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Education

Enhanced Support for Early Childhood Health and Development Checks

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Health and Development Checks in Early Childhood Education (HDC) Program

Enhanced Support for Early Childhood Health and Development Checks

 

Early childhood education and care providers are being encouraged to avail themselves of grants aimed at facilitating free health and development checks for 4-year-olds.

In collaboration with NSW Health, the NSW Department of Education is spearheading the Health and Development Checks in Early Childhood Education (HDC) Program, aimed at making these checks readily accessible to all 4-year-olds attending participating services, including public preschools, community preschools, and long-day care centres.

Recent data from the 2021 Australian Early Development Census (AEDC) revealed that over 44 percent of NSW children do not meet developmental milestones upon commencing school. Additionally, almost half of all 4-year-olds miss out on their recommended health and development assessments.

The HDC program represents a strategic investment, with local health district professionals teaming up with early childhood services to schedule these checks and identify any necessary support ahead of school entry. The assessments cover various aspects of children’s health and development, including cognitive, social, and emotional development, speech and communication skills, motor skills, and physical growth.

Health and Development Checks in Early Childhood Education (HDC) Program

Early childhood education and care providers are being encouraged to avail themselves of grants aimed at facilitating free health and development checks for 4-year-olds.

Furthermore, the HDC program aims to boost the proportion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children meeting developmental milestones across all five Australian Early Development Census domains to 55 percent by 2031, aligning with Closing the Gap target 4.

To facilitate the HDC program, the NSW Department of Education has allocated over $4 million to its HDC Participation Grant Program. This initiative aims to aid eligible services in accessing the HDC program more efficiently.

Eligible services participating in the HDC program in 2024 can apply for grant funding across three categories, with a total of up to $7,500 in available funds.

These categories include:

  1. Staffing support for the health and development checks program, such as providing relief for educators to complete pre-assessment questionnaires or support children during the checks.
  2. Space development for the health and development checks, including repurposing or refurbishing rooms within the service.
  3. Capacity-building initiatives to support children’s health and development post-check, such as attending workshops or completing training.

Interested services can check their eligibility for the Health and Development Checks in Early Childhood Education (HDC) Program grant and submit applications through the department’s website using the SmartyGrants platform. The application window closes on March 31, 2024.

 

For more Education news, click here.

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Education

Boosting Child Education: Kyogle and Federal Communities Gain from Fresh Initiative

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NSW-Northern-Rivers-Breaking-News

Boosting Child Education: Kyogle and Federal Communities Gain from Fresh Initiative

 

Kyogle and Federal are gearing up to enhance support for working families through expanded access to early childhood education and care, thanks to a new $20-million initiative known as the Flexible Initiatives Trial (FIT).

This program aims to tackle the obstacles faced by parents, particularly women, in joining the workforce by empowering early childhood education services to tailor their offerings and hours to suit local community needs.

Among the 16 grant recipients announced in the first round of successful applicants, Kyogle’s Bundgeam Preschool and the Federal Community Children’s Centre in the Byron Shire hinterland stand out as local beneficiaries.

State Member for Lismore, Janelle Saffin, expressed satisfaction with the inclusion of these services, emphasising the dedication of their educators and the positive impact the trial will have on the surrounding communities.

Ms. Saffin also highlighted the broader regional impact, noting that Yamba Early Learning Centre and Clarence Community Preschool in Grafton will also benefit from the program. For instance, the Grafton service will introduce weekend operations, catering to families’ needs beyond the usual weekday schedule.

The family-friendly enhancements offered through the FIT program include extending operating hours, flexible drop-off and pick-up times, options for occasional or ad hoc care, establishment of new family day care services in remote areas, and collaborations between different service types to provide comprehensive care.

This initiative is part of the NSW Labor Government’s ongoing commitment to supporting children and young families, exemplified by the unprecedented $769 million investment to construct 100 new public preschools across the state.

Additionally, $60 million has been allocated to build and upgrade preschools in 50 non-government schools, focusing on areas with the greatest need, along with $17 million for capital works in early childhood services.

