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Great Southern Families benefit from program.



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Great Southern Families benefit from program

18/02/2009

An innovative program to build resilience and encourage learning among rural Aboriginal children in six towns in the south of Western Australia will start soon.

With funding from the Australian Government of $150,000, Great Kids in the Great Southern has been developed by Wanslea Family Services for Aboriginal children up to the age of five.

WA Senator Glenn Sterle, welcomed the announcement by Minister for Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs, Jenny Macklin.

"It's a fantastic program which will be developed in collaboration with local Indigenous communities," Ms Macklin said.

The Great Kids in the Great Southern service will cover an area of about 10,000 square kilometres, including the rural towns of Tambellup, Gnowangerup, Mt Barker, Katanning, Kojonup and Albany. The program has been built on the success of a successful pilot program run in Tambellup.

Wanslea Family Services will meet with each local Indigenous community to develop a program specifically for that area.

"Through regular consultation with community members, the program will be culturally sensitive and appropriate for the children and families in that area," Ms Macklin said.

Early childhood learning and play, learning respect and communication, culture, self esteem and identity and healthy body and healthy mind will be central themes.

Activities will match these themes and may include finger painting, fathers making kites with kids, story telling, making puppets to use in role plays, dance and music sessions.

Children may also learn nursery rhymes sung in Noongar language, Noongar history and language, family tree drawings, and traditional, healthy cooking on a budget.

The program will employ a full-time coordinator who will coordinate a local reference group at each of the six locations.

Local community agencies will visit the six sites to provide a range of services—for example, the Wanslea's Mobile Community Hub will visit the six towns to provide workshops on baby massage, parenting, behaviour management and play.

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