Magazine Month, Rotary Down Under
Participants of the early-childhood educational program at La Perouse Public School in New South Wales, Austraila. Photo courtesy of Rotary Down Under
Sydney tots get a head start
According to developmental scientists and early childhood educators, the cognitive, social, and emotional development of children begins at birth and continues at home long before they enter school. To this end, the Rotary Club of Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, donated US$160,000 to an innovative, early-childhood educational enrichment program offered at La Perouse Public School, located in a nearby suburb.
The Home Interaction Program for Parents and Youngsters works with refugees, migrants, isolated rural community members, and other disadvantaged groups throughout Australia. Through a two-year curriculum, specialists at La Perouse teach parents of three- to five-year-olds how to develop their child’s school readiness, communication abilities, and relationship skills before they begin their education in the classroom. By training as home tutors, parents gain confidence in their role as their child’s first teachers. Families also receive educational books and games that emphasize reading and math skills.
“Thanks to Rotary, the children of La Perouse are more likely to succeed at school, hold down a job, buy a home, and enjoy good physical and mental health in their adult years,” says Tony Nicholson, executive director of the Brotherhood of St. Laurence, which runs the program.
Sydney club member Gerry Rihs says his club is pleased to support projects that help reduce poverty and promote universal primary education.
Sherri Longbottom, coordinator of the La Perouse program, is grateful for the club’s contribution. “Thanks to Rotary Sydney for their much-appreciated donation. This now means we will be able to continue to work with more parents and their children in our community.”
This story was adapted from Rotary Down Under, the Rotary regional magazine serving districts in more than a dozen geographical areas, including Australia and New Zealand.