Thrive by Five supports calls to prioritise children’s language and literacy skills
8 September 2021 – Thrive by Five has welcomed calls for the Federal Government to adopt a National Early Language and Literacy Strategy (NELLS) this International Literacy Day.
A national coalition of organisations has come together to put forward a national strategy to the Federal Government that outlines the actions needed to ensure every Australian child has the language and literacy skills to ensure their best start to life. It covers family support within communities; early education and transitions; specialist support, and knowledge production and dissemination.
Jay Weatherill, CEO of Thrive by Five, said access to universally accessible, high quality and affordable early learning and childcare was vital for literacy and numeracy development and encouraged the adoption of the proposed national strategy.
“With one in five Australian children starting school behind, it’s critical that we look at our national priorities and work on a plan to improve the language and literacy skills of our under 5s. We know these skills will provide a lifelong foundation for success.
“The covid crisis and lockdowns have disrupted the learning routines of too many young children, keeping some from early learning and placing additional pressure on parents. We need government intervention so children are supported to catch up during the recovery and don’t fall further behind on their literacy and numeracy.
“We know problems with reading and writing early in life can have lasting impacts. About 44 per cent of Australia’s adult population does not have the sufficient literacy skills they need to cope with the demands of everyday life and work. We need to see action now so that this trend doesn’t continue.
“We encourage Federal and State Governments to work together on strategies like this to ensure children are not left developmentally vulnerable. The NELLS and investing in early learning provide powerful solutions, now we just need to see them actioned,” said Mr Weatherill.
Find out more on the NELLS proposal here: www.earlylanguageandliteracy.org.au