First Steps Count provides a unique, place-based facility offering a suite of consult rooms, play and activity spaces as well as office space for service providers and local agencies to deliver services and programs to children and families.
Staff and volunteers who work at the Centre will be specifically trained to work in partnership with families, providing support and advice in way that builds capacity and promotes engagement.
The Centre will offer a range of services and will promote the provision of integrated early intervention services for children aged 0-12 and their families.
Staff at the Centre will ensure that a strong partnership is formed with the services needed and that the support is integrated and functional.
First Steps Count offers a lovely place for children and families to drop in for a cuppa and a chat. It is during these chats that specific needs might be recognised and these families families may be introduced to more formal services and programs that the Centre offers.
First Steps Count Child and Community Centre is designed for the community so there is an expectation that families will participate in keeping the place clean, respecting the space and behaving appropriately. Everyone will be encouraged to work together in the Centre and this will be made clear through Working Together Agreements devised by parents and caregivers.
Supported playgroups are facilitated sessions, aiming to support families with particular needs or vulnerabilities by providing opportunities for parents to meet and share experiences and for children to play, learn and socialise. Playgroups will be facilitated by a number of local service providers in the area, who wish to use the rooms at First Steps Count Child and Community Centre to run their sessions.
Children and their families will be able to access their therapies in a welcoming environment. This might include Speech Pathology, Occupational Therapy, Physiotherapy or Counselling.
If you are a practicing therapist in the MidCoast region and want more information about working in the First Steps Count Child and Community Centre, please get in touch with us to discuss!
Sometimes attending assessments can be overwhelming and time-intensive for children and young people. Very often, more than one appointment is required and sometimes families need to travel to attend different places, telling their child’s story more than once. At First Steps Count Child and Community Centre, we aim to provide multidisciplinary assessments in one place, encouraging services to work collaboratively to determine a child’s needs.
Specialist appointments and telehealth
Many medical specialists run their clinics out of the major metropolitan hospitals in Newcastle and Sydney. First Steps Count Child and Community Centre will offer dedicated consult rooms that are available to rent for medical and other specialists to run outreach clinics in Taree. This also provides the opportunity for these specialists to observe children playing in a natural environment or even during other activities such as playgroup, outdoor play or art sessions.
The Centre will also be equipped with telehealth facilities, enabling families who may not have access to the relevant technology at home, to be supported at the Centre to access these services in a safe, welcoming environment.
Programs for Parents
The Centre will offer appropriate spaces for service providers to run group programs for parents and carers. Such groups might include parenting programs (e.g. Bringing Up Great Kids; Circle of Security), Domestic Violence support and Antenatal programs.
As much as possible, First Steps Count promotes partnerships and encourages collaboration between service providers to implement these programs in a different way to best meet the needs of the community.
For more information about this, please give us a call.
Community Gardens and Bushtucker
Children and families will be involved in setting up and looking after community gardens and bushtucker gardens at the Centre. Education programs will be available to encourage healthy eating and learning about taking food from the garden to the table. Specific training and workshops will be available about gardening, food preparation, meal planning and cooking. Social events and working bees will be a regular event at the Centre.
There are many other opportunities for services and programs to operate at the First Steps Count Child and Community Centre. Some examples include:
- Art and craft classes
- Book reading
- Mums and bubs sessions
- Outdoor physical recreation activities
- Yoga and mindfulness
- Culture and language classes
External Service Providers
The success of the First Steps Count Child and Community Centre relies heavily on the involvement and engagement of local service providers.
A Round Table meeting was held in October 2019 to undertake a service mapping exercise and gap analysis.
There was a fantastic turn out at this day with over twelve local health, education and community service providers represented.
We are excited, moving forward, to formalise partnerships with our local providers.
Watch this space!