20th Sep 2012

Preschool Readiness Program Wins Chronic Disease Award

The importance of getting off to a good start at preschool was highlighted recently with an award for Central Australian Aboriginal Congress’ Preschool Readiness Program.

The importance of getting off to a good start at preschool was highlighted recently with an award for Central Australian Aboriginal Congress’ Preschool Readiness Program.

The innovative program was recognised at the Chronic Disease Network Conference in Darwin, and was presented with the award for ‘Promoting Healthy Childhood – Preventing Chronic Conditions’.

Chronic disease is most often associated with old age; however this award highlights the significance of laying a good foundation for health in early childhood.

Four-year-old Talvin Brown has been participating in the Preschool Readiness Program. As a toddler, Talvin experienced some serious health issues that may have impacted on his development prior to starting school.

Visits to the clinic for ear and other health checks are an important part of the program and helped Talvin to make sure he was ready to tackle preschool.

“In the early stages of life, health and education go hand in hand,” said Psychologist and Team Leader Patrick Cooper.

“Good education leads to improved health outcomes and better employment opportunities. And it’s great to see children like Talvin going from strength to strength, both in his physical health and his engagement in preschool.

“His mum, Cheryl, gives him good support and makes sure he is ready for preschool every day,” Mr Cooper added.

Aboriginal Family Support Worker, Judith Ansell, explained: “We focus on making sure we offer the right type of support for the right families.

“Sometimes families we meet need no help, some families may need assistance completing enrolment forms and finding the right schools, and then there are some who are struggling a lot with behavioural or emotional problems and we are able help with programs developed specifically for these families.

“When I see the happy faces of these children and the proud faces of the parents grow as we work with them, I have a lot of hope for their future,” Ms Ansell added.

The Congress Preschool Readiness Team can help parents and families with three- to four-year-olds in choosing a preschool, enrolling your child, making sure your child’s health checks are up to date, and providing a range of supports to ensure your child gets off to a good start  with preschool.

The Team includes two Aboriginal Family Support Workers, a Case Manager, Child Health Nurse and Team Leader. Drop into the Congress Clinic at 25 Gap Road for more details on how your child can get involved.