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At Mary MacKillop Childcare North Queensland, our focus is the education and care of the special members of the family, our children. At our Kindergartens, we have a focus on enabling each child to become active, lifelong learners and through our inquiry-based learning environments – support the transition to school and beyond.

Mary MacKillop Childcare North Queensland Executive Director, Carolyn Cousins said, “Our kindergartens are in a very unique position being able to offer additional support to our families through our speech, literacy and numeracy early intervention program, provided in collaboration with specialists from Townsville Catholic Education”.

MMCNQ offers all kindergarten-aged children the opportunity to participate in two specialised kindergarten screenings using speech language pathologist Harriet Naylor. “She visits all MMCNQ Kindergartens and meets with each kindergarten-aged child individually to engage them in conversational screening of their speech and language development,” Carolyn said.

Harriet said “We know, through research, that early identification and intervention can ensure children have the best opportunity to develop lifelong communication skills.”

The screening involves naming pictures and conversation sampling to allow Harriet Naylor to collect data on each child’s speech (i.e., the ability to produce/articulate sounds in words). She also collects data on language development (i.e., their understanding of spoken instructions and vocabulary, social skills and using developmentally appropriate grammatical markers and sentence structures). MMCNQ then provides each family with an overview that details the child’s progress towards outcomes and any recommendations.

Story Book Screeners

In addition, the Kindergarten children are also given the opportunity to have their literacy and numeracy skills investigated by their kindergarten teacher. This takes place during an individualised play based story book screener. During this time, the teachers will ask kindergarten children to share a story book with their teacher. The teachers will then ask the child a series of oral language, early literacy and numeracy questions. Essentially, the foundation skills for academic access.

Carolyn said, “The information gathered from the screening further supports the development of our kindergarten curriculums. Additionally, it further supports each child’s learning. This information allows each child’s kindergarten teacher to identify their strengths. Then they can determine where the child may require further support in communication, literacy and numeracy.”

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Townsville Catholic Education Office, Early Years Coordinator, Mrs. Kate Sargent, will then collate the outcomes and recommendations. They are used to support and enhance all children’s learning in the kindergarten. This includes professional development and capacity building for the Kindergarten Teachers and Assistants.

To find out more about Mary MacKillop Childcare NQ Kindergarten programs, visit the Mary MacKillop Childcare website or call 4726 3299 for an information pack.