Keeping parents in the loop is the aim of program
Sending care packages to parents on deployment with the Australian Defence Force is just one of the initiatives the team at Goodstart Moulden Terrace will start next year.
Educators at the centre, which is located near the Robertson Barracks in Darwin, will also start FaceTime sessions with parents and share deployment time zones with children.
More in-depth Storypark updates will be created to help loved ones keep track of their child’s development.
Moulden Terrace centre director Lindsay McDonald said one of the educators Heather Latimer, who had been with the defence force, identified a need for more support for all families and their children.
Ms Latimer said there was real need to this type of support in the area.
“I know what children and their families go through and it’s hard when partners are away and aren’t around,” Ms Latimer said.
“It can also be really hard if you’ve just arrived in Darwin to know where to go to get support.”
The care packages, which will also be for families who have loved ones overseas, will contain homemade pillow cases, a note from the centre, photos or a photo book and stories about what the children have been doing.
“We trialled them this year with my two-year-old son while my partner was deployed and it was great,” Ms Latimer said.
“But it’s also all about using the right language - rather than saying Dad is at work, we need to say he’s actually away overseas. Otherwise the children don’t understand why Mum or Dad doesn’t come home at night.”
Ms Latimer, a mother of two, said five families have taken up the care package offer so far.