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Dream big for Burnett kids

CHILD DEVELOPMENT: Katrina Harris with Bronte at Mainly Music in Kingaroy, one of many activities on offer for children in the South Burnett.
CHILD DEVELOPMENT: Katrina Harris with Bronte at Mainly Music in Kingaroy, one of many activities on offer for children in the South Burnett. Christian Berechree

CHILDREN in the South Burnett are more vulnerable in the five areas of child development than other Queensland children.

Now, a group has come together to do something about it.

They will meet together next week to discuss how to help South Burnett children reach their potential.

Centre for Children's Health and Wellbeing speech pathologist and health promoter with the Children's Health Queensland Service Kym Dunstan will speak at the meeting.

"We all realise that it's not just families and educators who spend time with our kids but people from all facets of the community - grandparents, libraries, sporting clubs, churches, business owners, school parent associations, services, and playgroups - just to name a few,” Ms Dunstan said.

"Melissa Kidd (from the Department of Education and Training) and I approached Councillor Danita Potter about whether the council would be interested in hosting the first forum and it was so exciting that we had people from every corner of the community attend.”

Next Tuesday's meeting will be the third community gathering so far and the group's aim is to kids a good start and outcomes through creating a safe, strong and connected community.

"Children's interactions and experiences make physical changes in children's brains, especially in the first five years, these changes can last a lifetime,” Ms Dunstan said.

"We discussed what people loved about Kingaroy, as well as the challenges in bringing up children here. We also shared data around how the children in Kingaroy are faring by the time they get to school, especially across the domains measured by the Australian Early Development Census (AEDC).

"This is a detailed questionnaire completed about each student in Prep every three years and we can see how children go compared to the Queensland or Australian averages across five domains: Physical health and wellbeing, social development, emotional maturity, language and cognition, and communication skills.

"As a whole, children in this region are more vulnerable than the Queensland average across most domains.”

The meeting is at the Kingaroy Town Common Hall on Tuesday August 15 at 6.30pm-8pm.

For more information contact Cr Potter on 0409490175 or div3@ southburnett.qld.gov.au.

South Burnett

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