The results are in, Sunshine Coast Council Libraries contributed to improvements in early literacy skills of children on the Sunshine Coast.
In 2012, the Australian Early Development Census (AEDC) results indicated children in Queensland were falling behind other states in language and cognitive skills. Queensland ranked 6th in the country and was 4% below the national average.
In response, the Queensland Government initiated the First 5 Forever program and invited local libraries throughout the State to apply for funding to deliver a program aimed at creating stronger language and literacy environments for Queensland children before they start kindergarten or school
Sunshine Coast Council Libraries successfully applied for the First 5 Forever funding enabling them to increase the number of children's programs, activities and outreach events and the good news is, it's making a difference!
Community Portfolio Councillor Jenny McKay said the latest AEDC results show a 1.8% decrease in the number of developmentally vulnerable children on the Sunshine Coast since 2012.
"This is great news for our kids and for our wonderful library team who have worked tirelessly to deliver more than 3,000 First 5 Forever programs and activities to more than 102,000 participants," Cr McKay said.
"First 5 Forever has enabled our libraries to reach a much larger portion of our community, through year-round events and access to free resources that help parents and caregivers to support their child's early language, reading and literacy skills.
"Sunshine Coast Libraries host stalls at markets, attend large community events and run weekly Storytime and Rhymetime activities across our library branches.
"First 5 Forever enabled Libraries to deliver the award-winning Story Seat project and establish a very popular Story Walk at the Maroochy Bushland Botanic Gardens last year.
"Libraries also implemented a comprehensive training program for employees to raise the quality and calibre of their delivery of early literacy messaging.
"Library employees are now fluent in early literacy development and share this knowledge with parents and caregivers on a daily basis."
First 5 Forever is a universal family literacy program that aims to improve literacy in children by encouraging the community to work together and spend time with our children - talking, reading, singing and playing.
Sunshine Coast Libraries continues to implement First 5 Forever activities in 2019, including Storytime and Rhymetime, outreach with playgroups, pop up library activities at baby markets and Story Seat events.
Head to the Sunshine Coast Libraries website library.sunshinecoast.qld.gov.au to find out more and explore the First 5 Forever resources.