Isobel and Kai Walters with Early Childhood Teachers Association president Kim Walters.
Isobel and Kai Walters with Early Childhood Teachers Association president Kim Walters. Tanya Easterby

Symposium takes a look at our littlies

A STUDY revealing more than 34% of Gympie prep students lag behind their peers "developmentally" has helped secure funding to tackle the trend here.

The Gympie Learners Action Group has joined forces with the Early Childhood Teachers' Association to secure $9500 for a community awareness campaign, a series of early childhood events and a local strategy in 2014.

The Australian Early Development Index revealed this year that more than a third of the Gympie region's five year olds were "vulnerable" in one or more key areas of their development. Forty-one teachers from 27 schools in the region surveyed 557 five year olds for the index, and found that development levels in that age group had actually dropped since 2009.

In response, the All Aboard Gympie Region Symposium will take place at the Gympie Civic Centre on February 26, 2014, bringing together every organisation, agency and service involved with the families of children aged 0-5.

The symposium will features forums, displays and guest speakers, and aim to produce strategies to reduce those "vulnerabilities".

ECTA president and Gympie resident Kim Walters said that following a keynote presentation at the February symposium a panel of four stakeholder representatives would come up with some local strategies.

 

In addition, a directory of services and places of interest to Gympie families with young children is being compiled and will be made available online via the AllAboardGympieRegion Facebook page and service provider websites.

A region-wide "play-in" will be held on March 3-7, and then an early childhood expo entitled Little Kids Day Out on March 22.

"This is going to be a fun, no cost day with interactive music and dance, and creative art and play activities," Mrs Walters said.

"We invite agencies to work with us to provide interactive experiences and play opportunities for 0-5 year old children and their families."

Inquiries email allaboardgympieregion@ecta.org.au or contact Mrs Walters on 0418 157 280, Andre Beattie on 5482 9012 or Julie Wright on 5489 8205.

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