Indigenous picture books support early literacy for ATSI families
Published on 18 September 2023
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families will now receive an Indigenous picture book when they visit the Maternal and Child Health (MCH) service thanks to a collaboration between local service providers.
Mildura Rural City Council has partnered with Mallee District Aboriginal Services to source culturally relevant and age-appropriate books for local Indigenous families.
Council's MCH Nurses will distribute the books when Indigenous families bring their babies and children to a Key Age and Stage milestone visit. Free MCH visits are recommended at ten important milestones from birth until a child starts school.
Community Health and Wellbeing Portfolio Councillor Troy Bailey said the Indigenous book partnership was designed to engage children in reading from a young age and enhance early childhood literacy.
“Reading and sharing books regularly is proven to support the overall health and development of babies and young children,” Cr Bailey said.
“It promotes brain development, imagination, language and learning and strengthens relationships.”
Council’s dedicated team of Maternal and Child Health Nurses delivered more than seven and a half thousand appointments for families in the last Financial Year. The Indigenous book initiative is one of the many ways the service is promoting a culturally safe and supportive environment for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families.
Chief Executive of Mallee District Aboriginal Services, Darlene Thomas said the organisation was proud to donate children’s books that celebrate Aboriginal culture for local MCH nurses to distribute.
“We know that reading aloud to children and sharing stories is critical in developing literacy skills and strengthening family relationships. Engaging our children with culturally relevant stories, is a powerful way that we can promote reading, connection, and curiosity from an early age," Ms Thomas said.
“The books we have selected can link our children with their culture, supporting their understanding of identity while providing a foundation for their life-long learning.”
MCH Nurses check baby and children’s health, growth and development and can support families on their parenting journey with information and advice on sleep and settling, feeding and nutrition, immunisations, family wellbeing and starting kindergarten or school.
To book an appointment with a Maternal and Child Health Nurse call Council on 5018 8100 or visit mildura.vic.gov.au/MCH
Families can also access the 24-hour Maternal and Child Health Line which is available at any time, by calling 13 22 29.