Creating a sense of belonging for all children
Seven years ago, Goodstart was founded by a partnership of four of Australia's leading community sector organisations – The Benevolent Society
, Mission Australia
, the Brotherhood of St Laurence
and Social Ventures Australia
Our founding members believe that if every child has access to quality early learning, it has the potential to transform Australia.
We believe this too, and it’s why we have such a strong commitment to social inclusion and ensuring all children have access to affordable, high quality early learning and care.
Our inclusive practices ensure that vulnerable children – those who are at risk of not achieving the learning, development and wellbeing outcomes they need for school and life – feel welcome and can participate in our programs in a meaningful way.
Vulnerability in children includes those from low socio economic backgrounds, with a disability or condition, in the child protection system, from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, or who are Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander.
What does social inclusion mean for children and families?
Inclusion is all about belonging. When a child has a sense of belonging, experiencing warm and responsive relationships, they thrive because they feel safe, nurtured and valued.
For children and families, this means that we aim to ensure all children have the same education and life opportunities regardless of their circumstances.
We see every child as a unique individual with different needs and aspirations – and we understand the support that helps one child may not work for another. With careful attention and planning between our families, educators and other professionals, children are well supported, included and encouraged to participate in our early learning and care programs.
What social inclusion programs do we run?
We invest heavily
in enhanced programs and service models to ensure that children facing disadvantage and vulnerability have opportunities to maximise their learning, development and wellbeing.
- Enhancing Children’s Outcomes (EChO) - we operate 30 EChO centres across Australia which employ a targeted early learning approach. We support these centres by providing them with additional resources to allow time for family engagement, community connections and additional educators supporting in speech and language, occupational therapy and child and family linkages.
- Early Learning Fund - we know that cost is a significant factor for families when enrolling their children in early learning and care. Goodstart and The Benevolent Society have partnered to establish the Early Learning Fund to help improve access to quality early learning and care by removing cost as a barrier.
- Community connections - We help to facilitate links between centres, families and community support organisations to help ensure all children, particularly those experiencing disadvantage, have the opportunity to fully participate in early learning. Our goal is that centre directors and educators are confident to reach out to their local communities and collaborate with other service providers for the benefit of children and families.
- Family connections – this program partners with a number of allied health professionals and other support agencies to strengthen relationships between educators, children and families. It helps us support all of our families, particularly those experiencing vulnerabilities and needing a little more support.
Our social inclusion programs are all about supporting our vision
for Australia’s children to have the best possible start in life.