Launceston TAS, Australia

What would it take for every child in Launceston Tamar Valley to be learning by 2035?

Up to 60% of kids in our region are not physically school ready for school in first year of formal education. Up to 40% lack adequate language and cognitive skills. By age 15 up to 25% of youth are not engaged in fulltime education or employment.

Posted by Sharon on the 29th Jun 2015.

The statistics mentioned come from the State of Launceston's Children report which was published in July 2014, providing a baseline measure of how we are doing. Community consultations occurred from August 2014 to February 2015, and Community Committees in each area (George Town, Beaconsfield, Waverley/St Leonards, Northern Suburbs/Lilydale, Ravenswood) have discussed the data collected.

Now it's over to you. We want to know what it would take for every child to be learning in their classroom, their home, their community.

Peter - There are some great examples of learning by doing such as the Learn to Lead Program (www.learntolead.org.uk/). Such programs teach leadership and other important life skills. Another great example is the Club Kidpreneur Program (www.clubkidpreneur.com/). It focuses on helping young people to use their creativity and initiative to start enterprises to positively impact their communities.

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Katherinebrooks - It's a tough one and not a 1 solution will fix it all a very complex question! Before we can dress how to get them learning we need to know what stops them from learning.

Sharon - Good thinking Katy- what are the barriers that you think stop children from learning in your area?

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EvArcher - Easier access to existing programs such as Launching into Learning and playgroups by improving transport and increasing the variance of activity times.

Sharon - Hi Ev- what sort of change to activity times do you think might help people get to these school readiness programs? Do you think the transport issues apply more to Lilydale than other areas- or across the board?

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bofa - Get rid of the grade 10 Leavers Dinner. It sends a message that grade 10 is when you leave rather than being the end of step 2 of a lifetime of learning. Better Edison means better life and income!

kmiller - Hi Bofa, I have heard this floated as an idea before and yet I have worked in one school that had both a grade 6 and grade 10 leaver's dinner and neither was considered an end of education but rather a celebration of achieving that level while getting ready to embark on the next. I would personally like to see activities that are set up as 'Rites of Passage' through every age group in a similar way to LCGS's survival camp in grade 9 and their 80kms in 24 hours walk in grade 12 but I think there is room for both types of achievement and celebration within each school system.

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pauljmallett - To my mind, learning is broader than ‘formal’ education (k-12, VET, TAFE and Uni). Let’s work on both improvements in the formal education systems and support informal/social learning. In the formal system of schools and TAFE/Uni we need to address: access costs; convoluted entry requirements; methods of teaching, assessment and teaching quality; embrace creative reorganisation of school resources to track with kids who disengage; continue to invest in early years learning and sustain the investment through middle-school and high-school; establish mentors/helpers and provide wrap around supports early (ages 6-7 up) where participation/interest/engagement begins to fall away; and let’s have high expectations (not resign ourselves to the idea that 20-30% kids won’t make it). The onus is on us to find ways to fund this, like in the Social Sector Trials in New Zealand – calculate the total financial cost of 10-40+ years of social security payments to individuals/families that have not experienced success in education/employment, and invest significant amounts for kids 10-25 years through wrap around support for individuals/families so they experience educational success/connection to work/feeling valued as participants. Results suggest outcomes from NZ are positive for individuals and families and $ are saved for governments. With respect to informal learning (learning from each other, the media, from elders etc), let’s insure we continue to invest in locally produced television/media (not just import content from mainland/overseas) and showcase our community strengths, manufacturing and farming, our food, sport, and Aboriginal and cultural heritage. Ensure access costs and transport issues are addressed so that all in the community can engage in cultural events and community infrastructure like libraries/exhibits/expos.

kmiller - Hi Paul, you would love 'Ron Clark Academy' (there is a book) it is everything you are talking about and more. Ron decided to build an academy that takes that 20-30% of kids 'who won't make it' and helps them to become passionate about their schooling by delivering the content in a way that is accessible to them. He makes an interesting point that we (other educators) discriminate between the 'haves' and 'have not' students and we make excuses for them. He keeps his expectations extremely high but finds ways to remove any and all barriers to learning ie creates learning spaces in student homes by accessing sponsors, free labour, mentors etc - whatever it takes. He and his staff travel with the students all over America so they see their potential in the big picture rather than the silo. He encourages leadership skills, critical thinking, problem solving, etc and he supports teachers from all over the world to visit and train in his facility so that the model grows exponentially.

