Better Beginnings - Mandurah
Project status: Ongoing
Better Beginnings is a state-wide early literacy program that builds on a parent's role as their child's first teacher. It provides high-quality literacy materials and nurturing settings to create positive early experiences around books and language for children.
The City of Mandurah joined the pilot program in 2004 for children aged zero to four years. The local library receives the Better Beginnings packs and they are distributed by the child healthcare nurses to new mums and babies born in the region.
Before the Better Beginnings program, there was no formal program to introduce reading to new babies in regional WA.
The program aims to:
- Introduce children to developmentally appropriate books and language activities
- Support parents as their child's first teacher in modelling early literary practices
- Raise awareness of the value and pleasure of reading and sharing stories with children
- Link families with local library resources and services.
Given the success of the program for children aged zero to four, in 2010, it was extended to kindergarten and pre-primary children. This extension was to encourage parents to continue to support their children's literacy as they started their formal education. The City of Mandurah got on board the pilot program as well.
Royalties for Regions has invested $2.8 million to help improve literacy levels in young children through fostering a love of books and language, increasing their chances for success at school and in future employment.
The project is delivered by WA Local Governments and in partnership with:
The Centre for Early Childhood Research at Edith Cowan University conducted an independent evaluation of the program in 2009, providing key findings since its inception in 2004, all of which were positive.