Thrive@5 in Doonside is an early childhood program which aims to improve and address the developmental needs and the health and wellbeing for children aged zero to five years.

Early Childhood Development

On average there are 2000 days between the time a baby is born and when they go to school. During this time, a child’s brain is creating the foundations for future development and learning. While the early years provide a significant opportunity for development, negative experiences during this critical period can impact outcomes throughout life. Research shows that children who grow up in a safe environment and have positive early experiences go on to become healthy adults, physically, emotionally and socially.

By improving the areas of health and wellbeing for children aged zero to five years, the program works to implement effective, efficient and mutually reinforcing activities to improve the Australian Early Development Census (AEDC) for Doonside. The AEDC is a nationwide data collection of early childhood development at the time children commence their first year of school. The AEDC highlights what is working well and what needs to be improved or developed to support children and their families.

Since 2014 Western Sydney Primary Health Network (WSPHN) has been funding and supporting the Thrive@5 in Doonside initiative which takes a collaborative approach with communities, families, primary health care providers and both government and non-government agencies, to ensure we support and improve early childhood development in the Western Sydney community.

Creates a fun environment where children aged three to five years can improve their motor development, literacy and social skills in an environment that promotes parental social interaction. Rhyme time introduces children and parents to an enjoyable social event where they learn about early nurture of language, literacy and social skills.

28 community reading boxes with free children’s books can be found at various shops and services throughout Doonside to encourage the community to read, talk, sing and rhyme with children from birth. Exposure to reading and talking during early years assists children to develop language skills, so they will be ready for reading and writing at school. For more information contact Blacktown Area Community Centres on 9626 5312.

A free literacy program that encourages early language and brain development for babies. This program encourages and supports early reading to Doonside babies, supporting children with school-readiness and the development of language and communication. It has been designed to educate parents on the importance of reading to babies and how this can help brain development. Contact Blacktown Area Community Centres on 9626 5312 for more information.

The Network provides an opportunity for service providers to share knowledge and information to increase awareness and knowledge of mental health, improve collaboration between services and improve access to mental health services for children and families. The Network meets quarterly in Doonside and is free for all services to attend. For more information contact Blacktown Area Community Centres on 9626 5312.

Aims to develop and support language-rich environments in Early Childhood Education Centres in Doonside. In partnership with leading academics and a speech pathologist from the Doonside Community Health Centre, three Early Childhood Centres are currently being supported with professional development opportunities and mentoring to provide an environment that maximises language development in the important years prior to school.

Play therapy and mentoring service for school children that have experienced trauma. It also provides culturally sensitive support through mentoring, advocacy and play therapy. This program has successfully engaged with vulnerable Aboriginal families in Doonside and have outcomes that show families are developing improved connectedness to the community and services. Contact Annette or Karen from Connect Child and Family Services on 0404 213 199 for more information.