Author: 
Dr Sonja Hood CEO of Community Hubs Australia
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School readiness is a term used by educators to refer to a child’s preparedness for their first day in the classroom. If you are like me, you may be thinking it’s all about literacy and numeracy, but when I started as the CEO of Community Hubs Australia I found out it was about something much more.

Principals, teachers and hub leaders at our hub schools were sharing amazing stories about the positive impact that our hubs were having on school readiness. They were telling me that you can always recognise those children that arrived to school through the hub, they sit up in class and they are confident and ready to learn. It is as much about literacy and numeracy, as it is about social skills and confidence in the classroom setting.

Community hubs engage migrant and refugee women and pre-school children in the local community. They are based in primary schools and community centres and provide everything from playgroups and preschool sessions, to English language support and vocational pathways. Every hub is different, with a hub leader that engages the local community and responds to their needs.

To build on these great stories from our principals, teachers and hub leaders, Community Hubs Australia engaged the Murdoch Childrens Research Institute to define school readiness, and to work with four of our longest running hubs to develop a qualitative understanding of the impact that hubs are having in this field.

The report found that there are three interrelated components of school readiness: children’s readiness for school, schools’ readiness for children, and the capacity of families and communities to provide the necessary opportunities, conditions and supports to optimise children’s development and learning.

It also identified that children from culturally and linguistically diverse families, including those from a refugee background, are more likely to be developmentally vulnerable, have lower engagement in early childhood services, and have lower awareness of early childhood education and care principles and its benefits.

Community hubs, based in primary schools, are able to engage culturally isolated women and pre-school children, providing a gateway to early education and local services.

The report has confirmed that community hubs in primary schools have resulted in improvements in: children’s skills and abilities upon school entry, schools’ understanding of children and families’ needs at school commencement, and parent understanding of the expectation and practicalities of school.

The summary report is available here.

The full report is available here.

These findings build on previous research conducted by Charles Sturt University that demonstrated the positive impact hubs are having on individuals, families, schools and communities. Click here to view this research in full.

There are 55 hubs in operation in Australia, with six of those in Logan. We are currently conducting an expression of interest for community hubs in Ipswich, which closes at 11.59 pm on Monday, 15 May 2017. You can find out more by going to http://eoi.communityhubs.org.au

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