Leopold Child and Family Centre, in partnership with Leopold Library and Leopold Primary School, won the 2020 Continuity of Early Learning Award for its innovative Buddy Reader Program.
Every year, the Victorian Early Years Awards shine a light on the inspiring work of early childhood professionals and services across the state.
Leopold Child and Family Centre, in partnership with Leopold Library and Leopold Primary School, won the Continuity of Early Learning Award in 2020 for its innovative Buddy Reader Program. This award recognises the continuity of early learning through successful transitions.
Nicknamed 'JellyPold' by the children, the program was started in 2019 by Michelle Travers, an Early Childhood Educator at the centre.
The program eases the transition of early learners into school by linking Grade 5 students with kindergarten children. The children are buddied-up and form relationships by visiting each other weekly followed by a walk to the library together.
Michelle describes it as 'an innovative program that promotes literacy, kindness, compassion and community connection.'
The program has had a positive impact on both the kindergarten and primary school children involved.
'The older children thrive with the responsibility of being buddies to the kindergarten children,' Michelle said.
'The younger children have the opportunity to form relationships with their buddies, teachers, and the school principal, which then eases their transition to Prep.'
Michelle Travers, Early Childhood Educator
Michelle encourages people to nominate for the 2021 awards and said that winning the award was a 'huge thrill' for all involved in the program.
Receiving the award has provided opportunities for the Buddy Reader Program.
'Winning the award means that we have the funds to make the necessary COVID-safe modifications to the program along with the purchase of resources for the students and children to use to further promote literacy,' Michelle said.
Learn more about previous award winners at Victorian Early Years Awards - 2020 winners.