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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2017 Week 14 Hansard (Thursday, 30 November 2017) . . Page.. 5422 ..

Big school ready is currently being piloted in the West Belconnen Child and Family Centre. It is a similar model to prep for pre and focuses on making sure children and their parents or carers have the supports in place to ensure a positive transition to school.

MR STEEL: Minister, what feedback have you received from families who have accessed these services through the child and family centres?

MS STEPHEN-SMITH: I thank Mr Steel for his supplementary. The feedback has been very positive for these programs. Through the prep for pre program, parents, carers and children all grew in confidence and learnt new skills. The program provided a positive experience for everyone, with families making new connections with other families and children making their first school friends.

I was pleased to attend two prep for pre sessions and heard firsthand the positive comments from parents and carers. I know that the Deputy Chief Minister also attended a session. The feedback provided to the staff involved in the program has also been overwhelmingly positive. One parent said, “It was so beneficial for us as parents, even more so than the children. Our anxieties have been minimised through this program and all our questions have been answered. Thank you.”

We can see that in some cases the benefits of prep for pre have already been realised, as one parent commented, “I want to tell you this program was so good. I felt so lucky to come. I feel like I have learnt so much myself and I have discovered new skills in my child. Since coming to the program, my child is dressing himself.”

The opportunity for participants to speak to other parents who are going through the same process has proved to be particularly beneficial, with one parent commenting, “I have connected with other parents and children transitioning to the same school.” So already, Madam Speaker, networks are being built. Another parent said, “Thank you for the generous program, time, resources, networking and encouragement.”

Through this feedback it is evident that our child and family centres are helping parents feel comfortable with the transition to school and optimistic about their children’s future success in education. This is just one way that our fabulous child and family centres are helping families across Canberra throughout the year.

MS ORR: Minister, what programs will be on offer at the child and family centres over the upcoming school holidays?

MS STEPHEN-SMITH: I thank Ms Orr for her supplementary question. I am going to disappoint the Attorney-General by not having a number of song quotes in the answer. As we know, summer holidays—we are all going on a summer holiday—are fast approaching, as we have seen this week in this place. Members will be pleased to hear that child and family centres will again be offering the successful kids and families program. This program offers free events and activities for young children and their families and is run from the three child and family centres. The kids and families program is a great way for families to join in fun and family-friendly

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