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Children thrive with strong teacher-parent relationships

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Did you know strong connections between educators, children and families provide children with a sense of wellbeing and result in early learning experiences which are more positive and productive?

It’s from this secure base that children form new relationships and learn to play, explore and experiment confidently.

Professional development meets social inclusion
We help our educators really connect with families, through the aptly named Family Connections Program. It was developed in response to feedback from educators in Goodstart centres about the challenges they face working with children and families, especially those in vulnerable circumstances.

Family Connections is an important part of our commitment to social inclusion. The program partners with a number of allied health professionals and other support agencies and aims to strengthen practice around these important relationships.

Delivered over the course of a year, Family Connections helps educators to enhance their practice, develop more supportive relationships with families and in turn deliver better outcomes for children.

The program offers educators support and learning opportunities in a range of areas, like:
  • Attachment based practices
  • Communication
  • Social, emotional and sensory development
  • Crucial conversations
  • Partnerships with families
  • Building links in the community
To enhance the outcomes of the program, dedicated program mentors visit participants each month to reflect on learning and progress and ensure knowledge is being shared across the centre.

Delivering results where it’s needed most
Goodstart Glenorchy participated in the program in 2016 and has seen impressive results, with improved child behaviour and more positive interactions between children, educators and families.

As centre director, Larissa Bellette explains, high levels of disadvantage in the region had placed considerable strain on her centre to deliver outcomes for children, many of whom presented with behavioural issues and trauma.

“I really wanted educators within my service to look deeper into a child’s circumstances and understand more about their experiences outside of the early learning environment. This means developing and understanding of the child and family,” Larissa said.

Larissa and her team have seen the positive impact the program has made, with educators now competently having meaningful conversations with families and creating links with support services and community organisations.

“Learnings from the Family Connections program have enabled educators to better communicate with families, understand the child’s broader context and identify the triggers of behavioural issues.

“Being able to identify these triggers has not only allowed us to develop strategies to better support the child, but has also relieved a lot of stress from educators who are now able to spend more time having positive interactions and less time correcting behaviours.

“It’s expanded our base of knowledge and has made us more effective in creating a safe and solid base for children, and it’s from this base that positive relationship between ourselves and parents grows.”

We’re recruiting now
If you share our vision for social inclusion and early learning outcomes for all children, we’d love to hear from you. Find out more about working for Goodstart here.
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