Stronger families, stronger communities: National Families Week is on the way

by Freya Lucas

May 06

National Families Week is Australia’s annual celebration of the importance of families, timed to coincide with the UN International Day of Families (15 May). The abiding theme, Stronger Families, Stronger Communities lends itself to the work done in early childhood education and care (ECEC) services around the country in pursuit of achieving high quality outcomes for children.

 

The UN International Day of Families is observed by the United Nations to mark the importance that the international community places on families as the most fundamental units of society, as well as to show concern about their situation in many parts of the world.

 

Organisers emphasised that the theme continues to highlight the important role families play as the central building block of our communities and deliver the message that community wellbeing is enhanced by family wellbeing.

 

Annually, over 130,000 people register to attend events around Australia from Thursday Island to southern Tasmania.

 

CEO of ECEC provider Big Fat Smile, Jenni Hutchins, spoke recently about the role that families play in building stronger, safer communities for children;

 

Families are the underlying fabric of communities.  By bridging, bonding and linking families we unite them in a common purpose of care and support for individuals who make up a community.  Universally individuals want to feel accepted and belong. By developing and enhancing opportunities to connect, we can collectively scaffold children and families to flourish, thrive and be engaged in their communities.  Working with individuals within communities to be empowered to create change and meet the needs of the most vulnerable in their community is an essential part of the underlying fabric to reduce disadvantage in communities.

 

Each year, over a hundred thousand people, and hundreds of individual organisations, celebrate National Families Week.

 

Organisers said it is “a time to celebrate with your family, make contact with your extended family and friends, and share in the enjoyment of family activities within the wider community. It is a time to celebrate the meaning of family and to make the most of family life.”

 

ECEC educators, leaders, and the broader community were encouraged to take time to reflect on the critical role that families play in teaching, supporting and nurturing children, especially as they grow.

 

Families Australia CEO, and National Families Week Champion, Dr Brian Babington, posed the following reflective questions to encourage deeper thought on the value and positioning of families:

 

  • What does your family mean to you?
  • What do you give to your family? What do you get from your family?

 

All Australians, including community organisations, schools, councils, companies and individuals are invited to participate in National Families Week each year.

 

National Families Week is sponsored by the Australian Government Department of Social Services, and information, resources and registration is available on the National Families Week website.

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