ABORIGINAL children consistently fall behind others in NSW when it comes to enrollment in early childhood education, according to research by the Australian Government.
Now, Pathfinders has created a program to try to close the gap.
The Aboriginal Transition to School program provides Aboriginal children between the age of three and six with free access to quality preschool education.
“There is a big gap in educational rates, school-readiness and finishing school rates,” program facilitator Amanda Doye said.
“As an early childhood educator, I know that a child’s brain develops more in the first five years of life than at any other time.”
The program provides one-on-one support to children and families, to get them ready to attend preschool.
“It opens them up to understanding that school has structure, there are rules they need to follow, setting them up with a few life skills that they’re going to need when they go to a structured preschool,” Ms Doye said.
“It’s about helping them reach their developmental milestones and making sure they’re ready to go to preschool.”
A Learning Circle will run in Walcha, Inverell, Ashford and Tingha, for children that haven’t reached their developmental milestones.
“It’s for those children that come through that aren’t quite ready to go to preschool, they may have speech delays or be really socially awkward,” Ms Doye said.
“It’s hugely beneficial for their social skills which can really hold a child back in their later years of schooling.”
Parents can also visit Pathfinders for referrals to other related services.
The program will be run in Armidale, Inverell, Tingha, Uralla and Walcha.