Helping kids get off to a good start

Launching the Goonellabah Transition Program last Friday were (l-r) coordinator Kimberlii Austen, Page MP Ian Causley, North Coast Area Health Service chief executive Chris Crawford, Department of Education student welfare officer Clancy Benson, North Coast Health Promotion director Uta Dietrich, Community Health Education Groups coordinator Mary Ward and NCAHS director of population health Vahid Saberi.

Preschoolers from disadvantaged families are being helped to make the transition from home to kindergarten through the Goonellabah Transition Program (GTP), which was launched in Lismore last Friday.

The program runs in a specially equipped classroom at Goonellabah Public School and has been funded with a $535,000 Australian Government grant over four years.

GTP coordinator, Kimberlii Austen, said the program identifies childrens health issues and any other factors that interfere with their ability to learn and socialise.

We work with the childs family and make regular home visits, she said. We have a lovely group of parents who welcome us into their homes. Thats not easy when you have preschoolers and I admire them for opening up to us and trusting us to work with them.

Page MP Ian Causley said the GTP would support children in need, such as indigenous children and children from low socio-economic backgrounds.

The learning environment will be family-friendly and have a culturally sensitive approach, he said. It is important that we do all we can to ensure all children get off to a good educational start.


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