Children’s Language and Literacy Project

The issue of low literacy amongst many children in Bendigo is of great concern to C4C. In partnership with Bendigo Health and other key stakeholders, C4C has developed an Early Years Literacy and Language Development Strategy for Bendigo.

Aims

  • To support the implementation of the Children’s Language and Literacy Plan in conjunction with the C4C Facilitating Partner and agencies.
  • To build awareness of children’s language and literacy needs amongst families experiencing vulnerability, Aboriginal families and within the wider community.
  • Develop processes and structures that ensure all families with newborns have access to information and resources to support their children’s language and literacy development.

Rationale for Project

The second edition of the State of Bendigo’s Children Report (2013) highlights that Bendigo’s children, particularly those in the 0-5 age group, rate lower than the Victorian average on a number of developmental indicators, including their language, cognitive skills, communication and general knowledge (by age 6). Since the first report (2011) there has also been a decrease in the reading standards of children in Years 3 and 5. Within Greater Bendigo, there are certain suburbs (generally those with a higher level of socio-economic disadvantage) where children have literacy and language skills that are significantly lower than the Victorian or Greater Bendigo average.

The issue of poor literacy levels and language skills amongst many children in parts of Greater Bendigo has been of great concern to Communities for Children. When children don’t develop strong literacy and language skills in the early years, the impact on future educational attainment and employment outcomes are significant. However, the impacts are not confined to education and employment outcomes. A lack of strong early literacy and language skills in children has been linked to poor socio-economic wellbeing and health outcomes into adulthood. This, consequently, impacts significantly on the social and economic strength of communities and organisations.

To help address the issue of poor language skills and literacy levels amongst many children in Bendigo, Communities for Children has instigated the development of a Children’s Language and Literacy Plan for the City of Greater Bendigo. www.ncgrl.vic.gov.au/C4C-early-years-literacy

The Children’s Language and Literacy Project worker will support the implementation of the Children’s Language and Literacy Plan with a particular focus on building community awareness of children’s language and literacy needs and how families can support their children’s language and literacy development.

One of the actions identified within the strategy was the development of an early years literacy resource website for parents, support workers and the broader community. This website is now live and can be found at:

http://bendigoreads.com.au/

Project Outcomes

  • Develop processes and structures that ensure all families with newborns have access to information and resources to support their children’s language and literacy development.
  • Build community awareness of children’s language and literacy development and needs.
  • Enable vulnerable children and families particularly those linked to family support and placement prevention services are provided with information and resources on children’s language and literacy development.

Project Actions

  • Development and collation of children’s language and literacy resources.
  • Development of a children’s language and literacy website that families, services and the community can access for resources and supports around children language and literacy development.
  • In conjunction with the Communities for Children Facilitating Partner develop a community awareness campaign on children’s language and literacy development and needs.
  • Work with ante-natal and post-natal services to ensure all families have access to information and resources on children’s language and literacy development.
  • Work with family support agencies and tertiary services on how they can support children’s language and literacy development amongst the families they support.

If you would like to find out more or get involved, please contact:

Sandra Harvey
Language and Literacy Worker Bendigo Health

p. 03 5454 7188
e. shharvey@bendigohealth.org.au
Days of work: Tues, Wed, Thurs

Melinda Charlesworth
Chief Speech Pathologist, Manager of Audiology, HCCC

Bendigo Health
p. 03 5454 7162 or 03 5454 9220
m. 0427 525 768
e: MCharlesworth@bendigohealth.org.au
Work days: Monday – Thursday

Sue King-Smith
Program Manager, Community Capacity Building Unit
p: 03 5430 1200
m: 0428536802
e: sue.king-smith@anglicarevic.org.au
Days: Mon and Thur (every second Wednesday)