Debates Day 6 - Thursday 19 October 2017
Parliamentary Record 8
Debates for 13th Assembly 2016 - 2018; ParliamentNT; Parliamentary Record; 13th Assembly 2016 - 2020
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Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory
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Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory
DEBATES Thursday 19 October 2017 2732 preschool for 15 hours or more each week. Regular attendance at preschool and other early learning programs gives children the stimulation they need for a strong start at school, an opportunity to interact with peers and develop positive social skills, and establishes patterns of behaviour that support regular school attendance. We can all understand that. If your little one is going to preschool every day, they get into the habitall the behaviours such as sharing, playing and working together, lining up, sitting down, pre-reading activities, songs and rhymes. Those are skills children need for future schooling. They are developing those skills early. That is about families understanding that preschool is something children go to every day to develop those habits, so when they start formal schooling those habits are ingrained. At times children and families need support as they transition from one service to another. For some children and families starting preschool or school can be very unsettling or scary. For a child who may have attachment issues or is anxious, we understand how difficult it can be for them to leave their family for a few hours and go to preschool. It is good to have Families as First Teachers as an interim step for little ones. The new Northern Territory early childhood transitioning package has been developed to support children and families transition from home or early learning programs, such as FaFT or childcare, to preschool and school. The package recognises that childrens readiness for preschool and school is a shared responsibility between families, communities and schools. Families that are engaged and informed, schools that are welcoming, and communities and s ervices that value and support children and families all contribute to children being confident and capable learners at school. It is about the child being ready, but it is also about the school being ready for that child. Through our quality standards, how do we make sure those learning environments are welcoming to families and children? We are also investing in integrated child and family services to provide a one -stop shop for families with young children. Child and family centres provide a range of early childhood education and care services, maternal health services, adult education and family support programs. These centres are operating in Yuendumu, Maningrida, Palmerston, Ngukurr, Gunbalanya and Alice Springs. During my visits to schools I have prioritised visits to child and family centres. Each one is different based on the needs of the children and families attending the service, as well as the local community. In each community they have central locations for the delivery of early learning, parenting support, and health services for children and families. The facilities and programs are there, but child and family centres can also work with families and the community to offer unique programs that suit the community. The child and family centre i n Palmerston runs a program for young mums where they can do Certificate I and II level courses. That is a great addition for the Palmerston community. The young mums can have their kids in childcare while they study. Two or three weeks ago I was at Larapinta, the new centre in Alice Springs, and what a stunning and amazing facility it is. The Member for Braitling spoke about it recently in an adjournment. It was lovely to visit that facility and see the kids and families so happy. The Member for Arnhem has spoken about the one in Maningrida and how lovely it is. We were there with the Minister for Children, and she had little Grace with her. It was great to see the resources and quality programs there. The one at Yuendumu has a baby changing area. It gets very cold there, so it was lovely for young mums to be able to take their baby into a heated changing area. That was needed in the community. When I was at the Child and Family Centre at Ngukurr with the Member for Arnhem they were holding a cooking program to teach mums and dads about cooking big, healthy meals for their families. Each of these centres have wonderful buildings with wonderful resources, and they develop and deliver programs that are priorities in those communities. During my travels to schools in the Territory, I have visited all these centres. Each one is based on the needs of the children and families attending the service. But in each community they are in central locations for the delivery of early learning, parenting support and health services. I acknowledge the concerns raised by the Member for Spillett regarding hearing loss and its impact on a childs education. Hearing loss is an important area of childrens health that needs to be addressed, as it can have a devastating effect on a childs learning and future life opportunities. I reassure the Member for Spillett
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