Census shows benefit of early learning skills

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TO BORROW from book terminology, there will be a lot of “lively reads” in High St, Hastings at the end of the month.

As part of the town’s second annual book day traders will dress as book characters and read stories to pre-school and prep pupils.

The pupils and their teachers will also be dressed as characters from books as they visit shops and businesses between 10am and 11.30 on Tuesday 29 August.

Shop fronts will be decorated in book themes and students will also read to young pupils who will be touring the street with their teachers.

The book day is being organised by the Hastings’ Linking School and Early Years (LSEY) partnership, now in its 11th year.

The latest three-yearly Australian Early Development Census shows that the number of Hastings children vulnerable in the area of language and cognitive skills has decreased by 19.1 per cent, compared with a 0.2 per cent increase across the state.

The census measures the development of Australian students in key areas early in their first year of primary schooling.

“This amazing result has been brought about in large part by the whole town approach developed by Hastings’ LSEY partnership,” former principal at St Mary’s Primary School Richard Mucha said.

He said the town’s three primary schools, five pre-schools and other organisations had recently celebrated “the enormous social and academic gains made by young children in Hastings” with a Let’s Get Together Day.

Members of the LSEY include the primary schools, five early learning centres, Good Shepherd, Hastings Community Health, Biala, Western Port Secondary College, Mornington Peninsula Shire Council, Hastings Western Port Rotary Club, businesses and volunteers. “LSEY’s philosophy is: It takes a village to raise a child. If a child lives in Hastings, they are our joint responsibility,” Mr Mucha said.

Staff from the various organisations undertake professional learning with each other, plan together and work in each other’s schools and offices to develop strategies which are then implemented in each of the town’s early learning centres and schools.

“When a village takes on the responsibility of raising a child, the whole village gains,” Mr Mucha said.

First published in the Western Port News – 8 August 2017

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