nsw Archives - Education Matters Magazine
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Lithgow High School wellbeing hub

Video: Supporting student wellbeing

Anna Caro, Principal at Lithgow High School in NSW, discusses the high levels of unemployment in the area, and the high levels of mental health issues – particularly anxiety – at the school.

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Sherpa Kids Hurstville OSHC

Sherpa Kids: A sense of community

Offering their out of school hours care services to 11 primary schools throughout NSW, Sherpa Kids’ franchisees William and Sophia Wong have been recognised for their contribution to the small regional community of Uralla.

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NAPLAN results ACARA

Transition to NAPLAN online delayed

Following a meeting of Australia’s education ministers, the national online rollout of NAPLAN has been postponed until 2021, after connectivity issues and computer glitches impacted numerous students who took the test online earlier this year.

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The search for five exceptional teachers

The New South Wales Department of Education and Teachers Mutual Bank have launched a joint initiative in a bid to find five extraordinary teachers keen to inspire students across the nation through a new educational YouTube channel. Read more

School program fosters intergenerational connections

Two NSW schools have taken a new approach to student learning and engagement after partnering with Arcare Aged Care in a unique program that paired students with aged care residents to teach them about a lifetime so different to their own.

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Preschool kids play instruments

Early childhood education awareness campaign launches in NSW

Last month the NSW Early Education Minister, Leslie Williams announced $115 million in funding for Start Strong, a program designed to make early education more affordable for all NSW families, while removing nearly all fees for Aboriginal families and low-income families.

Now the NSW Government is launching what is described as a ‘thought-provoking campaign’ that draws attention to the importance of early childhood education.

The campaign, dubbed ‘It Makes You Think’, has a stated aim of increasing the amount of hours children are enrolled in day care or community preschool in the year prior to entering primary school.

“A child needs a great parent, and a great teacher.  Many do not know that a preschool program, whether it’s in a dedicated preschool or a through long day care, provides the foundation for your children’s future health, happiness, growth, development and learning achievements at school and in life,” said Mrs Williams.

“It’s a confusing area and there are many myths about cost, availability and the real benefits to children – which is why it’s so important to break down the barriers.”

It Makes You Think campaign poster
The It Makes You Think campaign aims to drive awareness of the Start Strong initiative in NSW.

One of the key statistics underpinning the campaign is the fact that 90 per cent of brain development occurs before the age of five years – and this is the kind of detail that the NSW Government hopes will impress upon parents the importance of ensuring their young children gain maximum benefit from early education.

“Our social and emotional skills known as ‘soft skills’ are critical to success in school and life – for instance how to control emotions, take turns, share with others and pay attention to instruction, actually begin forming in childhood and learning these skills in preschool could prevent harder problems later in life,” explained Mrs Williams.

“Unlocking a child’s brain is the key to helping parents understand why early learning is such a must for their child’s development.”

Other Facts from ‘It Makes You Think:       

  • Kids who participate in early childhood education are more likely to have an IQ score higher than 90 at age 5
  • Preschool puts disadvantaged children at a level playing field with other children
  • In the first 3-5 years, there is a dramatic growth spurt, as approximately 90-95 per cent of cells organize and create pathways to more sophisticated brain functions
  • A child’s brain undergoes an amazing period of development from birth to 3 – producing 700 new neural connections every second
  • Young children have a unique ability to learn more languages easily and their vocabulary often quadruples between the ages of 2 and 4

Beginning in January 2017, the Start Strong initiative will deliver $115 in funding over 18 months to reduce the cost of early education and encourage parents to enroll their kids in 600 hours of early education each year.