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First 5 Forever funding sees early literacy flourish

Promoting the joys of reading to young Queenslanders remains a priority for the Palaszczuk Government, with the state announcing an annual commitment of $5 million to continue popular learning initiative First 5 Forever.

Minister for Arts Leeanne Enoch said the funding – part of next month’s 2018-19 State Budget – will help Queensland children establish developmental and literacy competencies during the critical early years of life.

“The Palaszczuk Government has today made an ongoing commitment to continue First 5 Forever and provide direct support to Queensland families and primary caregivers in building a literary foundation for children aged five and under,” Ms Enoch said.

“First 5 Forever, delivered by the State Library of Queensland in partnership with 62 local governments, supports the Palaszczuk Government’s commitment to nurture the creative minds of our kids.

“Queenslanders have embraced this program and the momentum shows no signs of slowing down, with 1.93 million attendees since 2015, and more than 900,000 participants in 2017 alone.

“The program is far reaching and imaginative in its approach, with free activities including story times in libraries and ‘splash and learn’ gatherings in public pools.”

First 5 Forever is linked to a statewide network of more than 320 public libraries and Indigenous Knowledge Centres, and is available to all of the state through participating local councils.

Library staff around Queensland are also advancing their knowledge of early literacy development through the program, with more than 550 employees attending training and workshops in 2017.

Ms Enoch commended the State Library of Queensland on the success of First 5 Forever, noting the positive impact the program has had on young Queenslanders and their families.

“The program underpins our government’s aim to connect communities, encourage creative thinking, and give our children the skills and education they need to succeed,” she said.

“Literacy is one of the keys to learning and First 5 Forever will continue to unlock enormous potential for Queenslanders, now and into the future.”