"Children’s Services aims to provide Early Childhood Services that ensure children are safe, healthy and given opportunities to reach their maximum potential"
The Shire is currently responsible for the leadership and management of nine early childhood Indigenous services on remote communities. Five of these services were in operation prior to the commencement of the Shire and four have been established since.
The services were designed to cater for the health and educational needs of children from birth to school age. They also play a critical part in providing a safe place for families to meet, talk and learn about children’s development.
The services are led by Mentors/Team Leaders, accountable to the Coordinator for Children’s Services – support. Team Leaders/Mentors in collaboration with the Shire Services Managers recruit and manage local early childhood educators.
While the service is open the carers/family members are encouraged to bring the children, stay and participate in the daily routines of bathing, feeding and playing with the children.
A variety of indoor and outdoor educational, developmentally and culturally appropriate activities are provided along with morning tea. This is followed by more activities and lunch.
Some services close after lunch whilst other services continue until 3-3.30pm depending on the need of the families and community.
Several services provide more than one program including school nutrition, health checks and pre-school programs.
Team Leaders/Mentors and local early childhood educators work closely with schools, clinics, aged care, women’s centre's, youth and other community services.
External agencies are involved to provide support and training for staff and this is organised by the Children’s Services Coordinators – Support and Training.
Providing Early Childhood services within the MacDonnell Shire region offers children and families in remote Aboriginal communities a safe and healthy space allowing children to explore and learn about their world and develop to their potential.
The service also provides employment and training opportunities within the community, coordinated by the Children’s Services Coordinator -Training.
There has been an increase in the number of childcare services on communities as well as an increase in the number of children and families participating in the service.
Children’s Services have provided employment to approximately thirty people and this is increasing due to the improvement of participation from the children and their families.
The Children’s Services unit has increased the coordination by employing a Children Services Training Coordinator. This position travels to the Shire childcare services training local early childhood educators in Certificate I, II and III in Children’s Services. Currently there are 16 local early childhood educators participating in the formalised training.
- To provide Early Childhood Services that build on the capacity of families in the development of their children as strong, active participants of society
- To provide opportunities for children to make the most of the physical environment provided
- To equip local early childhood educators with the skills and confidence to take responsibility for children’s services in their communities