Shine Bright Helm Street Kindergarten selected for bilingual program
Early childhood provider Shine Bright has announced that its Helm Street Kindergarten has been successful in its application for a bilingual program sponsored by the Department of Education.
Eleven services were chosen from more than 70 applications received, including Helm Street, which will deliver an innovative Auslan (Australian Sign Language) and Karen language program from 2024 through to June 30, 2027.
“Shine Bright is very excited about this opportunity and looks forward to continuing to support our local communities,” Shine Bright CEO Suzi Sordan said.
The Kindergarten’s motivation for delivering a language program is deeply rooted in community needs, she continued.
With an increasing number of children and families requiring language support due to English not being their first language as well as children who have language and communication delays, the kindergarten is committed to responding to these needs.
The program aligns with the Early Childhood Language Program by recognising and embedding the value of different languages and cultures, connecting with the community, and benefiting children, especially those from multilingual backgrounds.
The kindergarten actively engages with families who are experiencing vulnerability and potentially are/likely disengaging within their community, including refugees, indigenous, CALD (Culturally and Linguistically Diverse) families, and others supported by various services.
Through advocacy and participation in a Parliamentary Committee, Shine Bright Helm Street Kindergarten has collaborated with a Karen Interpreter to support enrolments and engagements in services for families. This inclusive approach extends to using visual cues, sign language, Podd communication, and social stories to communicate with children from diverse backgrounds.
“We want to continue our learning and develop programs that support our philosophy to be inclusive in our practice,” Helm Street Kindergarten representative Beckie Parkinson said. “Our space aims to respect and include children and families, acknowledging their culture and specific learning needs.”
The selected languages for delivery are Auslan, Karen, Dari, and Punjabi. Auslan aligns with the local Special Development School (SDS) in Bendigo, creating a seamless transition for children. It also supports children with communication challenges, benefiting both them and their families.
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