Andrews’ Labor government recently announced it would invest $6 million to bring a new Multicultural Storytime program to Victoria if he is re-elected.
This program gives children up to the age of five the opportunity to learn a language other than English by reading a book and participating in activities with an animator.
A 45 minute session will allow parents to engage their children and grandchildren in their native language in a new and engaging way.
This new program will provide grants of up to $25,000 per year to community organizations, language schools and councils.
“Storytelling is a powerful way to strengthen the connection young children have with their communities, families and identities and Labor is proud to support our multicultural communities every day,” said Prime Minister Daniel Andrews.
There are communities from over 200 countries in Victoria speaking over 260 languages.
According to Multicultural Affairs Minister Ros Spence, the world’s oldest languages are found in Victoria, so it is imperative that “we play our part in strengthening them in our communities”.
Northcote Labor member Kat Theophanous said she was lucky to grow up in a community that valued linguistic heritage.
“It’s an important part of who I am, and today’s announcement will ensure it’s an important part of communities for many years to come,” Theophanous said.
Meanwhile, Box Hill Labor MP Paul Hamer said: ‘It will be fantastic to see so many young children in Box Hill develop a strong sense of community through the art of storytelling.
Pauline Richards, Labor MP for Cranbourne, said she was so proud to represent an electorate full of languages – and she knows how important it is for families to pass those languages on to their children.
Narre Warren North Labor candidate Belinda Wilson said she supports mother tongue learning for more of the younger generations of her electorate.
Premier Andrews said multiculturalism is Victoria’s greatest gift and there is a need to “invest in the many languages, religions and cultures that call the state home”.