An intrepid band of Logan Together partners have just returned from the southern states as part of a fact-finding mission led by Logan City Council visiting a range of inspirational early years hubs.
The hubs all engaged with local parents and created environments where children and families can thrive. Many different hub models exist – but the ability to combine early learning and development opportunities with access to health and social supports were consistent features across all.
The Logan Together Education Chapter is currently focussing on translating these kinds of models as part of its work on the “High Quality Early Education Networks with Social Supports” project. This is earmarked as one of the Logan Together Movement’s game changer projects.
Joining the Logan City Council team were representatives from the Queensland Government including Health and Education and State Development, developers Lend Lease and Peet, local agency YFS and Logan Together. The trip included centres in Tasmania, Victoria and the ACT.
Doveton College in Victoria was a particular highlight, with its unique set-up providing wrap-around services for the families and children of Doveton. The collaborative and supportive space is designed to engage all members of a family, from a child’s birth onwards.
The school is a social partnership – the first of its kind – between the Victorian State Government Department of Education and Early Childhood Development, Commonwealth Government and the Colman Foundation.
Logan Together Director Matthew Cox described the College as “a revelation”.
“Doveton is pulling together all the things kids and families need and value from pregnancy through birth and on through into the school years,” he said.
“It’s this holistic pipeline approach that is changing lives for families. They are closing in on state benchmarks in NAPLAN and the AEDC and the environment when you walk into that school is amazing. It’s more like a community centre with a school in it – there are programs for adults, there are programs for pregnant women and families – all engaged in a completely holistic model.”
Matthew said the trip was immensely worthwhile and every centre showed them something new to share with the Logan community.
“While each of the centres we visited are unique, they shared the common element of a warm, welcoming environment that started at the front door – they were really places that felt like a home,” Matthew said.
“Having experienced what we have on this tour, our aim is to generalise the findings and share them with community and replicate this approach in a Logan Together context.
“Participating in this trip has meant that we start this process in Logan light years ahead with so many examples of best practice to apply to Logan. We can now localise it specifically to what Logan needs and put something very special on the ground.”
The inspiring approach to early education and family support centres flowed onto the delivery of government services.
“The the service providers work in a very different way. They aren’t sitting at a desk opposite their clients. They are walking around play areas and gardens together – it means real partnerships are formed and the results are very positive for families.”
You can hear Matthew’s thoughts of the trip first hand by visiting the Logan Together Facebook page and watching his series of video check-ins throughout the trip.