ACU's Connecting Schools and
Communities program was recently awarded the Victorian Government's 2012 Early Years Commendation.
The innovative playgroup program aims
to link families with children's services and early learning opportunities.
Students enrolled in the second year Bachelor of Education (Early Childhood and Primary) program
at ACU's Ballarat campus worked with local schools to build community capacity
through facilitating supported playgroups in schools. It has shown an increased participation rates in
playgroups and stronger connections between schools and their communities.
The Early Years awards recognise
partnerships by organisations that contribute to improving the health,
learning, development and well being of children and their families from 0 – 8
years. They showcase the positive outcomes of their innovative approaches
towards improving the critical early years of a child's lifelong journey.
The Connecting and Communities program received the
award in the Better access to child and
family support, health services, schools and early education and care services
category of the Early Years awards.
It is a collaboration between
Ballarat Best Start, Catholic Education Office, Australian Catholic University,
Playgroup Victoria, the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development and
five local primary schools.
Dr Karen McLean and Ms Clare
Schaper accepted the award on behalf of ACU and the project group.