Goodstarters have an unrelentless passion for caring and supporting children in our care, their families and the wider communities we are a part of. One of the greatest examples of this is at Goodstart Moreton Downs where the team works closely with community partners to support families, especially those experiencing vulnerability.
In 2022, the team at Moreton Downs joined together with local expertise across a range of community partners and services to form the Emotional Maturity Steering Committee. The committee has been integral in improving child outcomes across the Deception Bay early learning community in Queensland’s Moreton Bay region, thanks to initiatives such as the creation of the community’s Birth to Five Plan.
The committee is a collaboration between, The Department of Education, The Benevolent Society, Inclusion Support Services, schools, other early learning providers, Yourtown Deception Bay and Younity Community Services. The committee meets bi-monthly to share what they are doing to create change and support their wider local community.
Recognising their incredible efforts, Goodstart Moreton Downs was awarded Goodstart’s National Goodies award for Community Engagement and Support in 2022 – an award acknowledging the depth of community engagement the centre team shows every day to deliver positive learning, development and wellbeing outcomes for Goodstart children, families and the wider community.
Centre Director, Alana McHugh said that her centre team were proud of the work underway in partnership with the community to address a common theme across early learning settings and schools.
“Our community, Deception Bay, falls in the most disadvantaged 10%* of communities in Australia based on education and occupation and in the most disadvantaged 20%* in terms of economic resources,” she said.
“While unpacking our Australian Early Development Census data at a community ‘Hand in Hand’ meeting, it was identified that emotional maturity and physical health and wellbeing are areas we need to come together to support our families and children.”
“We saw an opportunity that by working together as a community we could make a real difference for our children.”
“One of our communities’ biggest achievements has been the Deception Bay Community Birth to Five Plan. The plan lists actions and an overview of the work our community is currently doing across early childhood education, schools, health providers, yourtown Deception Bay, community partners and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Elders – to support the wellbeing of all children.”
Goodstart’s Assistant Director and Educational Leader Nikki Walsh said that these strong community relationships have allowed the team to support children and families in their centre as well as the wider local community.
“When we first began the steering committee, one of the things we needed to do first was support our educators, teachers and anyone else in the community working with children,” she said.
“It started with our educators teaming up with the Benevolent Society to do professional development training with other community members - so we all use the same language and have the same understanding.”
“We’re all helping each other because we’re all working together for the benefit of the children and to support the family, so it’s not one-person above the other – we're all aligned and working in partnership but each bringing our own unique experience to support each and every child.”
In just 12 months, some of the impacts from the committee has been:
Uplifting educators’ professional development to support children with self-control and regulating emotions to enhance their learning and development outcomes.
Community partners working together to share great practices that support positive differences working with children and families experiencing vulnerability.
Educators attaining more knowledge and confidence in having crucial conversations with families to help affect better outcomes for children.
More families actively accessing local support services.
At the end of 2022 the team were invited to join a panel of Goodies winners and Sir Kevan Collins to share their insights. Check this 2-minute showreel capturing part of Alana and Nikki’s interview.
The National Goodies Program is a reward and recognition program to celebrate the Goodstart’s focus on shaping young lives and enriching the communities in which we live and work.
Learn more about the Goodies here.