Lisa Chesters will donate $500 to Bendigo’s Imagination Library today.
The donation will mean five vulnerable children (from 0 to 5 years) will receive a book from Penguin Publishing every month.
There are currently 311 Bendigo children in the program; however, there are 75 children on the immediate waiting list.
“This is a wonderful program that improves early childhood literacy and encourages a lifelong love of reading,” Ms Chesters said. “It is having a real impact on the lives of local children and families.
“However, the program desperately needs funds to keep it going.
“I encourage other locals to consider donating to Imagination Library.
“Only $90 a year buys ones child 12 books. It’s a tangible way to contribute and make a difference to our local community.”
Ms Chesters, as chair of the Parliamentary Friendship Group of Early Childhood Education, said investing in early childhood education is one of the most valuable things we can do as a country.
“We also know that 90 per cent of a child’s brain development occurs in the first five years. Children who have access to quality early education go on to have better results at school, in employment and in life.”
The Imagination Library was established by the Dolly Parton Foundation and is auspiced in Australia by Uniting Way. In Bendigo it is being supported by Communities for Children Bendigo and Business Excellence Bendigo. It provides a book a month to a child in the first five years of life.
Communities for Children Manager, John Bonnice said “literacy and language levels for Greater Bendigo children aged 0 to 5 years are lower than the Victorian average”.
“The State of Bendigo’s Children report (2013) reveals that Bendigo’s children, particularly those in the 0-5 age group, rank lower than the Victorian average on a number of developmental indicators including language development and communication”.
“Research shows that the provision of books to young children can encourage an interest in reading and provide encouragement to parents to read and talk with their child”. Reading aloud books to children from birth to age 5 is a proven way to make a difference to early literacy and language development”.
To donate go to: www.givenow.com.au/imaginationlibrarybendigo
For further information visit the Communities for Children Bendigo Reads website: http://bendigoreads.com.au/