Victoria is home to communities from more than 200 countries, who speak 260 languages and the Allan Labor is supporting these families to use storytelling in their own language (multicultural storytime) to supports their kids’ connection to their language and provide culturally appropriate information about health.
Minister for Children Lizzie Blandthorn today visited Chelsea Library to announce that applications are now open for the Multicultural Storytime program – delivering on a key election commitment to support Victorian kids learn their mother tongue or another language.
The Labor Government is investing $6 million to deliver the program which will see eligible organisations receive grants of up to $25,000 to deliver at least 20 Storytime sessions in one language other than English, in one location regularly over one year.
“These grants will help deliver more multicultural Storytimes to strengthen the connection young children have to their communities,” Minister for Children Lizzie Blandthorn said.
The program will also teach Victorian parents how to reinforce these languages at home through interactive activities, storytelling techniques and book-sharing practices.
Storytime sessions will be held in family friendly locations such as libraries, community centres, and language schools, kindergartens, Early Childhood Education and Care Centres and gathering places, while organisations will also be encouraged to provide online Storytime to ensure accessibility for all families in Victoria.
“Storytime will help kids improve their reading and literacy while supporting parents access the supports, they need to continue teaching their kids at home,” Minister Blandthorn added.
Funding is available for not-for-profit multicultural or ethno-specific organisations for Storytime delivered in community languages.
Eligible organisations with links to multicultural communities are now encouraged to apply, including libraries, community centres, language schools, kindergartens, Early Childhood Education and Care Centres and gathering places.
Research shows that reading regularly with children from a young age stimulates patterns of brain development and strengthens parent-child relationships while also building language, literacy and social-emotional skills.
Multicultural Storytime will strengthen these skills while providing the connection Victorian children from multicultural communities have with their families, their language, their identity and their culture.
In addition, the program will provide families with culturally appropriate information about health services in their local area.
Applications are now open at health.vic.gov.au/primary-and-community-health/maternal-and-child-health-services.
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