Adjournment: Early Childhood Language Program
Ms SPENCE (Yuroke) (19:05:14): (660) My adjournment matter is for the Minister for Education, and the action I seek is for the minister to provide me with an update on how children in Yuroke are benefitting from the early childhood language program. There are five kindergartens in Craigieburn and Mickleham within my electorate that are taking part in the early childhood language program. They are providing Arabic language sessions so that children can start learning another language during their time at kinder. There are many identified benefits of learning an additional language at a young age, ranging from understanding how languages work to improving literacy and problem-solving skills. In an electorate that already has a large Arabic-speaking population, the early childhood language program in Yuroke can strengthen the cultural identity and self-esteem of young children. The program can also work towards forging stronger communities in our electorate, building a greater appreciation for our diversity. I am very pleased that children in my community have access to this program, and I look forward to the minister’s response.
The Andrews Labor Government congratulates the kindergartens in Yuroke on being part of a Victorian first: the Early Childhood Language Program.
The $17.9 million program will see around 5,000 children per year in kindergartens across the state having the opportunity to learn in another language.
As the Member for Yuroke has noted, learning languages at a young age has many benefits including helping children develop literacy skills, strengthened brain development, improved problem-solving ability and cognitive flexibility.
By encouraging diverse language skills in our kindergartens, Victorians can build stronger local communities and prepare children for a more globalised and connected world.
The following five kindergartens in the Yuroke electorate are working with Hume City Council to deliver the Arabic language program:
- Annadale Community Centre
- Craigieburn Child and Family Centre
- Pembroke Crescent Preschool Centre
- Craigieburn Early Childhood Services Centre
- KU Craigieburn Children’s Centre.
The Department of Education and Training is providing support to Hume City Council to assist with their recruitment process as well as encouraging links between the services and local schools teaching Arabic to support the program.
I have been lucky enough to visit a number of kindergartens participating in the language program and to see first hand how much early childhood educators and children are enjoying the program. I am sure the children of Yuroke will also greatly enjoy the Arabic program.
The Hon James Merlino MP
Minister for Education