Flying Fox Mobile Preschool builds strong community connections
The Sector > Provider > General News > Flying Fox Mobile Preschool builds strong community connections

Flying Fox Mobile Preschool builds strong community connections

by Freya Lucas

July 19, 2023

Flying Fox Mobile Preschool serves regional and remote towns on the Mid North Coast of New South Wales, building strong community connections, and supporting children and families through natural disasters of recent years.  


The travelling preschool, part of the broader Wingham Preschool service, has worked in the community for nearly 30 years, being responsive to the population changes in the areas surrounding Wingham, shifting where it operates based on where education and care is needed at any particular time.  


Currently the mobile service spends one day a week in each of the five communities it works in across the region. 


“Some of the children do attend the service multiple days a week,” shared Director of Flying Fox Mobile Preschool Donna Stirrup. “They might travel to one regional area and then to a neighbouring community on a different day because they’re happy with the service and want to access it more.” 


Flying Fox mostly operates out of local primary schools, where children have access to the learning environments, outdoor spaces, technology and library facilities of the schools. Children are invited to be a part of school events and activities, including Colour Run Day and Commonwealth Games Day. These interactions allow the service and its little learners to build strong relationships with the local schools and communities. They also allow children to become accustomed to the environment and build confidence as they prepare to transition to school.


As well as making the most of school facilities, the preschoolers in the program participate in outings and excursions, such as visiting community carts where people leave fruit, vegetables and other items to share with the community.


Flying Fox has garden plots at a few of its venues, Team Leader Kylie Saville explained, and the children gather fresh produce to share with others in the community. The children also collect seeds from the carts to plant, grow, harvest and later return to the share cart before starting the cycle again.  


The Wingham Preschool and its playgroup consider the Flying Fox team as coworkers, despite them spending much of their time on the road.


“Our staff meetings and training are together. We have an educational leadership team who are across the three services.” Ms Stirrup said. “You learn so much from the experience and talents of other staff members, so the fact that we can work as a united team enriches our service to meet the varying needs of the community.”


Despite the mobile nature of the service, or perhaps because of it, supporting and building strong relationships with families is a priority for the Flying Fox team, especially in recent years when the region has been deeply impacted by drought, bushfires, floods and COVID-19.


The service works with a number of non-profit organisations including Royal Far West and 54 Reasons to support preschoolers and families experiencing anxiety and trauma following these challenging times. The team also has longstanding relationships with other support services and health professionals, including therapists, who they can connect families with to support their parenting and wellbeing. 


Learn more about the work of Flying Fox here

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