Waitara tiny-tots are bound to be the most well-read babies in the region thanks to the 'Books for Babies' project. Read a recent story, below, from the North Taranaki Midweek.(external link)
Storytime Foundation recently collaborated with the Tui Ora, Tamariki Ora Well Child team to get free books delivered to young families in the area.
Together they aim to promote reading books as a way to strengthen the bond between parents and their children and enhance their cognitive and literacy development.
The project's ultimate goal is to give little ones from whanau with higher social needs the best possible start in life.
"Many of my clients don't have much money and a book for baby is the last thing you'll see on their shopping list," said Tamariki Ora nurse Gaylene Corry.
"This a great way to get books into their homes and encourage them to sit with their kids and read them a story," she said.
Corry's client, young single mum Aroha Penny, has three kids aged from six months to four years.
The nurse makes regular visits to her home to provide Well Child checks and offer support including advice on nutrition and baby's growth.
"When it comes to my kids, Gaylene is the only one outside of my family I trust to ask for help or advice," said Penny. "It's the little things she does, and these books are sure to benefit us in the long run too."
Penny said as a kid reading was not her idea of fun, but her daughter Latoya loves it.
"She'll plonk herself on my lap with a book and pretend to read to me, that's pretty cool," she said.
"She also enjoys entertaining herself for ages with a book."
Penny's sister Chyna and her partner Daryl Baldwin have a new baby boy called Devvon and are now on Corry's list of families to see.
They said it was reassuring to know they will be supported on their parenting journey and look forward to participating in 'Books for Babies'.
As part of the programme they will receive five books during Devvon's various developmental stages and they are available in a choice of languages including Māori, Tongan, and Chinese.
*Storytime Foundation is a national charitable trust established in 1997 and has distributed 146,000 books to almost 40,000 Kiwi families. Tui Ora is perfectly placed to increase those numbers and expand the programme to other parts of the region.