CoLab welcomes the importance placed on early years development by the WA Government under its 12 priorities outlined for the future of Western Australia.
A partnership between Telethon Kids Institute and the Minderoo Foundation, CoLab - Collaborate For Kids, aims to bring together government with practitioners and families to ensure every child has the best foundation in life.
Under the Our Priorities: Sharing Prosperity Plan, the State Government identified priorities including: improve the health and wellbeing of children in the early years; increase student reading and numeracy; increase participation in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) and improve Aboriginal wellbeing.
CoLab director Prof. Donna Cross said 0 to 5 years was a crucial time in the development of every child, with research showing more than one million neural connections were formed every second.
She welcomed the opportunity to work with the State Government through CoLab.
“The challenge for us in Australia is that while we live in the so-called ‘lucky country’, one in five children are already developmentally vulnerable when they start school,” Prof. Cross said.
“Work needs to start at birth to ensure these children have the strongest foundation possible so our society is not starting from scratch when children enter a schooling environment.
“CoLab stands ready to work with the State Government to ensure the health and wellbeing of our youngest children is improved, for their own benefit and for the greater societal impact.”
Prof. Cross said the early years partnership between Telethon Kids and Minderoo Foundation was already collaborating with the State Government through the unprecedented Early Years Initiative, a 10 year agreement which will try, test and deliver evidence-informed, community led approaches to early childhood services in four West Australian locations.
CoLab also launched a public campaign – Bright Tomorrows Start Today – which showcased the importance of meaningful moments with children aged 0 to 5 to the development of their brains.
A parent app is currently under development which will provide targeted tips and support mechanisms to parents.