Forbes Preschool a local hub thanks to continued efforts to connect with community

Forbes Preschool a local hub thanks to continued efforts to connect with community

by Freya Lucas

May 25, 2022

Since 2020, Forbes Preschool has been a National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) provider, employing speech therapists, occupational therapists, a play therapist and a child psychologist to support all children, but particularly those with additional needs, to access high quality early education and care in an inclusive and supportive environment.

 

Director Amy Shine recently spoke with the New South Wales Department of Education about the service’s efforts to create collaborative partnerships with families and communities, and the role that these additional services play in supporting children and families. 

 

Approximately 60 per cent of children at the service come from vulnerable backgrounds, and much of the work undertaken by educators and leaders is focused on removing barriers that prevent families from accessing education, health and social services.

 

“Our philosophy is ‘Everyone is welcome, everyone belongs’,” Ms Shine said.

 

The staff at Forbes Preschool run regular pop-up preschools in vulnerable areas of the community to allow families to get to know them ‘on their own turf’, and also host a series of additional services which encourages family engagement with the preschool.

 

“On Mondays we have a mothers’ group, on Tuesdays we have a pop-up clinic with child and family health nurses, and on Thursdays a domestic violence group meets here,” she shared.

 

In facilitating these services, Forbes Preschool has built strong relationships with its families and is now highly respected throughout the community for their collaborative approach to educating and supporting the town’s youngest residents.

 

“Our families feel like it’s their preschool. That’s why we invite other health and social services here, because families feel like they belong.”

 

This sense of community and strong connection has proved invaluable in the development of Forbes Preschool’s transition to school program.

 

Delivering the additional support which comes through the NDIS provision has been beneficial in the development of the transition to school program, particularly for children with disability.

 

“The transition to school starts as soon as children walk through our doors, and it’s such a collaborative approach between our staff, the schools, families and our therapists,” Ms Shine explained. 

 

Forbes Preschool’s NDIS staff begin working with children with a NDIS plan from the age of two years and continue supporting them through school visits until they reach Year 2.

 

“When families of children with disabilities go to meet with schools, one of us will go with them to support and make sure they’re getting what they need.”

 

“It feels like us and the schools are one. It’s really streamlined support.”

 

Thanks to the relationships Forbes Preschool has built with its community, Ms Shine said that families feel more comfortable seeking out support and trusting the service’s therapists, which helps set children up for primary school.

 

“Early intervention is key and the outcomes that we see for children are amazing.”

 

For more information about Forbes Preschool, please see here

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