Community effort to remove barriers and promote the importance of early education
Early childhood education and care (ECEC) providers and local service organisations have banded together in Moree, a large regional town in Northern New South Wales, to promote the value of early childhood education, and to address some of the barriers experienced by parents in the town who are wanting to access early learning opportunities.
An expo, bringing together a range of support services, entertainment, and opportunities for discussion, is to be held in the town on Friday 8 March, with attendance invited from those in Moree and surrounding areas, the local paper The Moree Champion has reported.
The event is likely to be of interest to those working in ECEC as it showcases collaborative community partnerships and innovative practices, which other services nationwide may find of use as they seek to fulfil the requirements of Quality Area Six of the National Quality Standards (NQS).
The Champion reports that lead organiser of the event, Kiely Smith, was inspired to bring the community together as part of her role as early childhood education project co-ordinator for Moree Family Support.
Ms Smith works with families in social housing to promote the value of early learning, and to encourage enrolment into programs. Through her role, The Champion said, Ms Smith recognised the common challenges faced by ECEC providers in Moree, alongside the barriers faced by families in navigating a number of different service types.
The solution, Ms Smith found, was to gather the ECEC services in one place, provide transport for community members to attend, and provide information from a variety of external agencies, so that families could easily navigate some of the complexities they faced.
One of the providers who will attend the expo, Carmelle McClure from Grace Lutheran Preschool, told The Champion that it was important to share with the community the value of early learning not only as a preparation for school, but for social and emotional development also.
Another provider, Barry Swan from Family and Community Services, told The Champion “We’re also hoping the community will find out that childcare centres are not babysitting services.”
More than 28 ECEC providers and service organisations have been organised to attend the expo, including both not- for- profit and private ECEC providers, and government and non-government agencies.
Each organisation will have representatives on hand to provide information about the services they offer, and how they can support families and children to access early childhood education. One innovative inclusion in the agency space is a representative from the New South Wales Department of Births, Deaths and Marriages, who will support parents who no longer have access to their child’s birth certificate – a common barrier in being able to enrol in ECEC.
To encourage attendance and provide entertainment, The Champion reports special guests as being Play School presenter Luke Carroll and Aboriginal storyteller Larry Brandy. Bonnie Cochrane, known to the education sector for her work in embedding First Nations perspectives into the Australian Curriculum, will also be in attendance. Local Aboriginal dancers will perform at the event, which also features a reptile show, petting zoo, full catering, and craft and sensory experiences for children.
Further information about the event can be sourced from Moree Family Support on 02 6752 4536.
The original coverage of this event from The Moree Champion can be accessed here.