Giv­ing kids the best start in life

Western Suburbs Weekly - - Business - By SO­PHIE GABRIELLE

AN oc­cu­pa­tional ther­a­pist and speech pathol­o­gist have teamed up to cre­ate a pro­gram that pre­pares chil­dren for kinder­garten.

Ned­lands oc­cu­pa­tional ther­a­pist Melissa Dove and her cousin Anthea Martin de­vel­oped the pro­gram for three to four year-olds af­ter notic­ing that many chil­dren were en­ter­ing kinder­garten with­out the nec­es­sary speech, lan- guage and mo­tor skills.

The Up and Away Learn­ing Pro­gram will start in Fe­bru­ary and classes will have a max­i­mum of 15 chil­dren.

Ms Dove said she be­lieved in “kids be­ing kids” but some chil­dren needed more at­ten­tion.

“The ex­pec­ta­tions at kindy are grow­ing year by year and chil­dren who haven’t de­vel­oped the age­ex­pected skills are fall­ing be­hind at the get go,” she said.

Ms Martin said as well as learn­ing new skills, the pro­gram al­lowed chil­dren to get used to sep­a­rat­ing from their par­ents and de­velop so­cial skills to give them con­fi­dence, re­silience and self­es­teem.

“We are pas­sion­ate about com­bin­ing the prin­ci­ples of speech pathol­ogy and oc­cu­pa­tional ther­apy in a fun and en­gag­ing en­vi­ron­ment to sup­port chil­dren,” she said.

Pic­ture: Matt Jelonek­mu­ni­ d432425

Oc­cu­pa­tional ther­a­pist Melissa Dove with Ju­lia, who is tak­ing part in the Oc­cu­pa­tional and Speech Pathlogy pro­gram.

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