SA Government commits to Words Grow Minds
The Sector > Quality > In The Field > SA Government commits to early literacy and development with $4m in funding

SA Government commits to early literacy and development with $4m in funding

by Freya Lucas

September 13, 2023

The South Australian Government has committed more than $4 million in funding to improve  literacy and development in the early years through an expansion of the Words Grow Minds initiative.


Expanding Words Grow Minds was one of several recommendations made by Royal Commissioner Julia Gillard last month when the Royal Commission into Early Childhood Education and Care handed down its findings. 


The Words Grow Minds campaign was an initiative of the Department for Education’s Early Learning Strategy and provides information to parents of young children about how best to support their child’s development in the first 1,000 days.


It provides tools, advice and resources to parents and carers to increase interactions with their baby through talking, reading, singing and playing – with research showing these things make a significant difference to brain development.


The Words Grow Minds pilot was the first campaign of its kind in SA, combining advertising, social media tools and a range of service providers to reinforce key, consistent messages while distributing parent resource packs.


Trialled in November 2022 in Mount Gambier and then in Whyalla in February 2023 by the Early Years Taskforce (a coalition of non-government and government early years services and agencies from across SA), the program was well received by parents and practitioners. 


Raising Literacy Australia (RLA) plays the convening role for the Early Years Taskforce, and is chaired by Kate Ellis, a passionate advocate for early childhood.


“We cannot ignore the fact that SA children’s development is behind the national average before they even start school,” she said.


“It is so important that our State Government has shown the commitment to turn this around. What we are announcing today is an innovative, Australian-first program to do something truly meaningful and change South Australian children’s lives for the better.”


The SA Government has also committed to continue funding of nearly $1 million to RLA for the ongoing production and distribution of packs of books for newborns.


This will enable 21,000 ‘baby book packs’ to be distributed to SA families to help support the foundational numeracy and literacy development of children from birth.


“The Words Grow Minds campaign goes straight to the heart of how families can help babies and young children develop through simple interactions that benefit the whole community,” said SA Education Minister Blair Boyer.


“Providing families with baby and preschool book packs ensures more families read regularly with their child which makes a big difference to their literacy and numeracy as they grow up.”


Learn more about Words Grow Minds here

Download The Sector's new App!

ECEC news, jobs, events and more anytime, anywhere.

Download App on Apple App Store Button Download App on Google Play Store Button