Families target of early years program

RESEARCH of parents’ attitudes reveals that nearly 70 per cent of parents believe parenting does not come naturally.

Parents also feel less supported and more judged today than 20 years ago, 36 per cent of parents believe they will be negatively judged if they admit to having problems and nearly one in 10 research respondents did not know where they might seek assistance if needed.

From left, TEYF CEO Rebecca Moles, Rowena Bird and ACF CEO Dr Joe Tucci.
From left, TEYF CEO Rebecca Moles, Rowena Bird and ACF CEO Dr Joe Tucci.

With these and other similar findings in mind, the Australian Childhood Foundation (ACF) will deliver special activities and programs to Tasmanian families of children in the early years, thanks to a contribution of $130,000 from the Tasmanian Early Years Foundation (TEYF).  The funding will assist in delivering the parenting programs in Tasmania.

The programs will seek to enhance parenting confidence, knowledge and access to support through communication of the following key statements:

  • Children and parents learn to grow together.
  • All parents need access to support and information at some time in their parenting career.
  • Seeking support and information when needed is a sign of strength, not failure in a parent.

ACF CEO Dr Joe Tucci said through this partnership the ACF and the TEYF would be able to make a real difference to parents and families across Tasmania.

“All parents need support at some time, especially when children are very young and everything is changing so quickly,” he said.

“No parent is perfect despite feeling at times we need to be.

“We need to encourage parents to see that asking for help is a sign of strength not failure.”

Last year the Foundation declared raising children as Tasmania’s Biggest Job.

The Tasmania’s Biggest Job campaign is based on the knowledge that the first six years of life are crucial in a child’s development and their experiences shape who they become.

TEYF CEO Rebecca Moles said the years from birth to the age of six were the most critically important years of development for children.

Ms Moles said through this partnership, its grants program and also its Tasmania’s Biggest Job campaign, the foundation was showing a strong commitment in providing support to parents to help them build positive, loving and nurturing relationships with their children.

“What a child experiences and learns during this time stays with them for the rest of their life and sets them up for the future,” she said.

Ms Moles said many families did not know about the various services that were available to help them with their important job of raising children.

“The support available ranges from information about different aspects of their child’s development that parents can read through and use at their own leisure, to more structured support services in the community like child care, child health and early learning centres,” she said.

Mother of three Rowena Bird, said she was a strong supporter of early years programs that benefited both children and parents.

Through a Tasmanian Government program, Launching into Learning, Miss Bird said she and her youngest child, six-year-old Connor, had benefited enormously.

“I never really thought these sorts of programs were that important,” she said.

“But the Launching into Learning program that Connor and I participated in prepared him well for the school environment through age-appropriate activities.

“The teaching was done through play in a non-threatening environment.”

Miss Bird, who is set to work as a teacher’s aide in the Launching into Learning program said the programs that focused on the early years were equally important for children and adults.