Cr. Andrew Antoniolli as the Cat in the Hat
with Cr. David Pahlke

A NEW program aimed at boosting literacy in the community has introduced a whole new audience to Ipswich Libraries during 2014.  Ipswich City Council Tourism and Libraries Committee Chairperson Councillor David Pahlke said council had received grant funding from the Australian Government and Queensland Government under the Australian Early Development Index (AEDI) program.  We were awarded $8000 from the AEDI grant program to run a family literacy program in Ipswich during February and March this year,” Cr Pahlke said.
“We took a number of our regular library programs aimed at young children and incorporated them into a special early literacy program and then took the program out into the community.”
 Cr Pahlke said the program had culminated in a program finale/open day at Ipswich Central Library on Wednesday 12 March 2014.  “This finale event brought together members from each of the communities for a morning of Library fun and discovery.  “Participants completed their passports to the library by participating in story time, puppet play, Duplo, collage and photo corners, bear and treasure hunts, with everyone going home with special mementos of the morning”  “Today’s event gives us the chance to thank our project partners and the grant provider as well as a number of families who took part in the program.”  Cr Pahlke said the new program had been delivered in five locations – Bundamba, Camira, Marburg/Tallegalla, Riverview, and One Mile/Leichhardt – to more than 600 participants which included children and their parents, grandparents or carers.

The Cat in the Hat with the kids

“These suburbs were selected based on identification in the AEDI data as communities that had the potential to most benefit from a targeted early literacy program.”  Cr Pahlke said the library’s AEDI project comprised two half-day sessions at community centres or halls in each area.  He said the AEDI grant program targeted children from birth to five years and their families. “It was designed to assist them to develop their physical health and well-being, social competency, emotional maturity, language and cognitive skills and their communication skills and general knowledge. “The AEDI is a population measure of a child’s development as they enter their first year of formal school based on information collected through a teacher-completed checklist that measures the five areas of early childhood development.  “Results are reported for the communities where children live, not where they go to school.  “This data is presented every three years, beginning from 2009 when the first national data collection occurred.”

Cr. Andrew with little William Stroud from Rosewood

Cr Pahlke said the Ipswich Libraries’ grant proposal was based on taking a sample of early literacy programs and activities regularly held across our branch libraries out into local targeted communities. He said the library project had allowed children and families who may not normally be library users to experience a range of early literacy programs. “We wanted to increase their understanding of the role public libraries can and do play in supporting early literacy within the community. “We also wanted families to realise the importance of reading to a child from an early age to develop their skills in sharing stories, songs and rhymes. “Increasing their confidence, self-esteem and knowledge will help these children considerably as they start school.”

The sessions featured the following library programs: 
•            Baby Rhyme Time – A hands-on program for families with babies from birth to 18 months aimed at modelling, encouraging and valuing the introduction of songs rhymes and stories in everyday routines.
•            Story time – An interactive storytelling session for children under six years aimed at developing a love of reading and stories from an early age.
•            Readers Theatre – Traditional storybook favourites are brought to life through performance based storytelling.
•            Seeds – A family-based literacy program to raise awareness and skills in parents about the importance of reading to their children in developing strong literacy skills.
              The program will also include a number of early literacy initiatives developed by other agencies and organisations that are currently delivered at our libraries as a partnership program including:
Cr David Pahlke and Cr. Andrew Antoniolli
(Cat in The Hat)

•            Story Sacks – A Creche and Kindergarten (C&K) initiative aimed at developing and delivering resources and tools for families to support early literacy;

•            Starting School Toolbox – A new initiative by C&K in partnership with Mission Australia aimed at providing information, practical tips and resources to assist families and children in the transition to school and;
•            Let’s Read – A federally funded program implemented by the Smith Family to promote reading from birth.
Cr Pahlke said this was a great opportunity for families to discover and enjoy some of the free programs and activities that the library has to offer the local community.   “In addition to songs, rhymes, stories and activities, families taking part in the program were able to meet well-known story book characters and enjoy the library’s collections supporting early literacy development including musical instruments and Duplo.”There were also free resources to keep provided in the form of books, DVDs, Story Sacks and a Starting School pack. 

Cr David Pahlke and Cr. Andrew Antoniolli
(Cat in The Hat)

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