What is Best Start – Mingo Walloom?
Best Start is a place-based initiative to support families, caregivers and communities in providing the best possible environment, experiences and care for children from birth to 8 years. Best Start focuses on two primary outcomes: children engaging and participating in early childhood education (e.g. kindergarten and supported playgroups), and children and families actively engaging with Maternal and Child Health (MCH) services.
Who is eligible?
Best Start is not a client-based program. Through Best Start, local partnerships are formally established with communities and services providers to identify barriers to participation in key universal and targeted services – in particular in kindergarten, MCH services and supported playgroups.
Positive relationships and experiences help a child to develop useful skills that will carry them successfully through life. Improvements in emotional, behavioural and learning development, as well as strengthened competence, confidence and wellbeing will help children to reach their potential as happy and productive adults.
Best Start focuses on the health, development, learning and wellbeing of young children by assisting families, caregivers and communities to be more responsive to their needs. This includes a strong emphasis on prevention and early intervention.
Expected improvements are:
- better access to child and family support, health services and early education
- increases in parents’ capacity, confidence and enjoyment of family life
- communities that are more child and family friendly.
What to expect
Best Start focuses on providing outcomes in the Early Years space with particular focus on kindergarten and Maternal Child Health. An outcome is the result or effect expected by implementing a program, initative or strategy; this is typically a change that occurs in attitudes, values, behaviours or conditions. Changes can be short term, medium term or long term. An outcomes-based approach encourages service providers and the community to:
- focus more intently on the change they want to bring about for children and families, as oppose to focusing on services
- identify the strategies and actions that are most likely to achieve desired outcomes for children and families
- determine whether a service is having the intended effect.
Strong partnerships provide expertise and experience that can be used to develop innovative and collaborative responses to the issues faced by children and their families. We would like to thank our main partners:
- Community Elder Aunty May Owen
- City of Greater Geelong
- Barwon Child, Youth & Family (previously Glastonbury Child & Family Services)
- Barwon Health
- Koori Engagement Support Officers (KESOs)
- Geelong Kindergarten Association (GKA)
- Local Aboriginal Education Consultative Group (LAECG)
- Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS)
- Geelong Regional Library Corporation (GRLC)
- Goodstart Early Learning
- Deakin - IKE
- Victorian Aboriginal Community Service Association Limited (VACSAL).
Through Best Start a local initiative has been created to promote the fantastic things that community dads are doing. We need to recognise that dads are an important part of every family. We have already featured a number of Deadly Dads in the community newsletter and will continue to promote the fantastic work that parents are doing in raising strong community children. Click here to meet some of our Deadly Dads.