Hub is helping young children

June 14, 2018

Plenty of locals turned up to launch of the Children Hub's Language and Literacy Program

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 [email protected].

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