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EDITORIAL: It’s all about the detail

Announcements this week relating to increased access to childcare and kindergarten, along with mental health support for primary school students, are, undoubtedly, great news. 

Increasing accessibility for young people to engage in kindergarten programs offers opportunities for development and positive and productive pathways to school, supporting them to be school-ready and extending social outcomes. 

These early experiences are pivotal to their development. 

The extension of a mental health and wellbeing program in primary schools across Victoria comes in response to the Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System. Its findings highlighted the role schools can play in encouraging young people to access mental health supports, and for teachers to identify those requiring assistance. 

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Upskilling teachers to become mental health and wellbeing leaders builds their knowledge and understanding, with their support for students and families carrying a potential to change the stigma of mental health in our communities as awareness grows and support is encouraged. 

But naturally, questions immediately arise about the capacity of childcare, kindergarten and school teachers to take on these initiatives. 

It would be a shame if such initiatives were abandoned or put in the ‘too-hard’ basket due to under-resourcing – it’s well-documented that the workforce is already stretched to the limit. What gives? 

The impacts of such programs won’t be truly recognised for some time to come. 

Quantifying those impacts will be a challenge – because defining its improvement, benefits or ‘success’ is nuanced and multi-layered. People are individuals, after all. 

But this understanding is critical if such initiatives are to continue. 

Until then, there’s work to do in defining how these programs can have the greatest impact in the Wimmera, within the scope of the current and emerging workforce, throughout implementation. 

It’s all about the detail. 

The entire June 22, 2022 edition of The Weekly Advertiser is available online. READ IT HERE!