The 2019 cause will centre around early childhood issues within Ballarat, in particular, children who start school at a disadvantage and can face long-term challenges. According to recent AEDC data, one in five children start school behind. This can be physically, socially and emotionally as well as being behind in their skills such as communication and language. We, along with a number of other local charities, don’t think this is acceptable.

The Ballarat Foundation launched the Ballarat Reads program and focuses preparing young children for school with help from partners the Dolly Parton Imagination Library, Penguin Books and local community partners. The children in the program are mailed out a new book each month. The funds for this program are raised by the community and costs only $180 a year per child to supply them with a new book each month; that is only $15 a month to help children start school ready to prosper.

To learn more about the Ballarat Reads program, visit the Ballarat Foundation’s Ballarat Reads program page here.

Ballarat Reads

The Ballarat Reads program, in partnership with the Dolly Parton Imagination Library, Penguin Books and local community partners, will deliver high-quality books to homes each month for kids aged birth to 5yrs. These books helps children in their development and in preparation for starting school ready to learn. In addition, it will provide support and resources to families as well as community events to make reading fun and engaging for children!

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Eureka Mums

Eureka Mums was established in February 2014 and was entirely volunteer run until 2016. Eureka Mums' mission is to rehome pre-loved nursery goods to support Victorian families in need whilst saving the earth's precious resources. They collect, sort and redistribute essential equipment, clothing, book and toys for babies and even school age children. Maternal Child Health nurses and social workers identify families who are in need of help and facing a variety of challenges, and make the request on behalf of the family to Eureka Mums. Eureka Mums then try to meet or even exceed these requests with donations of pre-loved or new donations to help these families in need.

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Uniting Ballarat

Uniting Ballarat provides a number of programs to assist with early childhood development. They are administers of four Early Childhood Centres in Ballarat and district: -Alfredton Pre-School -Bacchus Marsh Montessori Centre -Buninyong Pre-School -Enid Rogers Jubilee Kindergarten All of Uniting Ballarat's kindergartens provide a mix of 3-year old and 4-year old funded and unfunded sessions and are participants in the City of Ballarat's Centralised Kindergarten Enrolment Scheme. They provide a happy environment where children can laugh, play and have fun which is where they believe children learn best.

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Ballarat Community Health

Ballarat Community Health runs the Achievement Program. This program is designed to help schools and services create healthy places where children work, learn and play. The program provides resources, tools and guidelines and includes an approach which involves all participants from educators, staff, students, children & families, to the wider community and organisations. The Achievement Program encourages schools and services to develop their education environment to help kids be healthy with a provided framework which can be implemented into programs already in use. The different priority areas the program targets include safe environments, sun protection, mental health and wellbeing, healthy eating and oral health and physical activity and movement. Participation and achievement of the outcomes can lead to recognition by the Victorian Government as a healthy school or service.

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Eureka Community Kindergarten Association

The Eureka Community Kindergarten Association (ECKA) is a not-for profit Early Years Manager, currently providing management services for 27 community based Kindergartens, Long Day Care and Occasional Care Centres in the Ballarat and surrounding areas within the Central Highlands. ECKA is dedicated to achieving the best outcomes for all children through the delivery of high quality, accessible early childhood education and care programs. ECKA services are staffed by dedicated and qualified early childhood professionals who are supported to deliver contemporary evidence-based programs to enhance children’s learning and development, encourage community participation and support families to contribute to their child’s early years experiences. ECKA partners with families, the Department of Education and Training, Local Government and a range of agencies and early years’ service providers to lead the development and coordination of quality services that enhances educational outcomes for all children.

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Ballarat Toy Library

The Ballarat Toy Library has been running for over 35 years as a volunteer community organisation. A committee of members is responsible for overseeing its operation. All members are invited to join the committee and are welcome to attend meetings which are held monthly. We loan a wide range of quality toys, equipment, puzzles and games, saving our members money, storage space and reducing our carbon footprint. With a membership to the Toy Library, you can easily meet the ever-changing and growing needs of your children at each stage of development. You can discover what toys they most enjoy before buying for them and it is a great place to meet other families in your community. ​ Every family with young children in and around Ballarat is welcome to be a member of the Ballarat Toy Library.

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Playgroup Victoria

Playgroup Victoria has a Playgroup Hub at Sebastopol Primary School which operates seven playgroups per week at the school including, Me and My Dad, Spanish and Japanese speaking playgroups. Being welcomed into the school environment benefits the children and their families. The children see the school as a safe place to learn and play, and they get to meet the Principal and school staff, and participate in school events and activities. This takes the fear out of the unknown and helps build confidence for when it's their turn to go to school. The playgroups certainly have an impact on the wellbeing and mental health of the parents and carers that attend. Playgroup may be the only social outing that family has, and can afford, every week. We have created a hub within the school that allows families who may never have met otherwise, to come together with their children and play, chat and enjoy. Many friendships have been made...

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