Prep Transition Program Prepares Children for Positive Start at School

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In a bustling room filled with colourful toys and the sounds of cheerful laughter, children are blossoming. Their curious minds explore, their tiny hands grasp, and friendships develop, in an environment where every interaction, every discovery, lays the foundation for a lifetime of learning.

The first five years are crucial for child growth and development, and IMPACT Community Services’ innovative Prep Transition Program offers a guiding hand to parents and their little ones, ensuring children get the best possible start in life.

As part of Positive Start Parenting, the Prep Transition Program identifies and addresses potential developmental issues early on, so parents can obtain wrap around support to access the required services to address their children’s needs.

Parents are actively involved from the outset, providing valuable input about their child's strengths, weaknesses, and goals. Through questionnaires and observations during playgroup sessions, parents and program coordinators collaboratively develop tailored plans to support each child's unique needs.

Feedback has been overwhelmingly positive, a testament to the program's effectiveness in nurturing essential skills crucial for school readiness.

Ms Allen emphasised, “we want our little ones to be as ready as they can be prior to starting school.”

“We support our parents to have their child’s eye, teeth and hearing checks as well doing appropriate referrals to assess any developmental delays so that in the two years prior to starting prep, the children have access to the required therapies needed to improve their transition into school.”

Children identified as needing additional support are seamlessly connected with other vital resources and services, ensuring a holistic approach to their well-being. Whether it's referrals to specialised programs like Bushkids or the NDIS, or even facilitating developmental checks through partnerships with Child Health, every effort is made to provide comprehensive support for families.

But it's not just about the children; parents are also empowered through education and support. Workshops on effective parenting techniques, such as 1,2,3 Magic and Emotion Coaching and Bringing Up Great Kids, equip parents with the tools they need to foster healthy development in their children.

Parents are also encouraged to explore what it may look like for them once their child starts school. Coping with the separation, making new social connections, and possibly taking on some education or employment to enrich their own lives.

In the end, the Positive Start Parenting program isn't just about preparing children for school; it's about setting them on a trajectory for lifelong success. By investing in the crucial early years and empowering families, IMPACT Community Services is truly making a positive impact on the next generation.

To learn more about this program, call 1800 179 233, visit the Parenting Support page, or complete the Contact Us form.

A group of young parents recently took part in a therapeutic drumming program designed to facilitate the social and emotional skills for healthy relationships and values.

Seven IMPACT Community Services Positive Start Parenting participants took part in DRUMBEAT over a 10 week period. The program uses music, psychology and neurobiology to reconnect with self and others.

DRUMBEAT is an acronym for Discovering Relationships Using Music, Beliefs, Emotions, Attitudes, and Thoughts.

IMPACT’s Manager of Support Services, Sandra Higgins, said many lively discussions around the role of parents in children’s’ lives were facilitated over the course of the 10 weeks.

Eri and Mayka enjoying a DRUMBEAT session

“This program was challenging at times, however a lot of laughing and fun made it all worthwhile,” she said.

“One of the plays we do is to drum how we feel at the start of the session and at the end of the session. Everyone is happier at the end after banging on the drums for an hour.”

Session 1 was The Rhythm of Parent – Child Relationships which looked at the patterns and impact on the relationship between the two. It proved that stable rhythms are safe rhythms, and that stable people form better relationships. Conflict between parents and their children can often be viewed as a clash of rhythms. The clients were taught the basic notes to use on the Djembe drum. They started learning the Listening Rhythm, the Heartbeat Rhythm and the Storm.

Session 2 was Developing Stronger Parent-Child Relationships which touched on healthy relationships, boundaries, values, good listening supports healthy parent – child relationships. We continued with the Listening Rhythm and touched on the Respect Rhythm.

Session 3 was Harmony in our Relationships. We looked at musical harmony using the Djembe drums, what factors help support family harmony, how the way we treat each other can improve harmony in the parent – child relationship. We completed learning the Listening Rhythm and the Respect Rhythm.

Session 4 was about Discipline and Parent – Child Relationship. Clear boundaries and link to values was discussed, role modelling, consistency and trust, compliance through understanding, communication and consequences.

Session 5 looked at Emotions and Feelings. Did you know there are 600 words in the English dictionary that describe feelings. Two-thirds of these are negative words! Parents need to be sensitive to children’s feelings and they can sometimes be misinterpreted which can lead to conflict. How we express our feelings is important, and some ways are healthier than others.  We practiced the Listening Rhythm and the Respect Rhythm.

Session 6 looked at Teamwork and the Family. We discussed the different teams that we are a part of as well as other teams that we enjoy. Healthy teams like families communicate well with each other and respect differences among their members. The clients started learning the Teamwork Rhythm and a lot of fun was had by the clients.

Session 7 was about Outside Influences on the Parent – Child Relationship. How do parents manage the peer relationships of their children, the impact of negative peer influence, parental acrimony and its impact on the child, bullying and working with the school system.

Sandra said: “The clients enjoyed a mini concert by working their way through all the rhythms and finally coming together in harmony. The participants had found their rhythm by the end of the program and received a certificate and most stated that they wanted to do it again next year!”

Did you know you can access prenatal and postnatal care with IMPACT Community Services’ Foundations for Life program?

Each fortnight a midwife comes to IMPACT to answer any questions you and your partner may have about pregnancy and parenting in a one-on-one session.

The midwife can perform physical checks, take measurements, and has a doppler, a machine which can enable you to hear the baby’s heartbeat.

After you have had your baby, the midwife can do in-home visits for up to six weeks.

The aim of the Foundations for Life program is to improve access to high quality and appropriate antenatal and postnatal care for vulnerable and at-risk women aged under 25 years and their partners in the Bundaberg region.

IMPACT’s Positive Start Parenting team leader Lesley Allen said the midwife gives wonderful advice and was very knowledgeable.

She said having the individual sessions with the same midwife can create a greater sense of reassurance, less chance of conflicting information, and a stronger rapport.

Lesley said parents feel safe being able to speak with a midwife at IMPACT.

She said this program was a great opportunity to ask any questions you or your partner might have early on in the pregnancy journey.

As part of the program, IMPACT hosts educational forums covering all things parenting. In the past there have been forums on bathing a baby, dental hygiene, and introducing solid foods to a child’s diet. The next forum will cover Baby massage.

The Child Health team has assisted the Foundations for Life program in providing parents with Pepe-Pods which provide a safe co-sleeping setup for parents and new-born babies.

For more information about this group phone 4153 4233.

The value of a safe place to learn and be supported when entering parenthood cannot be overstated.

IMPACT Community Services holds a weekly group session for young parents or soon-to-be parents to connect with one another and learn from health professionals.

IMPACT’s Positive Start Parenting Team Leader Lesley Allen said this group was aimed at providing support and education for people aged 15-19 years old.

She said information to help the young parents prepare for when the baby arrives without fear of judgement was what the group was all about.

During their first session a representative from Child Health spoke with the group about their new Pepe Pods which they can give to the parents before the baby is born.

The pods are used to enable safe, co-sleeping for parents and new-born babies.

Lesley said the session will not always be held at IMPACT, with the potential to host the group at a local park or café if it is of interest.

The young parents group meets on Wednesdays from 3.30pm-4.40pm to ensure they aren’t missing out on school.

IMPACT can also aid with transport to the sessions should you require it.

For more information about this group phone 4153 4233.

Please note: This website may contain references to, or feature images, videos, and voices of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples who have passed away.

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