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Support for families thanks to the Early Learning Fund

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Settling in a new country can be a huge challenge without the added issues of finding early learning for a three-and-a-half-year-old.

Which is why finding Goodstart Early Learning’s Braybrook centre was such as relief for Oanh Ngoc Luu. 

Arriving in Australia with very little English and a three-year-boy, Oanh went on a tour of the centre and was thrilled to find educators who spoke Vietnamese.

Centre director Angela Prenga said the centre had several staff who were originally from Vietnam and worked with Oanh to make her and her son Ivan feel welcome.

And now, just 10 months on, Ivan is settled, speaking English (as well as Vietnamese) and enjoying great relationships with children in his classroom. The centre worked with him to access the Early Learning Fund (ELF), enabling him to attend early learning two days a week for around $5.

Families eligible for ELF include those who are in danger of missing out on access to early learning and meet one of the following criteria:
  • Families in hardship
  • Indigenous children
  • Refugee and humanitarian entrants
  • Children at risk
While there are Government programs to help children in the short-term, many thousands miss out on the opportunity to continue with early learning when the support ends.

“The parent was so grateful to be offered this opportunity,” Ms Prenga said. “Through ELF, he was able to attend our centre two days a week since the beginning of the year, and in that time, he now speaks English and is really succeeding in his learning and friendships.”

Oanh said Ivan became more cheerful and happier since he joined Goodstart.

“He’s made more friends and knows how to express himself more because he has started to interact with other children,” she said.

“I am very blessed that we meet the criteria for the funding and I hope that this funding will continue to help a lot more people, a lot more children so that they are equal to other children out in the community.

“I’m very thankful for all the people who donate into the ELF program because it’s really helped us, and I know there are a lot of other families who would also benefit.”

The fund was set up by Goodstart Early Learning and The Benevolent Society to ensure children who need a little more help get access to quality early learning. 
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