PM Invests $4M in Children’s Charity
8 February 2016 at 1:12 pm
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has awarded a leading children’s education charity, The Smith Family, $4 million to expand its early childhood maths program to help close the skills gap and boost innovation.
The Let’s Count program, which supports pre-school children from disadvantaged communities, was created to address what the charity said was a lack of programs in Australia to support the development of maths skills in young children,
The Smith Family CEO Dr Lisa O’Brien said the Federal Government investment would provide thousands more Australian children with access to the program.
“This is a significant and very welcome investment by the government which will help build the early maths skills of Australian children,” Dr O’Brien said.
“Developing a child’s early maths skills is just as important as developing their reading, but there’s tended to be less of a focus on this area.
“Of particular concern to The Smith Family is that one in three children living in our most disadvantaged communities are starting school without basic skills, including numeracy.
“Our aim with Let’s Count is to emphasise maths in the everyday and help children to see maths as relevant, stimulating and fun, which sets them up for future success.”
Developed in conjunction with professors from Charles Sturt University and Monash University and through a partnership with the Origin Foundation, Let’s Count has reached 13,000 pre-schoolers, 7,000 parents and 450 educators over the past five years.
Dr O’Brien said a three-year evaluation showed Let’s Count strengthened the maths skills and dispositions of young children as they prepared to start school, as well as the skills and confidence of parents and early educators to support the mathematical development of children.
“Today’s funding commitment not only recognises the success of Let’s Count, but is recognition of a successful and innovative partnership between a Not for Profit organisation working with families, educators and its university, philanthropic and corporate partners,” she said.
“Now this substantial show of support from the Commonwealth Government, will help us set up more children for long-term success in maths – a discipline that will drive our country’s economy and future success.
“Maths is a subject area that is critical to everyday life and, ultimately, to Australia’s quest to be a more innovative and competitive nation.”