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Goodstart Warnbro wins prestigious award for excellence in supporting child development

Goodstart stories

Article by Sharon Hosking

Goodstart Warnbro has been honoured with the Excellence in Supporting Child Development Award at the 2024 WA Early Childhood Learning and Development (ECLD) Sector Awards this month. 

Goodstart’s Acting WA State Manager State Michaela Griffin said this accolade recognises the centre team’s unrelenting commitment to giving children in their first five years the very best start in life.

“This centre team is a beacon of inspiration, and at Goodstart, we couldn’t be prouder of the team at Goodstart Warnbro. They are setting new benchmarks within the sector for their innovative child development practices, achieved by consistently pushing the boundaries and deeply engaging with the community and families to ensure every child’s needs are met,” Michaela said.

Innovative practices and community engagement

Under the leadership of Centre Director Claire Shellam, Goodstart Warnbro has set a benchmark in developing innovative strategies that focus on individual children and community needs. Analysing data from the Australian Early Development Census (AEDC), the centre has embedded inclusive practices that extend well beyond its walls, involving collaborations with families, community providers, and organisations like the NDIS (National Disability Insurance Scheme), Ear Bus, and Autism Australia.

“Through our sustained efforts in tailoring support to the specific needs of each child, we’ve seen remarkable progress in the way our children engage and learn. Partnering with organisations like NDIS early, in their newly formed early intervention pathway, was a game-changer,” said Claire Shellam.

Training and community support

The centre’s strategy includes extensive training for educators and proactive engagement in community support programs. Goodstart Warnbro has not only facilitated access to allied health professionals for their centre families, but they have streamlined the referral processes for child development services. This has alleviated parental concerns over long wait-times for specialist services such as speech speech pathologists, psychologists, and paediatricians.

“Our approach is holistic and family-centred. We saw a gap in timely support and took significant steps to fill that gap effectively,” said Claire.

“Our educators are empowered through continuous professional development to identify and address the individual needs of each child, ensuring no one is left behind.”

The centre formed partnerships with local health services providers, such as the Ear Bus and Autism Australia, as well as engaging with the NDIS to explore early intervention pathways. These partnerships ensured that children at the centre had access to necessary health services in a timely manner.

Tailoring support and family partnerships

Goodstart Warnbro’s success stems from its child-centred approach and the strong partnerships it has built with families. Educators and teachers tailor their early learning program and support to the individual needs of children, and their approach is complemented by close partnerships and collaboration with parents.

“Establishing a trusting relationship with families and providing them with knowledge and resources has been key to our success. Through strong family partnerships, we can support more individualised care for each child, said Claire.”

A vision for the future 

The team at Goodstart Warnbro is eager to share their successful model with sector, aiming to influence broader community practices and enhance developmental outcomes for more children.

“The ECLD Sector Award is such great validation we’re on the right path,” Claire said.

“We are excited about the future and want to keep sharing our learnings and successes. Our journey of inclusion and early intervention is about continuous learning – ensuring that all children receive the support they need to thrive.”

This prestigious award not only highlights Goodstart Warnbro's commitment to excellence but also reinforces its role as a leader in early childhood education, dedicated to fostering an inclusive and supportive learning environment.

Goodstart Parmelia won the Outstanding Commitment to Reconciliation and Cultural Responsiveness Award, and five other Goodstart centres were finalists including Goodstart Bertram and Goodstart Girrawheen (Service excellence in Partnerships with Families, Communities and Schools Award Finalists); Goodstart Ballajura (Excellence in Best Practice Award Finalist); Goodstart Perth Kaadidjiny Maya (Outstanding Commitment to Reconciliation and Cultural Responsiveness Award) and Goodstart Baldivis and Goodstart Port Kennedy (Excellence in Supporting Child Development Award Finalists).

Goodstart is a not-for-profit early learning provider existing to support all Australia’s children to get the best start in life. Everything we earn is reinvested back into supporting children’s learning, development and wellbeing. Last year (FY23), Goodstart invested $11.7M in social inclusion programs to improve early learning access and outcomes for children.

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