The ‘Glasses for Kids’ program aims to remove vision impairment as a potential barrier to educational engagement and in Term 1, 2020 340 schools from some of the most disadvantaged areas of Victoria are expected to participate.
‘Glasses for Kids’, in partnership with the Victorian government, was rolled out to 290 primary, P-12, special schools and special developmental schools in Victoria in 2018, with 20,634 children from prep to grade three participating in the program and 1905 pairs of glasses being provided to children in need.
In research conducted by State Schools’ Relief, who administer the program, more than 56 per cent of parents of disadvantaged prep students had expressed concerns about their child’s eyesight but did not attend a vision service, with more than 83 per cent of prep students not being seen by an optometrist in 12 months.
State Schools’ Relief is a unique Victorian organisation, providing anonymous assistance through the provision of uniforms, shoes and other essential educational resources, to students who have been identified by teachers and principals as struggling with the impact of material disadvantage.
CEO of State Schools’ Relief, Sue Karzis, believes that the ‘Glasses for Kids’ program had a significant impact on the learning experiences and opportunities for the children who participated.
“The evidence base tells us that children from vulnerable families are not accessing eye health and this program will assist in removing vision impairment as a barrier to education so that they can engage fully with learning in the early years,” she said.
Of the schools that participated in the previous iteration of the program, more than 97 per cent said it was of benefit to their school and that they’d like to see it delivered on a regular basis to assist their students in overcoming vision impairment as a barrier to education.
More information can be found via the State Schools’ Relief website https://ssr.net.au/glasses-for-kids/.