Centre offers early learning for all
Ensuring all children in the community have access to high quality early learning is the aim of the educators at Goodstart Dandenong Princes Highway.
And they are so passionate about the cause, they have opened a new free playgroup in their community room for local families.
Pedagogy Practice Lead Metilda Xavier said while the centre offered great opportunities for the children attending, those that didn’t sometimes missed out.
“So we set up the playgroup to ensure children in the community have access to high quality early learning setting to develop a sense of connection, belonging and security in their community,” Ms Xavier said.
“It’s for families who may not be working and don’t need childcare but still want their children to have some access to early learning. There is no age group – we have children aged from six weeks to six years old.
“One of the main intended outcomes of our playgroup is to encourage stronger parenting skills and levels of family support, particularly in relation to enhancing the parent-child relationship, increasing parents' understanding, skill and confidence in supporting their children's development,” Ms Xavier said.
The playgroup, which runs in the centre every Wednesday from 10-11.30am, was set up with the help of the centre director Kenett George and Playgroup development officer Doris Wong. It is facilitated by Dandenong City Council volunteers.
It emulates the types of activities the centre uses to help children develop their fine motor skills and coordination, communication and language skills, personal, emotional and social abilities and intellectual growth.
The centre has also recently opened a community room for parents and support agencies to come together and network within the centre environment.
Dandenong Neighbourhood House provides more than 30 courses in the community and five cluster courses at the centre to enable families to choose the right career pathway by learning and skills to meet the needs of the local community.
“This is run with a view to creating employment opportunities for people within the community and runs classes such as computer workshops and English language classes,” Ms Xavier said.