V Swans Early Years Programs - Onslow

Monday, August 7, 2017 - 1:40 PM

A community is more than just a location or a collection of individuals who happen to live or work in the same place. When we talk about a ‘sense of community’ we usually mean the quality of the relationships and connections that bind people together, rather than just the fact that they see each other regularly.

For many families early year’s experiences such as what we offer here in Onslow through both our Paint the Town ReAD and Mother Goose programs provide their first contact with a wider community beyond the home. Because of this, our Early Years programs act as an important point of connection for local families.

Our Early Years program, Paint the Town REaD, motivates whole communities to read, talk, sing and draw with children from birth, so that they will be ready for reading and writing at school.
Our goal is a community culture that values and celebrates literacy, starting with this generation but aiming for long term inter-generational change.

In partnership with Communities for Children, we have through our sessions been able to support families and parents with positive outcomes. Each week we run 3 Early Years sessions and across the week we engage with between 12 – 25 local families and their precious children.
The “Paint the town REaD” (PTTR) early intervention program has improved school readiness by increasing the access to literacy in pre-school aged children and supporting their transition to formal schooling. Those children attending our sessions have been able to more quickly and confidently engage in literacy rich experiences at school. A solid foundation in basic literacy is critical for the acquisition of literacy skills at school. Research shows if a child enters school without these skills, the literacy gap between them and those ready to read is likely to widen.
We are supporting children and families in Onslow to access books, who otherwise may not have the simple joy of reading a story at home, by providing book boxes at local venues. These books can be read at the venue or taken home to share.

To support our local families we are able to engage parents with their children via regular PTTR literacy sessions, initiatives and local events to increase their understanding of literacy.
Through supported PTTR sessions the program will assist parents with strategies to stimulate and promote their child’s literacy development and learning from birth.


Our Mother Goose program for our Indigenous Mums and Bubs focuses on Families and Connections between children and adult services. This new V Swans program runs weekly at our Youth Centre.
Through our weekly sessions we aim to:
- Improve the health and well-being of families and the development of young children, from birth through to age 12 years.
- Healthy young families – supporting parents to care for their children before and after birth and throughout the early years;
- Supporting families and parents – support for parents to provide children with secure attachment, consistent discipline and quality environments that are stable, positive, stimulating, safe and secure;
- Early Learning – provide access to high quality early learning opportunities in the years before school; provide early identification and support for children at risk of developmental and behavioural problems; assist parents with ways they can stimulate and promote child development and learning from birth; and
- School transition and engagement – support children and families to make a smooth transition to school and work with local schools to assist children and families with their ongoing engagement with school.
- To create strong child-friendly communities that understand the importance of children and applies this capacity to maximise the health, well-being and early development of young children at the local level.

Our Early Years sessions foster supportive relationships between families as well as connecting families to other organisations and services in the local community.
Strong links with the local community also provide families with invaluable information and resources. By drawing on community knowledge and expertise, we have been better able to understand the children and families with whom we work, and therefore we can provide children with age appropriate learning experiences that are meaningful and relevant to their lives.

The V Swans “Power House” community and Youth Centre will provide a safe and inclusive environment within the community. This centre is an invaluable asset for our Early Years programs. It will be a safe and welcoming space for our local children and families to engage in meaningful educational activities.
This project has been made possible through the support of local contractors, community donations, Lotterywest and the Chevron – operated Wheatstone project.

The importance of the early years is now well known throughout Australia and the rest of the world. These years are a time when the brain develops and much of its ‘wiring’ is laid down.
The experiences and relationships a child has as well as their nutrition and health, can actually affect this enormously. Positive experiences help the brain to develop in healthy ways.

Children are born ready to learn and interested in the world around them. We see this in all our programs where the children explore, investigate and create. It is widely recognised that the early years of a child’s life are the most important for learning as this is when the foundations for the future are laid, where we begin moving down the path that will take us through childhood, the teenage years and ultimately into adulthood.

The V Swans Early Years programs are truly enhancing and enriching the lives of the local Onslow children – It is a privilege to be working with such beautiful families.