Priorities for the elderly
I WRITE with regards to the article titled, Residents to determine top priorities (Wimmera Mail-Times, April 23 edition).
I am 83 and a fifth-generation member of my family to have lived in the Horsham district; the first being Robert McIlvena who arrived in 1854.
I have been employed in both the retail and public service areas of the Horsham municipality prior to my retirement in 1993. I have served in a voluntary capacity as president of the Horsham Historical Society and I am now entering my fourth year as president of the University of the Third Age.
At U3A, we have 300 members with average ages of 60 to 90. These members we provide 115 separate classes per month.
Our main headquarters and operational areas are at the 139-year-old Horsham Railway Station where, due to limited space and the depreciation of the building, we are forced to utilise a number of outside venues with one of these groups averaging 70 attendees. This fragmentation of our classes adds to the difficulties of management to retain our group unity and loyalty to U3A.
While our specialist tutors are paid, the executive committee and tutors receive no remuneration.
During my retirement period of 25 years, I have been associated with the senior residents of Horsham and district. I have become well aware of the increase in numbers of our older generation and also their preference to remain within the general community and their desire to continue to participate in some form of activity, entertainment or educational endeavour.
I am greatly concerned that we are not doing enough to assist them.
I am also concerned that, in my history, there is and has been a distinct lack of any consistent improvement of any consequence in the provision of appropriate facilities for the Wimmera’s older generation who lived through the period of wars, depressions, floods and droughts. This is the generation who contributed to the continued growth and prosperity of Horsham and its district, who now witness continual notice of facility improvements for the younger age groups. It is also evident that further medical advances will only add to our increasing third age residents.
I suggest there is already a hidden population of elders suffering from minimal human contact and are unaware of available options to improve their lives. I have no doubt that if an appropriate person-centered facility, with appropriate programs, was available, the number of our seniors attending the various groups would double.
This should be a top project and consideration be given to obtaining government support for the establishment of one purpose-built seniors facility with extensive surrounds and ample car parking. I am familiar with the governances constraint that authorities have to work with, but I believe there is a real opportunity for Horsham to become a leader in Victoria by proof of respect and caring for the seniors who contributed to the development of this township we enjoy today.
Bob McIlvena, Horsham
Entertaining new show
I HAVE been to see a wonderful show at Horsham Town Hall – Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.
The talent we have here in Horsham is just amazing. The singing is so great and there is such a variety of ages taking part. The costumes and even the backdrops are just beautiful and the dancing and the energy displayed is just so great. I absolutely loved the whole show and I suggest this one not to be missed.
Everyone has to be congratulated – it is just as amazing as the dreamcoat is.
Dorothy Armstrong, Horsham
Advice for assessments
This is an open letter to parents of children involved in NAPLAN testing.
Every child needs numeracy and literacy skills to get a well-rounded education. Literacy and numeracy are the universal building blocks that provide the foundation skills children will need as they progress through school and beyond.
NAPLAN is an important tool for you and your child’s teachers to see how your child, compared with the rest of Australia’s children, is going in meeting important literacy and numeracy standards.
NAPLAN doesn’t test everything that happens in classrooms and it isn’t intended to. It does look at the critically important skills of literacy and numeracy – the skills our children will need for any career path they eventually choose to take.
After your child has taken NAPLAN, you will receive information on how he or she is progressing in literacy and numeracy, and how this compares with other students at your child’s school and across Australia.
NAPLAN doesn’t replace regular in-class assessments, but it is the only national assessment Australian children undertake. It allows for achievement to be celebrated, and – equally importantly – helps identify areas where more support may be needed to help individual students reach their full potential.
No extra preparation is required. What children learn in the classroom through the teaching of the Australian Curriculum is what NAPLAN assesses. As with any test, some students may feel anxious. In these cases, it’s up to the adults to help explain what NAPLAN is all about and keep it in perspective. Remind your child that it’s not a big deal, that it’s a short assessment taken only four times during their schooling.
In August you will receive your child’s results. If you have any concerns, discuss them with your child’s teacher. For fact sheets, frequently asked questions, examples of NAPLAN questions and more, visit www.nap.edu.au
Robert Randall, chief executive, Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority