Ross Fox

Director General, Catholic Education Office

The theme of this year’s Children’s Week recognises the rights of children to enjoy a standard of living that provides for their wellbeing and healthy development.


It is widely recognised how important the early years are in setting children up for healthy development through childhood and into adolescence, Parents and carers play a key role along with prior to school environments in encouraging curiosity and discovery in the world of the early learner. In these prior to school years children will hear stories read and begin to recognise simple words and sounds.


These prior to school years will however vary depending on context and experiences and consequently children come to school with different exposure to early reading. The first years of schooling therefore become vital in ensuring all children are provided with opportunities for early acquisition of the skills needed for reading. Unlike the acquisition of oral language, learning to read is not innate and requires quality instruction and practice. 

There is a significant body of research on the science of reading. This evidence base assists in the early detection of where specific gaps and stumbling blocks exist in early reading and what early intervention is needed. The importance of reading comprehension for the wellbeing and healthy development of children, and from childhood to healthy adolescence and adulthood, highlights the importance of early reading and the precision needed to support all children to attain reading competence, Reading competence for every learner is one of the bold goals in Catholic Education Canberra Goulburn.


Our Catholic schools are learning communities of hope, joy and wonder where every child can grow to their potential. I see our schools evolving and growing to adapt and respond to change, and see challenges as opportunities for learning, rather than just reacting to problems. Through our teaching and learning, and pastoral care, we can strengthen children’s resilience, help them manage stress, and enhance their well-being so they can engage in learning to be their best.

Ross Fox