Preparing young children to be school ready

Through your donations, Ardoch Youth Foundation is supporting children’s literacy, language and learning development in the early years to help them be school ready, supporting their transition into primary school.

Vulnerable young children in disadvantaged communities are twice as likely as those from the least disadvantaged areas to start school behind. Australian Early Development Census (AEDC) results for Geelong showed that 17.8% of children starting school were developmentally vulnerable on one or more domains but this is significantly higher in Corio at 31.8% and in Norlane/North shore at 39.0% The AEDC domains are physical health and wellbeing; social competence; emotional maturity; language and cognitive skills; communication skills and general knowledge.

A $30,000 grant from the Give Where You Live Foundation enables Ardoch Youth Foundation to improve young children’s school readiness by provide targeted resources and learning opportunities for families and mobilise skilled volunteers to build young children’s literacy, language, communication, social and cognitive skills, and support their health and wellbeing.

One of the these volunteers is Bernie Warner, who supports young children and families at the playgroups at Northern Bay Family Centre in Corio, She has volunteered for three years, reading and playing with the children and engaging with the parents, many of whom are from the local Karen community.

Bernie says “I love spending time with children, playing and talking to them. The kids love to learn. The joy on their faces when they learn about colours, animals, new words and expressions is priceless.”

The children and families love spending time with Bernie, building their language and literacy skills and having great fun together.

As the Family Centre Director said, “The ongoing benefits of volunteer involvement in targeted early years programs contributes to evidence about changing the negative trajectory of social isolation and loneliness experienced by many new parents.”