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Ngallu Wal Connected Beginnings

Ngallu Wal Aboriginal Child & Family Centre is proud to be celebrating the end of our first year implementing the Connected Beginnings program to support the school readiness needs of Aboriginal children and their families in Doonside NSW.

Through this exciting Commonwealth Government Initiative, the dedicated and professional Connected Beginnings team has spent the last 12 months engaging collaboratively with local Aboriginal children, families, childcare centres and schools to empower Aboriginal children and their families in their school readiness journey.

Through the Connected Beginnings program, and other Ngallu Wal sponsored initiatives, we have been able to provide Aboriginal children and families with a range of services and supports to assist them in preparing for school. In 2018 these initiatives included:

  • Dedicated case coordination services.Aboriginal School Readiness
  • Comprehensive multi-disciplinary allied health assessment services.
  • Comprehensive primary health assessment services.
  • Ngallu Wal Supported Playgroups.
  • Ngallu Wal School Readiness Program.
  • Ngallu Wal Healthy Lifestyles Program.
  • Ngallu Wal support programs and services.
  • Ngallu Wal community events and forums.

The Connected Beginnings program is providing the team at Ngallu Wal with an opportunity to effectively integrate early childhood, maternal and child health, and family support services with schools to support the school readiness of Aboriginal children and their families. This is supported by complementary Ngallu Wal sponsored programs that provide an increased range of direct targeted support program and service options to support the identified needs of Connected Beginnings families. This comprehensive and holistic approach has seen the Connected Beginnings team to provide targeted support for more than 50 Aboriginal children and their families over the course of 2018

Aboriginal School Readiness Sydney

How do you access the Ngallu Wal Connected Beginnings program?

The Ngallu Wal Connected Beginnings team has established relationships with stakeholders throughout the Doonside community to support the successful implementation of this fantastic program. To reflect the diversity of the Doonside community, the Connected Beginnings team have developed a range of potential pathways for an Aboriginal child or their family to enter the Connected Beginnings program. These include:

  • Referral from an identified priority Doonside primary school
  • Referral from a Doonside childcare centre
  • Referral from a community partner organisation
  • Self-referral

This diversity of program entry points ensures that all Aboriginal families in Doonside potentially have access to the benefits of the Connected Beginnings program.

 

What does Ngallu Wal Connected Beginnings do?

Connected Beginnings involves a community strengths-based approach to the identification and development of strong sustainable service referral pathway infrastructure to support the school readiness needs of Aboriginal children and families. This involves:

  • Working closely with local Aboriginal children and families to identify their school readiness and service needs.
  • Working collaboratively with local service providers and organisations to identify comprehensive holistic service referral pathways, and opportunities for better sharing of information.
  • Supporting the work of the Connected Beginnings initiative through the implementation of complementary Ngallu Wal initiatives.
  • Actively engaging the Aboriginal community to ensure an ongoing awareness and engagement with the Connected Beginnings program.

Basically, Connected Beginnings supports a deep engagement that allows the project team to identify the needs of Aboriginal children and provide referral pathways to support their needs.

 

What does Ngallu Wal Connected Beginnings currently provide?

Ngallu Wal Connected Beginnings provides the Aboriginal community of Doonside with access to a dedicated team of Aboriginal family support professionals. This team is incredibly knowledgeable and well-integrated within the local Doonside service landscape. This includes local childcare centres, schools and human services providers. This ensures that, based upon their individual needs, Ngallu Wal Connected Beginnings families are provided access to an extremely comprehensive web of potential service referral pathways.

However, it is the complementary programs and services that are provided through organisational partner organisations and through alternative Ngallu Wal Program streams that really define the Connected Beginnings Program within Ngallu Wal. At present, children and families that access the Connected Beginnings program at Ngallu Wal have access to the following support programs and services:

  • Dedicated case coordination services provided by the professional Aboriginal staff within the Connected Beginnings team.
  • Comprehensive multi-disciplinary allied health assessment services. These services are provided to all Aboriginal children and families entering the Connected Beginnings program, and form one of the key foundations in establishing the individual needs of the child. These services are delivered in partnership with the Growing Early Minds allied health team.
  • Comprehensive primary health assessment services.These services are provided to all Aboriginal children and families entering the Connected Beginnings program, and form one of the key foundations in establishing the individual needs of the child. These services are delivered in partnership with the Greater Western Sydney Aboriginal Health Service.
  • Ngallu Wal Supported Playgroups. These playgroups run twice a week, and are facilitated by allied health therapists from the Growing Early Minds team. Therapists involved include Speech-Language Pathologists, Occupational Therapists, Behavioural Specialists, Psychologists and Paediatric Dietitians.
  • Ngallu Wal School Readiness Program. This program runs once a week, and is facilitated by allied health therapists from the Growing Early Minds team. Therapists involved include Speech-Language Pathologists, Occupational Therapists, Behavioural Specialists, Psychologists and Paediatric Dietitians.
  • Ngallu Wal Healthy Lifestyles Program. This initiative is run by the Growing Early Minds Paediatric Dietitians, and involves working with families to raise awareness and knowledge about healthy eating and lifestyle. This program is also supported by local Aboriginal Elders from the Wolkara Elders Group who work alongside the dietitian to build the capacity of Aboriginal families to prepare healthy meals on a budget.
  • Ngallu Wal support programs and services. These include a range of programs and services funded by Ngallu Wal that Aboriginal children and their families can access based upon their individual needs. These include, childhood development training programs, community/cultural events and numerous other programs and services delivered by partner organisations.

The location of the Connected Beginnings team within the Ngallu Wal Aboriginal Child and Family Centre has allowed the project to benefit from the complementary existing programs and services within the Centre. This ensures that Ngallu Wal Connected Beginnings is able to provide access to comprehensive holistic service pathways based upon their individual needs.

 

What does the future hold for Ngallu Wal Connected Beginnings?

Ngallu Wal is committed to ensuring that through this program we’re able to establish truly sustainable community infrastructure to support Aboriginal families and their children be prepared for school. We are also committed to ensuring that we support the case coordination and referral services provided by the Connected Beginnings program, through the development and implementation of complementary programs and services.

The school readiness of Aboriginal children in the Doonside area is an issue that Ngallu Wal is committed to supporting. This is in keeping with the overall goal of Ngallu Wal to empower Aboriginal children and families in all elements of their lives.

 

If you would like more information about the Connected Beginnings program, please contact Ngallu Wal Aboriginal Child & Family Centre on 1800 642 558.

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