Starfish Early Learning Centre in Blackburn South and Marie Williams Kindergarten in Kilmore won the Premiers' Reading Challenge Early Years competition. They will receive 100 new books thanks to our partners Penguin Random House Australia.
Starfish Early Learning Centre Blackburn South director Cathy Kimbel says they are excited to win new books.
'There's a whole lot of different books for different ages so we can share across the service,' Cathy says.
The importance of reading in the early years
Early childhood educators read with children at Starfish Early Learning Centre every day. Cathy says reading and instilling a love of reading in children is important.
'It paves the way for children to be avid learners, readers and writers,' Cathy says. 'It's something that we value.'
Cathy says the children's families are keen to participate in the reading challenge every year.
'I think it's important for children to see them reading,' Cathy says.
'It stimulates imagination and thought. It provides opportunities for reflection and calmness in busy lives. It's a good opportunity to connect with children, it's a lovely time to share. It promotes an appreciation of art through pictures and the written word.'
'Reading is a huge element of that because it enhances reading, listening and concentration. It allows a lot of development in all those domains.'
'The preschool years – the first 1000 days of a children's life – are so significant in terms of learning.'
The children at Starfish Early Learning Centre are also going beyond their love of books to creating their own. Cathy says the educators are encouraging children to write their own stories.
'They've been retelling indigenous stories,' Cathy says. 'And some of our kinders have been writing and illustrating their own picture books.'
Premiers Reading Challenge
More than 8,000 children from across Victoria participated in the Premiers' Reading Challenge for the Early Years. The Early Years competition challenges children from zero to five years old to read or experience 40 books with the help of their families.
Thousands of children and young people from across Victoria have devoured thousands of books over the past few months as part of the
Premiers' Reading Challenge.
To complete the Challenge, students in Years three to ten needed to read 15 books or more in the six months from March to September.
For students in prep, year one and year two the Challenge was to read or experience 30 books.
A key Education State target
Learning for Life is to increase the number of year five and year nine students reaching the highest levels of achievement in reading by 25 per cent – and the Challenge will help meet that goal. Since the Premiers' Reading Challenge began 14 years ago, almost 2.5 million students and children have read more than 45 million books.