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Skills in Reserve
December 9, 2010
By LSIS Paul McCallum
CHILDREN are set to benefit from a
Schools as Community Centres ini-
tiative, Literacy and Dads (LADS),
where fathers are being encouraged
to read more with their children from
kindergarten to year two.
Queanbeyan is the first region in
NSW to trial the new program and the
local community, including HMAS
Harman (CMDR Andy Schroder), has
jumped on board with the full sup-
port of Head of Navy People and
Reputation RADM Trevor Jones.
Speaking at Harman's first LADS
session on November 26, which was
attended by 29 Navy fathers, CMDR
Schroder echoed RADM Jones' words
encouraging fathers to get involved
with their children's reading.
"HNPAR has sent an instruction
to local commanders recommending
they release personnel for one hour
each month so they can attend their
children's school and get involved
with reading in the classroom," CMDR
"This is a great opportunity for
fathers to spend more quality time
with their children during working
hours, and fits in with New Generation
Navy's aim of improving work-life
The NSW Department of
Education Schools as Communities
coordinator, Maureen Howe, said all
principals in the Queanbeyan and
Jerrabomberra region had expressed
their interest in the program and
were keen to get more fathers back to
"Studies show that only five per
cent of parents who volunteer to read
in schools are men," Ms Howe said.
"With this program, along with the
help of employers such as Navy, we
hope to eventually get that figure clos-
er to 50 per cent."
"We have been pleasantly surprised
at how many fathers have already
expressed their interest in the program.
"It shows Navy is working towards
more family friendly practices and
Queanbeyan schools are excited by the
prospect of more fathers helping in the
classroom and moving away from their
historical involvement of working bees
and out of hours assistance.
Queanbeyan West Public School
Principal Vicki Muscat said she was
looking forward to seeing a change in
the role of fathers in her school.
"You can't measure the value the
children get from having their fathers
reading with them at school," Mrs
"With the wider advertising of the
LADS program we are really looking
forward to seeing the children engage
with their fathers more at school. It is
great that organisations such as Navy
are able to support it."
For more information on LADS or to vol-
unteer for the program, contact Maureen
Howe at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dads not too
cool for school
Navy supports Literacy and Dads program
QUALITY TIME: Fathers are being encouraged to spend more time
reading with their children through the Literacy and Dads program.
Photo: LSIS Paul McCallum
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