Goodstart opens its arms to families across the globe
Goodstart Early Learning is offering migrant children quality early learning opportunities, thanks to a new collaboration with TAFE Queensland.
The collaboration sees Goodstart’s Queensland network as the preferred supplier for TAFE Queensland, providing child care to TAFE students who attend the Adult Migrant English Program (AMEP).
Supporting migrant families to settle into Australian life and develop language skills is at the heart of the AMEP, delivered by TAFE Queensland.
Goodstart state manager Dr Lesley Jones said the program provides access to early learning programs for children from migrant families, while their parents attend English classes.
The Federal Government fully funds this access for eligible families, giving those children the chance to make valuable connections and learn more about Australian culture.
“Through its support of child care costs, the AMEP program ensures that the children of our newly arrived families have access to Goodstart’s high quality early learning programs while their families find their feet in a new country,” Dr Jones said.
“Supporting our newly arrived families and government initiatives such as the AMEP, aligns to our social purpose of supporting families through periods of change and potential vulnerability.”
Goodstart Early Learning is Australia’s largest social enterprise and is committed to investing back into its early learning centres, people and programs to support children and their families.
Goodstart Manunda centre director Mary McNally said her centre had more than 30 children enrolled as a part of the AMEP.
“Our centre is so diverse and we have so many different backgrounds we can really help people from all over the world settle into our country by providing their children with the love, care and early learning experiences that they need,” she said.
“We have built some great relationships with so many families. We have a lot of Nepalese families and African refugee families.
“These people are new to our country and often they don’t speak the language and they are also experiencing being separated from their children for the first time, so it can be really challenging for them,” she said.
“Our priority through the partnership with TAFE and their AMEP is to be able to show the families that we are kind and genuine and that their children are safe, cared for and they are learning new things and building valuable connections with both their educators and the other children within the service.
“We have so many lovely stories of children helping each other settle in and teaching each other about their cultures,” she said.
Children especially love to role play in the service’s home corner and show each other how they do things like cooking, or drawing at home.
“There is also a lot of peer support as the older children who have been here for longer tend to comfort and support the newer or younger children,” Ms McNally said.
Goodstart Indooroopilly York Street centre director Nicole Johns has a number of children enrolled as part of the collaboration between Goodstart and TAFE Queensland and their AMEP.
“When these children come to us, they are new to the country and their English is very limited, so it is our job to help them to settle and for their parents to feel confident that they are learning and being supported and cared for,” she said.
“The most consistent feedback we receive from our AMEP families is how well their children learn English while they are in our service,” she said.
And it isn’t just the children enrolled in the AMEP who benefit, Mrs Johns said.
“A major advantage of the program is that all of the children within the service get more exposure to different cultures and languages and it helps them learn more about the world,” she said.
Dr Jones said Goodstart staff across Queensland had undergone a professional development program to ensure all centres were inclusion ready and culturally safe for our new families.
“We have also offered transport services where needed to ensure access to our service is easy for families, and we have been able to offer a sessional approach to our AMEP children that aligns with TAFE class times which means TAFE and Goodstart are working collaboratively to support the requirements of these families across the state,” she said.
In the first 12 months of the program more than 2500 children were enrolled in 18,500 attendance days across the state.