Building stronger connections with family and children
A program focused on supporting family relationships and building connections with community services is showing great benefits.
Goodstart Early Learning has partnered with a number of allied health professionals and other support agencies to develop Family Connections – a unique program for centre directors and educators to improve the learning outcomes for children and their families in vulnerable circumstances.
centre director Nikki Bombak, said the program has helped her centre significantly improve relationships with children, families and communities.
“The delivery of the program ensures the benefits are felt not just with the children and families in our service, but to the extended community,” Ms Bombak said.
“The program focuses on helping educators build and nurture collaborative partnerships with families and communities to improve children’s social, emotional and language skills,” she said.
Goodstart educators attend one and two day workshops over a six month period, to strengthen the quality and effectiveness of their partnerships with families, in order to support children’s learning at home and in Goodstart centres. The program covers topics such as communication, social, emotional and sensory development, community links, and attachment based practices.
Professional facilitators and local service providers from different early childhood disciplines contribute to the training program and promote improved practices for early childhood development.
“This program has helped our team reflect on the way we work children and families and change our practices for the better. It’s greatly benefited our children by giving them a sense of security and safety,” Ms Bombak said.
“The skills we learned and can implement in the early years will help children develop emotional intelligence and be better adults,” she said.
To enhance the outcomes of the program, dedicated Family Connections mentors from Goodstart, support learning in action by visiting participants at their centre every month. The visit is focused on reflecting on priorities the centre is working on, discussing what is or is not working and how new knowledge is being shared across the centre.
So far, Family Connections has been implemented in over 152 communities in Australia, providing the foundation to supporting vulnerable families and children. It’s also currently being implemented in 20 Goodstart Centres across Western Australia, thanks to A$200,000 in funding through the Woodside Development Fund