First 5 Forever: a family literacy initiative for Queensland
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Key messages for Parents and Primary Caregivers
- Fact sheet - Baby Rhyme Time
- Fact sheet - Story Time
- First 5 Forever videos
What is First 5 Forever?
First 5 Forever (formerly Best Start) is a universal family literacy program aimed at supporting stronger language and literacy environments for young children from 0–5 years and their families. First 5 Forever will directly support parents and primary caregivers to be confident as the child’s first and most important teacher, and will provide parents with increased access to resources they need through public libraries.
Why is First 5 Forever important to Queensland?
The Australian Early Development Census data for 2012 shows that 26.2% of Queensland children are developmentally vulnerable or at risk on one or more developmental domains – including language and cognitive skills. Queensland ranks sixth behind the other states.
In Queensland approximately 36% of parents of 0–2-year-olds, and 52% of parents of 3–8-year-olds do not regularly read to their children 1, and current evidence suggests this role is not well understood by parents and caregivers of children aged 0–5 years in Australia.
Why local government?
First 5 Forever is based on more than four years of consultation, research and pilot programs through the Libraries for Literacy Framework 2. The evidence shows that local libraries, through their targeted programs and services, are well placed to respond to the local needs of children and families.
Why public libraries?
Public libraries are the only government agency available to children and their families from babyhood, providing year-round, free access to resources and services that support language, reading and literacy 3.
What will First 5 Forever deliver?
First 5 Forever will connect to families through public libraries and community agencies and is generously supported by the State Government with the participation of Local Government Councils.
About 320 public libraries will receive additional resources to deliver First 5 Forever. These new resources will include:
- more places at public programs including Baby Time and Story Time sessions
- information toolkits for parents and caregivers of young children
- state-wide awareness campaign
- a program to enable library staff to partner with local early childhood sector workers
- central coordination, support, state-wide campaign, and evaluation from State Library of Queensland.
When will First 5 Forever begin?
From January 2015, First 5 Forever will begin rolling out in public libraries across the state. Please visit this page for updates.
- First 5 Forever funding will be distributed based on how many people currently live in the local government area with additional funding for families with children.
- Local Councils have the flexibility to deliver programs that are best suited to their community in consultation with the Queensland Government.
- The Australian Early Development Census data for 2012 shows that 26.2% of Queensland children are developmentally vulnerable or at risk on one or more developmental domains – including language and cognitive skills. Queensland ranks sixth behind the other states.
- Approximately 62,000 children were born in Queensland last year.
- 36% of Queensland parents of 0–2-year-olds do not regularly read to their children or participate in informal learning 4.
- 52% of Queensland parents of 3–8-year-olds do not regularly read to their children or participate in informal learning 5.
- Current research shows that the parents and caregivers’ role in supporting their child’s literacy and language development in their very early years is not well understood in Queensland.
- Vocabulary at age 4 is highly correlated to reading comprehension in year 4.
- Research shows that children surrounded by daily activities such as reading, storytelling, singing and sharing rhymes will experience more comprehensive vocabulary, language and cognitive development before they start formal kindergarten and school programs.
- The critical development window for early years literacy development is 0-3 years.
- Queensland children need to start kindy and school stronger in their language and comprehension development and with more confidence in reading.
- $20 million in resources has been committed by the Queensland Government over 4 years to First 5 Forever.
- 72 local government regions will benefit.