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Vic - once again more programs in or out of school a better understanding of what a child can do with the help of learning programs eg : music and or art for children who may not like group activities or sport

kmiller - Hi Vic, I agree, schools and communities place a lot of emphasis on sport and very little on music or art. In George Town the travel to Launceston for music lessons often becomes too big a barrier. I used to travel for literacy tutoring and music lessons for my own son until I realised how unhappy he was at attending the literacy because it made him feel stupid. From that point we concentrated on music which is still just dots and lines that read from left to right and before long his literacy improved by itself (strength based learning). This became an important lesson for me and the incentive to set up the Annual George Town Rock School where music, as an important and amazing intelligence, is valued and celebrated and parents get the opportunity to see their children achieve in a way that the Australian Curriculum often overlooks. I have often thought that a winter or summer school in art could be equally successful if funded in a way that paid for quality teachers who are passionate and inspiring. I would likewise love to see a street dancing school that embraced boys being boys, down and dirty and girls who don't want to wear leotards but still want to be able to express themselves and have a voice through movement. Oh, what an ideal world, freedom of expression through positive means rather than through negative ones.

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Carmen - From our experience as a training provider, we have found that supporting parents to re-engage in education has achieved many positive outcomes for both the parent and child. Including the following: • Increased self-confidence • Sense of achievement • Role-modelling education for their children • Increased value of education for their children (anecdotal evidence suggests improved learning outcomes for their children when they commence school) • Continued learning pathway onto further education • Gained employment and financial stability

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Katherinebrooks - Ask the children what it is that stops them from being engaged I.e I wish my teacher knew? I don't do home reading because there isn't anyone at home to read to

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Vic - how can we better skill our children for change?

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Vic - getting parents /care givers aware what is needed at home like reading or just input as kids love to share what they are learning but if no input there is no output

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trish - To hold forums in local areas to allow the parents to know what is out there & maybe what services are available to assist them in their learning

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WaverleyCommunity - Some parents accessing the Waverley Playgroup have completed surveys to provide input/ideas/comments and recommendations.

WaverleyCommunity - Playgroup has been great for my two kids. They have learnt, grown and developed more because of it. Playgroup will be deeply missed by myself and my kids if it doesn't continue next year.

WaverleyCommunity - Playgroup is a positively fantastic idea for my baby boy to learn and meet others, so it can help him with communication and learning skills he will need for pre-kinda/kinda later on in his life. Since coming to playgroup he has gone from commando crawling to crawling in two weeks. He is not saying mummy, thanks to playgroup.

WaverleyCommunity - My child and I both really enjoy attending playgroup. It is fun and well organised each week. The chance to go on excursions is fantastic. Thankyou.

WaverleyCommunity - Waverley playgroup is an excellent environment for early years connections, with positive community interactions, run by highly motivated educators.

WaverleyCommunity - Great place for parents to come together and share the development of their children in a positive, fun environment.

WaverleyCommunity - Bringing my Grandson to playgroup is a wonderful experience and always greeted at the door when arriving with a wonderful smile and cheerful "good morning" by our awesome leaders Sally and Gayle and the opportunities they offer all the children are endless.

WaverleyCommunity - A fabulous child friendly environment provided by Sally and Gayle for children to play, learn and explore. Plenty of great activities to keep your child engaged and happy.

WaverleyCommunity - Make you feel comfortable, friendly, caring.

WaverleyCommunity - I love the easy going atmosphere and how much my daughter looks forward to playgroup on Friday's.

WaverleyCommunity - Playgroup is a great learning environment for children, very positive.

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PDSStaff - Learning – What works? – The learning opportunities that our students have had through flexible programs has stopped them from falling behind and disengaging from the school system.

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PDSStaff - Providing students with opportunities to experience programs that develop confidence and self-esteem including: Equine, DRUMBEAT, Boat Shed, Cultural Art and Rock School. These programs are having a significant impact on the students involved with in and out of the classroom.

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PDSStaff - Breakfast Club, Cultural Art, Aboriginal Programs, Parental Support, Mentors, Boatshed, DRUMBEAT, are positive programs that develop positive and trusting relationships.

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PDSStaff - What is working - Positive and trusting environments, support that is holistic, access to essential resources and healthy food, education about positive decision making and appropriate behaviour.

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PDSStaff - Launching into Learning. Breakfast Club – readying students with nutrition to help with learning. Community Parent Program – supports parents to deal with difficult behaviour/lack of resources. Parents have noted clear gains/improvements.

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PDSStaff - The Equestrian Program is a unique way of building trust, confidence and social awareness. It promotes leadership and confidence in giving and following appropriate directions. It sets goals so students are challenged to problem solve and find ways to work toward them.

