Programs we run
We invest in enhanced programs and service models to ensure vulnerable children have opportunities to maximise their learning, development and wellbeing.
Across 40 communities, we address vulnerability by offering an enhanced, multi-disciplinary approach to early learning and care.
Enhancing Children’s Outcomes (EChO)
EChO centres offer enhanced services over and above the universal base of education and care. We invest in proportionately disadvantaged communities using our unique EChO model to enhance learning, development and wellbeing outcomes for very vulnerable children, along with supporting their families and building their communities.
Services include additional teachers, child and family practitioners, speech pathologists, occupational therapists and social inclusion coordinators. We also offer playgroups, visiting service providers, food rescue and re-distribution, referral and support in the local community and scholarships for eligible children.
Learn more about EChO.
Early Learning Fund
Children facing disadvantage benefit the most from quality early learning programs, giving them the best chance to achieve their potential.
Yet we know that for these families, cost is a significant barrier to accessing early learning and care.
Goodstart Early Learning and The Benevolent Society partnered together to establish the Early Learning Fund to help improve access to quality early learning and care for eligible children and families by removing cost as a barrier and supporting their participation in early learning and care. The Early Learning Fund provides fee relief to vulnerable children and families for two days of early learning per week.
Learn more about the Early Learning Fund.
A child’s learning abilities are exponentially enhanced by the quality of the relationship they hold with educators and their families.
At the heart of our inclusion strategy is our foundational social inclusion program, Family Connections. Goodstart has partnered with allied health professionals and other
support agencies to develop and deliver Family Connections – a unique program for centre directors and educators, created to enhance outcomes for children and their
families in vulnerable circumstances.
Learn more about Family Connections.
We help enrich local communities by facilitating vital links between our families who are experiencing vulnerability and community support services and organisations.
We aim to build our centres as assets in every local community. We help our centre directors and educators to be confident in identifying referral pathways, reaching out to their local
communities and collaborating with local services for the benefit of children and families.
Learn more about community connections.
Specialised support and targeted resources
To assist our centres in addressing the diverse learning needs of children, we provide specialised support and targeted resources where required – enabling centres to explore innovative ways to tailor programs to maximise childrens’ potential.
Wherever possible, we work hard to support any child with additional needs to enrol and fully participate in our early learning and care programs.
Our centres work can assist families with making contact and helping coordinate inclusion support funding eligibility assessment via local Inclusion Support Agencies.
Our centre directors, with support of our national inclusion support team, will work alongside families to help facilitate a child’s enrolment. Our centres are able to make modifications to the learning environment and facilitate specialised procedures and training for staff as well as ensure the child has a medical management plan to ensure the child’s safety, health and wellbeing needs are managed while in our care.
Enhancing learning for children with autism
Our centres support families to access funding and support services for children with autism spectrum disorders (ASDs). We work with families to provide early learning programs and specific support to children with ASDs, including creating inclusive environments that are responsive to the interests and abilities of each child. Some ways that our centres seek to create an inclusive environment includes working with occupational therapists and our social inclusion coordinators to help set up rooms and to improve our educator’s understanding of the role of senses to create sensory experiences in our indoor and outdoor learning environments that meets the individual needs of children.
Supporting children who’ve experienced trauma
Traumatic events can severely impact a child’s development in childhood and throughout their adult life. Research highlights the vital role early childhood education environments play in providing a secure and nurturing environment for children exposed to trauma.
To support children, our educators collaboratively develop emotional care programs – enabling the creation of an environment within their Goodstart centre that is safe, secure and reliable to ensure the best care for the child is provided. Our programs create a high quality early learning environment that helps achieve the best outcomes for these children by helping them to form relationships with others that foster trust, consistency and predictability.
Supporting families during times of adversity
Our centres are equipped to support families facing disadvantage and when situations change. We will discuss various pathways of how we can support families with local support services to help alleviate a situation. Many of our centres that support vulnerable families and children ensure extra food is always available at the centre and develop a range of initiatives to support a child’s health and wellbeing – for example, ensuring their nutritional needs are being met. Many Goodstart centres currently utilise Foodbank or other Food Co-ops to provide extra food for families and children or work closely with local agencies to run cooking nights with families at the centre.
Helping families access government funding
Australian Government-funded Inclusion Support Program (ISS/FSF): Centres can work with families to access government inclusion support subsidies. Talk to your centre director about how Goodstart can support you.
National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS): Our centres can work with families to access funding support through NDIS. Talk to your centre director about how Goodstart can support you.
We embrace cultural diversity
At Goodstart, we embrace cultural diversity within our centres. We continually strive to facilitate meaningful participation for children and families from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds. We do this by building cultural competence in Goodstart centres at individual and service and systems levels.
Our centres partner with our families to support their needs from helping to coordinating access to inclusion support agencies and bicultural support programs, engaging interpreters if required, to collaborating with inclusion support agencies and building educator capacity by working in partnership with bicultural workers.
We practice is underpinned by the Early Years Learning Framework that describes cultural competence as ‘…much more than awareness of culture differences. It is the ability to understand, communicate with and effectively interact with people across cultures.’
As part of Goodstart’s inclusion goal, we strive to have a greater understanding of the aspirations and needs of Indigenous communities. This enables our educators to bring new ideas, culture understandings and practices back into our centres and build knowledge for children, families and colleagues.
Just one of the ways we’re supporting our educators enrich their cultural knowledge is through our Fitzroy Crossing secondment program. The cultural immersion and community outreach program provides an unique opportunity for our early childhood educators to work within a remote Western Australian Aboriginal community.
Since 2016, Goodstart educators have rotated through the Baya Gawiy Buga yani Jandu yani u Centre, which was established under the National Partnership Agreement on Indigenous Early Childhood Development. The secondments support the Fitzroy Crossing community by providing additional services to children and families. Through the program, Goodstart educators learn about modern Aboriginal Australia, then bring their experience and understanding back to build on Goodstart Early Learning’s cultural knowledge.
Goodstart recognises and respects Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as the First Peoples of Australia and as the custodians of the land on which our early childhood services are offered. Read about our Vision for Reconciliation here.