The heart of the Never Never has embraced a new early childhood program which prepares toddlers for school.
The NT Government has now opened the Jilkminggan-Mataranka Families as a First Teachers program.
Education minister Eva Lawler said FaFT provides a quality early childhood and family support program for young remote children aged from birth to the year before they commence preschool and their families.
“I’m delighted to see this becoming a reality for families in Jilkminggan and Mataranka,” Ms Lawler said.
“We know that birth to five years is a key learning time and FaFT is one way that we are giving children the best possible start in life while at the same time, giving their families access to support programs and resources.”
The FaFT program will be delivered in Jilkminggan and Mataranka by an experienced early childhood teacher and supported by a local Aboriginal Family Liaison Officer.
“The program is operating every day and is directly benefiting the children by engaging them in learning activities and getting them into a routine before they commence school,” Ms Lawler said.
Jilkminggan School principal Jess Robinson said it has been fantastic to see the level of engagement by the families and children in the FaFT program.
“We know we have to get our kids learning early, so it’s exciting to see them engaged and enthusiastic at such a young age, supported by their families who are just as excited as them,” Ms Robinson said.
“We are getting a large proportion of consistent attenders in the FaFT program and it’s great to see families genuinely excited about participating in activities with their children.”
The Families as First Teachers program currently operates in 30 remote communities and two urban sites.
The program will expand to a total of 33 remote communities and five urban sites by the end of 2017.