Hub is help­ing young chil­dren

McIvor Times - - NEWS -

HEATH­COTE’S Chil­dren’s Hub – Bun­bunarik – re­cently launched the 2018 Early Years Lan­guage and Lit­er­acy pro­gram, aimed at sup­port­ing chil­dren in their for­ma­tive years.

The pro­gram is the first of a se­ries of ser­vices to be rolled out in Heath­cote in the fu­ture.

Ac­cord­ing to sta­tis­tics from the Aus­tralian Early De­vel­op­ment Cen­sus (AEDC), the City of Greater Bendigo has more chil­dren who are vul­ner­a­ble with their lit­er­acy and lan­guage skills than the state av­er­age.

How­ever, di­rectly in Heath­cote, the prob­lem gets even worse.

In­cred­i­bly, 17.4 per cent of Heath­cote chil­dren head to school show­ing signs of lan­guage chal­lenges – which is a whop­ping 10.5 per cent higher than the rest of the Bendigo re­gion.

Our chil­dren are also strug­gling when it comes to com­mu­ni­ca­tion skills, with 11 per cent of Heath­cote chil­dren strug­gling at school, which is four per cent higher than the Bendigo av­er­age.

“It is with­out a doubt one of the first pri­or­i­ties and chal­lenges of any com­mu­nity is how we sup­port our chil­dren and in par­tic­u­lar sup­port our chil­dren in those early for­ma­tive years,” John Bon­nice, Joint Man­ager Com­mu­ni­ties for Chil­dren Bendigo said.

“Clearly a key fo­cus of the early years has to be on the lan­guage and lit­er­acy de­vel­op­ment of chil­dren in the first five years of life.

The Heath­cote com­mu­nity has taken up this chal­lenge and the launch of the Bun­bunarik Early Years Lan­guage and Lit­er­acy pro­gram is a re­ally im­por­tant step.”

The Early Years Lan­guage and Lit­er­acy pro­gram has been de­vel­oped in part­ner­ship with Com­mu­ni­ties for Chil­dren Bendigo and in col­lab­o­ra­tion with Cen­tral Gold­fields Li­brary.

It of­fers a num­ber of free pro­grams and ini­tia­tives in lan­guage and lit­er­acy.

Free lit­er­acy cham­pi­ons train­ing will be con­ducted, aimed at par­ents, car­ers and com­mu­nity mem­bers.

The train­ing will of­fer in­for­ma­tion on brain and lan­guage de­vel­op­ment for chil­dren aged 0-5 years, tips on build­ing in­ter­ac­tive read­ing with young chil­dren and ideas on how to pro­mote lit­er­acy and lan­guage in the early years.

Two ses­sions will be held on June 18 and 19. Each ses­sion will be two hours long with free child mind­ing avail­able.

Book Box Li­braries will be lo­cated around Heath­cote.

At these li­braries, good qual­ity pre-loved books are made avail­able for free, to en­cour­age chil­dren to read.

If your busi­ness or or­gan­i­sa­tion would like one of our Book Box Li­braries please let the Chil­dren’s Hub know.

Let’s Read kits will be de­liv­ered to fam­i­lies to­gether with ad­di­tional sup­ports for fam­i­lies to build the skills of par­ents in sup­port­ing their chil­dren’s read­ing.

The com­mu­nity is get­ting be­hind the push for bet­ter lan­guage and lit­er­acy, with Man­dalay Re­sources pro­vid­ing 50 Heath­cote chil­dren be­tween the ages of 0-5 a free book monthly in the post, for the next 3 years.

Keep an eye out for the many more pro­grams and ser­vices be­ing planned.

To re­ceive a copy of our pro­gram or to find out more in­for­ma­tion con­tact San­dra Slatter, Chair of the Heath­cote Com­mu­nity Chil­dren’s Ser­vices As­so­ci­a­tion, 0417 250 911 or email sd­s­lat­ter@gmail.com.

Plenty of Heath­cote lo­cals turned up for the launch of the Chil­dren’s Hub 2018 Lan­guage and Lit­er­acy Pro­gram.

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