Off to a good start

NSW MINISTER for education, Adrian Piccoli

NSW MINISTER for education, Adrian Piccoli was in town early Thursday (March 20) , enjoying breakfast with Taree Public School staff and students as he officially launched the Connected Communities breakfast program in schools.

While in town Mr Piccoli announced a $100,000 investment in breakfast programs at the 15 Connected Communities schools across the State and spoke about the vital role a good breakfast plays in children's learning outcomes.

"Health research tells us that breakfast is vital for a student's concentration during the day," Mr Piccoli said.

"A good start means good learning and offering a breakfast program ensures students are ready to make the most of their day."

On the menu for students is everything from cereals, toast, fruit and yoghurt, with upwards of 20 children turning up for the program each day.

This was Mr Piccoli's first visit to Taree Public School, however he said he has been to Taree before and was delighted to see the community embracing the Connected Communities program in the area.

He was joined by relieving director of Connected Communities Peter Sheargold, who reiterated Adrian's comments about the importance of a healthy breakfast for students.

Mr Sheargold also spoke about the role the connected communities program plays in the Manning.

"It's an important strategy but we're only 12 to 15 months into a 20 year program and already we're seeing the community embrace the idea," he said.

"There will be an evaluation in 2018 that will give an indication of how goals are being achieved but it's a powerful learning experience for everyone."

Mr Piccoli said the Connected Communities was a more holistsic approach to education, starting at home and working through to adulthood with the children.

"Connected Communities is a unique approach that gives the schools unprecedented authority to tailor education to students' needs," Mr Piccoli said.

"It recognises that one size does not fit all and we have given schools the power to do things differently."

The NSW Government launched the Connected Communities strategy in May 2012 and 15 schools were selected to take part from around the State.

Taree is the least remote area involved in the strategy and is under the guidance of executive principal, Allison Alliston, who works closely with Taree Public School principal Karen Clark, Biripi Elders, community organisations and the government to meet outcomes and achieve goals for the connected communities students and their families.

Mr Piccoli also had the important task of turning the first sod on the grounds of the new multi-million dollar Lake Cathie Public School during his visit to the area.

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