HomeEarly Childhood InitiativesSebastian, Karina, & Spike’s story

Sebastian, Karina, & Spike’s story

“We believe it is really good for his educational development…”

Helping children start school prepared isn’t something that just happens in kindergarten.

It’s a process that starts at birth, supporting children’s early development across the five vital areas of:
• physical health and wellbeing
• social competence
• emotional maturity
• language and cognitive skills
• communication skills and general knowledge

In Australia today, more than one in five children start school “developmentally vulnerable” in one or more of these areas. In communities of disadvantage, that proportion can be much higher.

In the Queensland community of Leichhardt where Sebastian, Karina and their son Spike (10 months) live, almost one in two children start school unprepared, being more than twice as likely as other Australian children to lack the language and communication skills needed to thrive.

Wanting to give their son a better chance in life, Sebastian and Karina wasted no time in signing up then 6-month-old Spike to the Imagination Library after hearing about it at their local playgroup.

We figured it would be important to involve him while he is at this young age to basically learn as much as he could from the books, colour wise, vocab wise. Just starting him interacting with books at a young age we believe it is really good for his educational development.”

While Spike is still too little to fully appreciate most of the stories, it’s the simple act of reading and interacting together in these crucial early years that will help him build the vital skills he’ll need for school, as his parents now know.

We’ve learnt it’s not so important to read the book word for word but to more interact with them. ‘Where is the Green Sheep’ puts the importance on repeating where is the green sheep and being able to point out where the green sheep actually is. That was quite a cool pointer.”

And the books are working, encouraging parents like Sebastian and Karina to spend more time engaging in shared reading with their children, even if sometimes it pushes them beyond their comfort zone, as Sebastian explains.

I like to read when I am by myself with Spike. That way I can act out some scenes of the book, so I don’t get embarrassed with everyone around me. He likes it when I do that, I get a smile and a laugh.”

After only a few months in the program, Sebastian can already see the changes the Imagination Library has made in supporting the whole family’s love of books and reading, and in helping Spike’s early development. That’s why he’d like to see the the initiative expanded to reach more children in the community, and why he’s encouraging more Australians with the means to do so to support it.

Donating to the Imagination Library book club is a wonderful cause. Its enhancing the learning of children in community and books are a wonderful gift that can’t be replaced by a toy or a computer. It’s something they’ll have forever to look back on. Spike loves reading now, we hope that reading becomes part of his everyday activity and that he enjoys it for the rest of his life.”

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