Greater Shepparton Council places children front and centre in consultation plans
The Greater Shepparton City Council has endorsed the Draft Greater Shepparton Best Start Early Years Plan 2020-2025 and released it for public exhibition until 19 August.
The six-year plan aims to improve the learning, health and wellbeing outcomes for children aged birth to six years of age, and builds on Greater Shepparton’s first combined Best Start Early Years Plan which was developed in 2006.
The new plan has five key themes – Play, Learn, Thrive, Voice and Share, with all five themes able to be measured against a series of metrics which determine progress or achievements.
Consultation with the Greater Shepparton Best Start Early Years Partnership, specific workgroups, service providers and extensive research and data has informed the development of the plan.
The Council saw success with previous versions of the plan, which have identified and implemented practice changes or processes within services to make them more accessible and responsive to families.
Significant achievements of previous plans include (from 2006 to 2019):
- Increase in the number of completed 3.5 year key age and stage visits
- Increase in the percentage of completed Maternal and Child Health key age and stage visits in Mooroopna and north Shepparton
- Increase in the percentage of completed Maternal and Child Health key age and stage visits for Aboriginal children
- Increase in the number of Early Start to Kindergarten enrolments
- Increase in breastfeeding rates across Greater Shepparton
- An improvement in the AEDC Language Skills domain from 2009 to 2012 after an intensive early years language and literacy focus
- Strengthened links with local agencies and organisations.
Continuing to engage with the plans, the Council said, is an acknowledgement of the importance of early childhood, as demonstrated through quality early childhood services such as Maternal and Child Health, playgroups, childcare and kindergarten.
“The Greater Shepparton Best Start Early Years Plan 2020-2025 provides the strategic direction and way forward for Council and the local community to continue to prioritise early childhood development and investment,” Mayor Seema Abdullah said.
“Consultation with parents and community members is currently taking place to develop the annual action plan which will detail the activities that will be implemented to achieve the higher level strategies and outcomes documented in the plan.”
The Best Start Early Years Plan 2020-2025 is currently open for comment and will remain so until 19 August 2020.