Fund helps those in danger of missing out
When five-year-old Alex was born premature at 27 weeks of age, his mother Jian knew he would face challenges in his life.
As with many premature babies, he took longer than many full-term babies to learn how to feed, roll over, enjoy tummy time and many other skills needed in life.
As he grew older, Jian noticed that he was still falling behind the other children, and knew she needed some extra help and support.
She spoke to Goodstart Early Learning Braybrook’s centre director Angela Prenga, and outlined her concerns.
With her help, Alex was offered access to the Early Learning Fund (ELF), enabling him to attend the centre two days a week for about $5.
“I think ELF has changed my entire life, as it has changed Alex’s, with all of the support that we’ve been given,” Jian said.
“If it wasn’t for ELF we wouldn’t be here right now, and Alex wouldn’t be as happy as he is. And he wouldn’t know how to be involved with the community.”
Angela said she had several children currently receiving the Early Learning Fund at her centre.
Families eligible for ELF include those who are in danger of missing out on access to early learning and meet one of the following criteria:
- Families in hardship
- Indigenous children
- Refugee and humanitarian entrants
- Children at risk
While there are Government programs to help children in the short-term, many thousands miss out on the opportunity to continue with early learning when the support ends.
“Our parents are so grateful to be offered the opportunity,” Angela said. “ELF enables families to give their children two days of learning a week which helps them overcome any concerns they may have with their children. The educational and well-being plan are a great tool to work towards for children and families.”
Angela said being able to help families who may otherwise not access early learning had been an amazing experience for the centre, the educators and the families involved.
“I think for me giving families and children the opportunity to have access to quality early learning is just an amazing social aspect and I really love being a part of Goodstart which offers this.”
Jian encouraged others to help fund the ELF, saying that it could make all the difference in the world to vulnerable families, and could create a better life for children.
“If there are parents out there who need help, please seek help from ELF because it will help you and your child enjoy a better life. I hope that I will be able to personally support ELF and try to spread the story.”
The fund was set up by Goodstart Early Learning and The Benevolent Society to ensure children who need a little more help get access to quality early learning.