Pledge for PEEP

Benalla Ensign - - VICTORIAN STATE ELECTION 2018 -

Early learn­ing and lit­er­acy for Benalla’s youngest res­i­dents will be given a big boost if the Na­tion­als are elected to government in Novem­ber.

State Mem­ber for Euroa Steph Ryan vis­ited Benalla on Fri­day to an­nounce that if elected the Na­tion­als will pro­vide $1 mil­lion to Benalla’s To­mor­row To­day Foun­da­tion to sup­port the suc­cess­ful Par­ents’ Early Ed­u­ca­tion Part­ner­ship (PEEP) pro­gram over the next four years.

Ms Ryan said she was ex­cited to back To­mor­row To­day in their work sup­port­ing fam­i­lies from Benalla and sur­rounds in nur­tur­ing early ed­u­ca­tion out­comes for young fam­i­lies and cre­at­ing a stronger, more re­silient com­mu­nity.

‘‘Any­one who knows To­mor­row To­day knows what fan­tas­tic work they do in Benalla,’’ Ms Ryan said.

‘‘One of the most suc­cess­ful and im­por­tant pro­grams To­mor­row To­day of­fers is the Par­ents’ Early Ed­u­ca­tion Part­ner­ship pro­gram, which is run for chil­dren up to the age of five and their par­ents.

‘‘Ses­sions in­volve singing, en­joy­ing rhymes, read­ing sto­ries and hav­ing fun with ac­tiv­i­ties that teach them dif­fer­ent skills and in­clude spe­cial ‘talk time’ where par­ents ex­plore top­ics re­lated to child de­vel­op­ment and par­ent­ing.

‘‘The PEEP pro­gram also links fam­i­lies into lo­cal ser­vices and groups, and the wider com­mu­nity, in­clud­ing in­for­ma­tion and ad­vice ses­sions and reg­u­lar so­cial out­ings to lo­cal des­ti­na­tions like the lib- rary, aquatic cen­tre and gar­dens.’’

Ms Ryan said the sup­port would lift early ed­u­ca­tion in Benalla, which had been iden­ti­fied as one of 20 pri­or­ity lo­cal government areas where work was needed to make sure kids were ready to start pri­mary school.

‘‘The rate of vul­ner­a­bil­ity in Benalla is dou­ble that of the state av­er­age,’’ Ms Ryan said.

‘‘Benalla’s rate of vul­ner­a­bil­ity is 20 per cent, com­pared to the state av­er­age of 9.9 per cent. Where you live should not de­ter­mine your fu­ture.

‘‘The Na­tion­als un­der­stand the im­por­tance of giv­ing the lit­tlest peo­ple in our com­mu­nity the best op­por­tu­ni­ties from day one, so they can thrive and pre­pare for life and learn­ing.

‘‘The PEEP pro­gram en­cour­ages chil­dren to ex­plore, play, prob­lem solve, read, sing and so­cialise in a group en­vi­ron­ment and it cre­ates sup­port net­works for par­ents within their com­mu­ni­ties.

‘‘I am in­cred­i­bly proud to be able to sup­port this pro­gram if we are elected to government.’’

The PEEP pro­gram will be funded from the Lib­eral Na­tion­als’ $16 mil­lion early language and lit­er­acy grants pro­gram.

Grant prom­ise: State Mem­ber for Euroa Steph Ryan joined Lib­eral Vic­to­rian Leg­isla­tive Coun­cil can­di­date Brad Hearn in Benalla on Fri­day to an­nounce that if the Coali­tion is elected in Novem­ber it will sup­port To­mor­row To­day’s PEEP pro­gram with a $1 mil­lion grant.

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