Compassion Australia's Indigenous Initiative promotes early childhood development through a playgroup for Indigenous and non-Indigenous children and their parents. Meeting several times a week, the playgroup aims to successfully transition children to kindergarten, giving them the best possible start to their school life. By attending the playgroup, children can develop their social skills, fine motor skills and basic literacy and numeracy skills. Importantly, they also learn school behaviours and have the opportunity to get used to the school environment.
The Indigenous Initiative aims to overcome the fact that many Indigenous children in remote or rural areas have limited access to formal opportunities for early childhood development. Without the learning opportunities preschool and playgroup present, children are more likely to be behind from their very first year of formal schooling.
To help overcome this, Compassion is partnering with a local church in North Queensland to facilitate the delivery of an effective early childhood development program. The local community has embraced the playgroup, and its achievements have included:
- An increased number of children successfully transitioning into school.
- Outstanding reports from teachers and the school principal, stating that children who attended the Compassion program performed better academically, were more engaged, and interacted better with others.
- An increased number of non-Indigenous children and their caregivers attending the program, helping to build relationships within the community. The playgroup provides one of the few formal opportunities for Indigenous and non-Indigenous children to interact.
- The Queensland Department of Education has identified the child development model as a case study for similar strategies in the future.
- Children and families have become more familiar with the local school environment (where the program activities are held), helping to ease children's transitions from pre-school to kindergarten.
Learn more about Compassion Australia's Indigenous Initiative