SDN Aboriginal Early Childhood. Scholarships

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1 SDN Aboriginal Early Childhood Scholarships

2 SDN Aboriginal Early Childhood Scholarships SDN Children s Services has a proud history of providing high quality education and care for young children. We have a proven track record working with Aboriginal families in inner city Sydney over several decades. Since 2007, SDN has offered scholarships for Aboriginal children to attend our Redfern Children s Education and Care Centre. What the scholarships cover The scholarships cover the cost of the education and care for a three-year-old to attend an SDN centre, three days a week for two years (50 weeks per year). Each scholarship costs $6,000 per year. It also provides additional funding to the centre so that the families of the children enrolled can be provided with extra time, support and opportunities to connect with each other. This is unique. This is the only fully-funded educational scholarship program offered to pre school aged Aboriginal children. Through a very generous donation from the Vincent Fairfax Family Foundation, SDN has been able to offer a total of 12 scholarships. We are looking to increase our capacity and offer new scholarships in the Marrickville, Glebe, Newtown and Surry Hills areas. SDN is looking for partners to help. With your support we will be able to offer more Aboriginal children the chance of a preschool education and lay the foundation for lifelong learning. Scholarships are advertised locally and parents must agree to certain conditions, including committing to the attendance of their child; making a small contribution to the fees; and being involved with the transition to school program facilitated by the centre and the child s primary school. SDN has Public Benevolent Institution (PBI) status and all scholarship donations are tax deductible. What I think Australian parents and the Australian community intuitively know is if you get at the back of the class early in your school life, it can be really hard to catch up later on. Julia Gillard, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Education.

3 A 2009 national report containing the most comprehensive information on the wellbeing of Australian children found Indigenous children fare the worst. The Australian Early Development Index analysed the social, physical, emotional and communication skills of children aged five and also tested their literacy and numeracy skills. The data shows that almost 50 percent of Aboriginal children are developmentally vulnerable in at least one of these areas, compared to 23 percent of non-indigenous children. More than one third of Indigenous children had very poor literacy and numeracy skills for their age. About the Aboriginal Early Childhood Scholarships The scholarships aim to: Enhance early educational and social development outcomes for Aboriginal children. Establish positive attitudes to learning and mainstream institutions. Build confidence and skills to assist in the transition to school. Enhance the connections between Aboriginal and non- Aboriginal families, individuals and children. Lay the foundation for lifelong learning. Educational outcomes for Aboriginal children Very few Aboriginal families feel comfortable in mainstream early childhood education and care centres due to cultural barriers and cost. However we know that if we can overcome these barriers, Aboriginal children would benefit enormously from early childhood education. Research shows that what happens in the years before school has more impact on educational and life outcomes than what happens once children are at school. These early years are also the time when parents make choices that can change their child s life trajectory.

4 Why we need your help A child who is awarded a scholarship will spend at least two years in our early childhood education program. This program is based on the national Early Years Learning Framework, the new early education standard supported by the Australian federal and state governments. All of our centre directors and preschool teachers are university trained early childhood teachers. The scholarships were established from the realisation that many Aboriginal families in need were not accessing government-funded family assistance programs because of a resistance to greater government involvement. Many of the programs cast a wide net and don t take into account cultural sensitivities. As a result, Aboriginal families in need are slipping through the cracks. The demand for these scholarships is growing and so is our waiting list. We have families knocking at the door and without further support we will have to continue turning them away. If you can help by sponsoring an SDN Aboriginal Early Childhood Scholarship, please contact our Donor Relationships Officer on We are more than happy to arrange visits to our centres. With thanks to the Vincent Fairfax Family Foundation SDN would like to thank the Vincent Fairfax Family Foundation for providing the initial funding to support our vision. The Foundation s grant of $108,000 paid for the first 12 Aboriginal Early Childhood Scholarships. The scholarships would not have been possible without the generous support of the Foundation. From the Vincent Fairfax Family Foundation Directors were encouraged by SDN s commitment to Indigenous children and their families who are at risk of slipping through the cracks of bureaucratic funding models. The scholarships are seeking to address, at an individual level, the problem of poor educational outcomes of Aboriginal children. Directors were also mindful of SDN s pioneering track record of administering early intervention scholarships, the efficacy of which has been documented in independent valuations.

5 About SDN SDN Children s Services is an Australian leader in high quality care and education for children and families. We operate 23 long day care centres and preschools in NSW and the ACT, with 3,000 children. SDN also runs 15 targeted programs for children facing difficulties with their development, and families needing assistance. These support services help more than 3,000 children, 500 families and 1,000 early childhood providers each year. We employ 550 qualified staff committed to giving young children the best start in life and supporting families in need. SDN s proud history spans more than 100 years. As a not-for-profit organisation, we put children first and invest any surplus in the quality of our centres and programs. Our record with Aboriginal communities SDN has been involved with Aboriginal communities over several decades, we are trusted and have relationships with local organisations. SDN has a reputation for welcoming Pioneering education for preschoolers In the 1930s, SDN was the first to combine a preschool program with long day care by employing university qualified early childhood teachers in our centres. Many of the children were disadvantaged and this pioneering role was the only hope they had of receiving any education prior to school. It is our aim to continue that tradition through the SDN Aboriginal Early Childhood Scholarships. Aboriginal families through the caring nature and cultural appreciation shown by our staff. We have a dedicated Aboriginal Program Manager and our staff participate in ongoing cultural competency training. Aboriginal children attend several of our centres. We operate other Aboriginal support programs. SDN pioneered an Aboriginal training program for women. In 2009, we won a national Equal Opportunity Award from the Australian Government for the advancement of Indigenous women. By the time Aboriginal children start school, almost half are developmentally vulnerable. If we can begin educating more children earlier we can hopefully break the cycle. At SDN we know we can reach Aboriginal children. We have qualified teachers and we are committed to giving these children a preschool education but we need donations to do it. Please help us to assist children who face heaps of challenges to reach their full potential. Ginie Udy, CEO of SDN

6 Yes, I wish to donate to SDN s Aboriginal Early Childhood Scholarships Name Address Postcode Phone I wish to support: a full scholarship $12,000 (two years) cash cheque money order OR debit my credit card Visa Mastercard Diners Amex Card number Expiry date a half scholarship $6,000 (one year) or make a contribution towards a scholarship $120 (one week) Cardholder s name Signature $480 (one month) Other (please insert amount) YOUR GIFT IS TAX DEDUCTIBLE For purposes OF tax deductibility please make payment to SDN Child and Family Services PO Box 654, Broadway, NSW

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