Furthermore, the NSW Government is actively bolstering the early childhood workforce through a significant scholarship program, attracting a record number of applicants.

 

For more Kyogle news, click here.

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Casino NSW News

New $8 million learning centre for Casino students

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Mercy centre

New $8 million learning centre for Casino students

 

By Samantha Elley

There were a long list of dignitaries, community members, teachers and of course, the students who attended the opening of St Mary’s Catholic College, Casino’s refurbished building, called the Mercy Centre.

One key person missing was parish priest Father Peter Slack, who was recovering from an operation, but his words were read out by Aaron Beach, Regional Service Leader, Diocese of Lismore, Catholic Schools.

“It is a building that is spacious with natural light,” said Mr Beach on behalf of Fr Slack.

“It is a building which invites the world into its walls.”

Built on the site of the Sisters of Mercy, who were established in the 1880s, it is fitting that it has been named the Mercy Centre.

Mr Beach described it as a learning space with flexible learning areas that will foster creative and critical thinking.

The project included a complete refurbishment of the previous block.

The new facility includes a number of general learning classrooms, four state-of-the-art STEM science labs, open learning spaces, study pods, canteen, gymnasium and an auditorium- style seating, referred to as the Learning Commons.

Bishop of Lismore, Gregory Homeming gave the blessing which included the people, the building and the plaque.

“I am blessing more than a building,” he said.

“But I am blessing you.”

With that, he sprinkled holy water on all in attendance, giving a double dose to the politicians who he felt needed the extra kick.

Finally, the plaque was unveiled by NSW Senator, the Hon Jenny McAllister, Assistant Minister for Climate Change and Energy.

“I understand the building has already been in use for some months,” she said.

“It is an enhancing experience that you all have here.”

The total project cost $8,394,000, with $3,600,000 contributed to by the Australian Government.

Other dignitaries in attendance included Member for Page, Kevin Hogan, Member for Clarence Richie Williamson, Richmond Valley mayor Robert Mustow and Director of Catholic Schools, Adam Spencer.

 

For more Casino news, click here.

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Education

Tenterfield, Murwillumbah TAFE share over $300,000 in upgrades

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Tenterfield and Murwillumbah TAFE upgrade

Tenterfield, Murwillumbah TAFE share over $300,000 in upgrades

 

LISMORE MP Janelle Saffin has welcomed a NSW Government investment of over $300,000 in improving technology and infrastructure at Tenterfield and Murwillumbah TAFE NSW campuses.

Ms Saffin said the investment is part of a $300-million state-wide program delivering upgraded facilities and equipment to more than 120 TAFE NSW campuses across the state this financial year.

The funding includes:

  • TAFE NSW Tenterfield: $150,000 for improved network connectivity and Wi-Fi upgrades; $60,000 for replacement of 26 digital devices; and $14,000 for signage and general maintenance.
  • TAFE NSW Murwillumbah: $40,000 for 15 new digital devices; $70,000 for asset renewal, including lift replacement and building upgrades.

The funding is part of the NSW Government’s record $2.131-billion investment in TAFE NSW through the 2023-24 state budget.

Ms Saffin said:

“TAFE creates great vocational and life opportunities for students across all ages.

“I often say to students TAFE can and does change lives,” Ms Saffin said.

“I love TAFE and it is important that it remains the primary provider for the delivery of VET in our local area and indeed state-wide.”

Minister for Skills, TAFE and Tertiary Education, Steve Whan said:

“Students and teachers need to have functional classrooms and access to industry-standard equipment.

“Stories of neglected classrooms, poor Wi-Fi connectivity, and out-of-date teaching equipment shine a spotlight on the decade of neglect by the previous Liberal-National Government. The NSW Labor Government is doing something about it.

“This continued investment in TAFE NSW facilities will expand learning opportunities in local communities, improve educational outcomes, and support the state’s critical skills needs.”

 

For more Tenterfield news, click here. For more Murwillumbah News, click here.

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