The Wimmera Southern Mallee’s award-winning early years project BY FIVE, supported by the Andrews Labor Government, is helping children and their families in the region connect to the right services before starting school.
Minister for Regional Development Jaclyn Symes today visited the Kalkee Road Children’s and Community Centre, which has been participating in the initiative launched through the Labor Government’s Wimmera Southern Mallee Regional Partnership.
The program works with children and their families moving from early years and pre-school education, making sure they have a smooth transition into primary education, no matter where they live.
To make sure all families in the region have the best possible learning experience and can be connected to all the services and resources they need, the program has five project clusters in Horsham, Donald, Dimboola, Hindmarsh and Yarriambiack.
In Horsham, a transition group with representatives from local schools and early childhood education has examined how children and their parents view the school transition experience and how it could be even smoother.
Thanks to the group, local children moving from kindergarten to primary school are now provided with transition statements to support the change, which builds better connections between kinder teachers and local schools in the area.
Parents are also invited to attend forums and provide feedback online on what families need to know about the transition.
The BY FIVE project is one of the first Wimmera Southern Mallee Regional Partnership-driven projects and is made possible by the Department of Education and Training and the Department of Health and Human Services, with support from the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute.
Earlier this year, BY FIVE won the Continuity of Early Learning award at the Victorian Government Early Years Award for its collaborative approach to early years innovation.
Three-year-olds in the Hindmarsh, Yarriambiack and Northern Grampians areas will have access to free kindergarten from 2020 thanks to the Labor Government, with all other local government areas to follow by 2022.
As noted by Minister for Regional Development Jaclyn Symes
“The years from kindergarten to the start of primary school are some of the most essential in a child’s education – the BY FIVE program is making sure kids across Wimmera Southern Mallee have the best start to school, no matter where they live.”
“The BY FIVE initiative is another excellent example of the Regional Partnerships facilitating a program to help tackle a priority issue identified specifically by locals for their communities.”