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PDSStaff - Boat Shed is a great way for students to communicate and engage with the community and the volunteers who support/mentor this program. It provides a variety of skills that are relevant for the work force and provides students with great role models.

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PDSStaff - Our Student Networker is a conduit between the school, the community and other service providers which streamlines the processes of finding support for students and families whether its learning opportunities, allied health needs or crisis care.

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PDSStaff - What else is needed? – funding, additional professional teachers, extended learning opportunities. Creation of spaces for developing self-sufficiency in personal growth. Varied early year’s curriculum to ready students for learning. Further teacher training to cater for student’s varied needs. A continuation of our current programs with an increase in funding to allow high risk students to even further develop personal self-esteem and confidence benefitting them both now and into the future. More role models and mentors from varied backgrounds eg reformed criminals, single parent, etc. Basic requirement eg uniforms. School holiday and weekend support to make safe break times.

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SarahC - More funding for our existing outreach program which is at full capacity. This involves 2 people including a teacher engaging with families through support, toy swap and stay and play. Funding to run more programs like Little Talkers and Let's Move which are making a big impact on kids learning and development. These programs will help make our kids more school ready and give parents a better understanding.

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rftForum - test

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dinailon - From what I can see on this site there are many effective strategies being implemented. People are reporting on what is working in their local contexts. I would suggest that there needs to be more of the same with continued monitoring of funding and outcome. It is important to remember that learning starts from pre-birth. What we know about brain development is that young children need to start life healthy, loved and safe. We know that they need to be read to on a regular basis by parents, and they need to be exposed to a world of ideas in multi-sensory environments which offer opportunities for child-led and adult supported learning. We know that they need to be challenged by people who have an understanding of how children learn and are willing to share knowledge about a range of pursuits. They need to be introduced to ideas and skills in ways that encourage children to think critically, problem solve and be creative. We are only going to get this kind of learning when we expand our ideas about education. Wherever the ideas that are being posted on this site foster that capacity I would support any projects that are being suggested. While I am not speaking on behalf of the Northern Early Years Group Tasmania (Inc), as Chair of NEYG I believe that much of what NEYG members are doing promotes the ideals that I’ve represented here about learning. I suggest that Communities for Children get in touch with NEYG members and find out what they are doing and how their projects can be collectively supported and extended.

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RavenswoodCommunityM - Play group, Early learning, Reading club work well. Parents need to help out when needed.

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RavenswoodCommunityM - Some we already have that work well but more is needed *Playgroups *Cooking groups *Active after school programs *Outreach *Early years programs *Baby playgroups

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RavenswoodCommunityM - Things working well - Outreach stay and play - Programs in the CFC e.g. Little Talkers, Playgroups, Baby Playgroup - Parenting programs

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RavenswoodCommunityM - Outreach / Youth Mentor - someone to connect with children and get them into school etc

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RavenswoodCommunityM - Activites out of school hours at a reasonable price

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RavenswoodCommunityM - Current outreach programs which focuses on families who feel anxious or unable to attend CFC and provides oppotunites for relationship building and a focused learning program for the children is at capacity. We need to be able to provide another day or two days of outreach in order to provide this successful program to other families. This requires an experienced early childhyood teacher to deliver this program in partnership with the CIW from the CFC.

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yvetted - Mowbray/Invermay community Learning – reaching out to families in the Mowbray area. School is currently reaching out conducting home visits, having playgroup Chat and Do session at Heritage Park. • Funding for more Chat and Do session, add two new locations. 1. Dover Street Oval and 2. Haig Street hall. Cover cost of food, activities, Manpower – teachers assistants • Combine effort with MRC to address cultural issues. Learning • Make time to play – playgroup • Some parents cannot afford pre-school • Love attending Launch into Learning sessions

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yvetted - Make time to play parent responses • Child health nurse used to visit the centre, parents had choices of where to go, now there are restricted times for access • What are they doing at Dover street – taken down the swings but not the building • Regular rubbish clean-ups not just bins – Clean Up Australia day – supply the gear only happens once a year – how about a community initiative with Council support to help keep the community clean

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yvetted - Mowbray playgroup • Playgroup outreach into the community – caters for younger and older parents • A program that links playgroups into each school • Information sharing links to playgroups • Family based centre at Mowbray – no judgement • Allows socialisation of children • Community family worker program • It’s a link between community and other services/groups/schools • Creates social networks and creates unstructured play • Positive social interactions Other ideas • Picnic and play • Baby massage • Yoga for kids • Circle of Security • Family food patch • Child health nurse hours have been cut – this impacts the community

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