New campaign to ensure South Australian children have the best start in life

SA Gov

South Australia’s largest campaign to nurture baby and toddler development starts today, delivering on a key recommendation from the Royal Commission into Early Childhood Education.

The Malinauskas Labor Government will support the development of the next generation of young South Australians with more than $4 million to expand early literacy programs.

It follows the release of the Royal Commission into Early Childhood Education and Care handed down by Royal Commissioner Julia Gillard last year that recommended the expansion of the Words Grow Minds initiative.

The Words Grow Minds campaign was an initiative of the Department for Education’s Early Learning Strategy and provides messaging to parents of young children about how best to support their child’s development in the first 1000 days.

Words Grow Minds will be rolled out across the state for parents, carers and service providers of children aged 0-3, after successful and independently evaluated trials in Mount Gambier and Whyalla.

Words Grow Minds is backed by the latest research on early childhood development, with input from practitioners, literacy experts, researchers and service providers who collaborated to create the campaign.

The colourful characters ‘Bobble and Bib’ will lead the multimedia advertising campaign with simple, consistent messaging around the life-changing benefits of talking, playing, reading, and singing to babies and toddlers.

Words Grow Minds is backed with free resources and tools for parents, carers and service providers, including 21,000 baby book packs and a new website packed with ideas.

Led by Kate Ellis, the CEO of Raising Literacy Australia and Chair of the Early Years Taskforce, Words Grow Minds has been created to reverse a worrying trend facing South Australian young children.

Data from the Australian Early Development Census shows nearly one in four South Australian children are starting school developmentally vulnerable on one or more developmental domains.

The Malinauskas Government announced last year it will adopt the very first recommendation in the report to reduce the rate of South Australian children entering school developmentally vulnerable from 23.8 per cent to 15 per cent within 20 years – well below the national average of 22 per cent.

As put by Peter Malinauskas

The early years make the biggest difference to a child’s opportunities throughout life.

It’s for that reason my Government is investing a significant and discrete effort into those years.

We’ve already begun the work towards delivering three-year-old preschool, the biggest reform to early childhood education South Australia has ever seen.

And this is another important step.

If we can lift the outcomes for young children, it will deliver significant social and economic dividends for generations to come.

As put by Blair Boyer

Early intervention before a child starts school, goes a long way to support social and emotional wellbeing, as well as cognitive and language skills.

By targeting supports, we can ensure the most significant outcomes.

South Australia has always been a leader in education reform and I’m proud to lead the national and international conversation in the early years.

As put by Kate Ellis

We cannot ignore the fact that South Australian children’s development is behind the national average before they even start school.

The research is clear, with up to 85 per cent of brain development occurring in a child’s first three years, increasing positive interactions with young children will improve outcomes throughout their entire lives.

From the Glenelg tram, to the Roxby Downs library, childcare centres in the South East and everywhere in between, Bobble and Bib will be spreading the word to talk, play, read and sing to your baby.

As put by Dr Mary Brushe, Senior Research Officer, Telethon Kids Institute

Telethon Kids Institute’s vision is to improve the health and development of all children, and so we have been thrilled to work together with Raising Literacy Australia to understand the impact the Words Grow Minds campaign has on the South Australian community in bringing awareness to the critical early years of development.

We know from the research that those first three years of life are fundamental when it comes to children’s brain development, setting them up for success in school and beyond.

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