Western Australia Minister for Culture and Arts John Day
Western Australia Minister for Regional Development Brendon Grylls
Research Backs Government Funding Boost For Better Beginnings
Victor P Taffa
Latest research into Better Beginnings has shown the program is successful in improving literacy practices among parents and families, to the benefit of Western Australian children.
At the launch of the next stage of Better Beginnings today, Culture and the Arts Minister John Day said he was delighted the State Government was investing an additional $6.12 Million into expanding the successful program across the State.
“The research showed that 92 % of parents surveyed indicated their toddler now asks for a book to be read and that 84 % of parents now read to their toddler more often.” Mr. Day said.
“These are outstanding results and show that Better Beginnings is improving literacy practices by actively encouraging parents and other family members to make the time to read to their children, and that they are reading to their children more often. I’m also very pleased that the program links families to library resources and services.”
“The State Government ‘s four-year funding boost of $6.12 Million, which includes $1.628 Million in 2010-11, will improve and expand the Better Beginnings program across the State.”
“Some additional funding will be used to develop Stage Two for four and five-year-old children – so far this year a Better Beginnings pilot program for these ages has delivered high-quality picture books and reading packs to 6,500 children in kindergartens and pre-primary schools across the State.”
Regional Development Minister Brendon Grylls said the funding boost included a four-year commitment from Royalties for Regions.
“Over four years, $2.8 Million from the State Government’s Royalties for Regions program will be allocated to ensure this important program reaches children in Western Australia’s rural and remote communities.” Mr. Grylls said.
“From its humble beginning as a pilot targeting six metropolitan and regional communities, Better Beginnings should soon reach most babies born in the State.”
Better Beginnings has been a joint partnership between State and local governments and Rio Tinto’s WA Future Fund since 2005. Rio Tinto has invested $710,000 in the program.
“As a company that has been operating in WA for more than forty years, Rio Tinto is committed to contributing to a stronger and more sustainable Western Australia.” Rio Tinto Chief Executive Sam Walsh said.
“We recognise that the education and health of our State is a shared responsibility and that every single child born should have equal access to books and literacy skills.”
“Improved literacy among the State’s youngest generation leads to increased opportunities for success at school and later life.”
The independent study of Better Beginnings was conducted by Edith Cowan University and is based on 2009 data.
Additional Better Beginnings Information
Better Beginnings for children aged birth to three years is delivered by libraries and community health centres and includes:
- Delivery of gift bags containing a board book, nursery rhyme frieze, poster, booklist and information about reading and library membership, to parents of newborns;
- Baby rhyme and story sessions hosted by libraries;
- Family reading centres in libraries with parenting information, children’s books and early literacy resources;
- Parent information sessions on nutrition, sleep and play presented in collaboration with other community agencies;
- Storytime boxes containing books, puppets, felt board sets, musical instruments and story sacks available for loan from libraries to child-care centres, playgroups and other community groups;
- Support for practitioners delivering the program through training and handbooks.
The Better Beginnings 2010 pilot for children aged four and five years is currently being trialled in 22 metropolitan and regional communities and 23 remote communities in the State. The pilot program provides a range of resources, at no cost, to families, schools and libraries in participating communities, including:
- Better Beginnings reading packs for families with a gift picture book, a reader folder, recommended books, a reading passport and information on reading aloud and accessing books and information safely online;
- Discovery Backpacks available from public libraries for families to borrow. Each backpack contains picture books, audio-books, literacy skill development games, puppets and information linked to key learning areas in the curriculum;
- Read-aloud book sets for use in classroom settings and sharing in the home will be available for loan from public libraries;
- Electronic books and a web-based literacy program will be free for parents and children to use together on the internet.
Editor Victor P Taffa did not have A Grade marks while at school. During the teenage years many books were read that in turn improved grammar and vocabulary.
Many years later while studying Journalism via correspondence Victor P Taffa managed to achieve A Grade marks.
School Education should provide students with a good grounding of knowledge but more importantly teachers should encourage students to be self motivated to learn.