Goodstart QLD network collaborating with TAFE QLD to support migrant families
Goodstart Early Learning is now the preferred supplier for TAFE Queensland in providing childcare to TAFE students who attend the Adult Migrant English Program (AMEP).
The AMEP aims to support migrant families to settle into Australian life and develop language skills. The Federal Government fully funds access to childcare for eligible families participating in the AMEP, giving their children the chance to make valuable connections and learn more about Australian culture.
“Through its support of childcare costs, the AMEP ensures that the children of our newly arrived families have access to Goodstart’s high-quality early learning programs while their families find their feet in a new country,” Goodstart State Manager Dr Lesley Jones said.
“Supporting our newly arrived families and government initiatives such as the AMEP, aligns to our social purpose of supporting families through periods of change and potential vulnerability.”
Goodstart Manunda Centre Manager Mary McNally said her centre had more than 30 children enrolled as a part of the AMEP.
“Our centre is so diverse and we have so many different backgrounds we can really help people from all over the world settle into our country by providing their children with the love, care and early learning experiences that they need,” she said.
“We have built some great relationships with so many families. We have a lot of Nepalese families and African refugee families.
“These people are new to our country and often they don’t speak the language and they are also experiencing being separated from their children for the first time, so it can be really challenging for them,” she said.
“Our priority through the partnership with TAFE and their AMEP is to be able to show the families that we are kind and genuine and that their children are safe, cared for and they are learning new things and building valuable connections with both their educators and the other children within the service.
“We have so many lovely stories of children helping each other settle in and teaching each other about their cultures,” she said.
“We have so many lovely stories of children helping each other settle in and teaching each other about their cultures.”
Children especially love to role play in the service’s home corner and show each other how they do things like cooking, or drawing at home.
“There is also a lot of peer support as the older children who have been here for longer tend to comfort and support the newer or younger children,” Ms McNally said.
Goodstart Indooroopilly York Street Centre Manager Nicole Johns also has a number of children enrolled as part of the collaboration.
“When these children come to us, they are new to the country and their English is very limited, so it is our job to help them to settle and for their parents to feel confident that they are learning and being supported and cared for,” she said.
“The most consistent feedback we receive from our AMEP families is how well their children learn English while they are in our service,” she said.
Ms Johns also added that the children at their centre that aren’t part of AMEP also benefit from the program via the exposure to different cultures and languages, which helps them to learn more about the world.
Dr Jones said Goodstart staff across Queensland had undergone a professional development program to ensure all centres were inclusion-ready and culturally safe for Goodstart’s new families.
“We have also offered transport services where needed to ensure access to our service is easy for families, and we have been able to offer a sessional approach to our AMEP children that aligns with TAFE class times which means TAFE and Goodstart are working collaboratively to support the requirements of these families across the state,” she said.
In the first 12 months of the program more than 2,500 children were enrolled in 18,500 attendance days across the state.