations but disagrees with its methods.
“They need the space and say it’s for the mental health of their students, and we applaud that,” Ms Caplice explained to The Beast, “but we just wanted the time to work out another option for our kids and this great institution.”
Many parents have also been left stranded trying to find options for their children next year, with some parents facing no other choice but to enrol their children into primary school a year early.
Ms Caplice shared this sentiment, explaining that most parents have been unable to find a place for their children in 2021 due to long waiting lists at similar preschools.
“I called a few local preschools and they just laughed at me. There’s no hope for kids getting in next year,” she lamented.
Waterford was a special preschool because it did not use waiting lists but rather took enrolments after children turned two. It also catered for children with special needs and was often recommended to parents by staff at the Prince of Wales Hospital.
Because of these practices, parents tried to lobby to keep the school open or find a new home, but ultimately there was insufficient time before the end of the school year.
One source told The Beast that 90 per cent of current parents had said they would come on board if the preschool found a new location.
Julie Jensen, another Waterford parent, said that the legacy of the preschool would lie in the dedication of its staff.
“We go to the school because of the staff, they go above and beyond and the kids get such a good baseline of what it means to be a great human being from them,” Ms Jensen told The Beast.
Waverley College’s decision is yet another blow to community short day preschools in the Eastern Suburbs, with Kanga’s House at UNSW and another preschool in Dover Heights having also closed this year.
After fifty years, Waterford has left a legacy with many Eastern Suburbs residents. If you have any memories of Waterford, or would like to rant about the community preschool situation, please send an email to