KidsMatter Early Childhood provides a framework to enable long day care and preschool teachers and staff, parents and carers to work together to create settings that better support children’s social and emotional wellbeing needs. The framework focuses on four key areas:
- creating a sense of community
- developing children’s social and emotional skills
- working with parents and carers
- helping children who are experiencing mental health difficulties.
Following an Expression of Interest process, over 100 long day care centres and preschools from all states and territories across Australia have been selected to participate in piloting the KidsMatter Early Childhood initiative throughout 2010 and 2011. The pilot includes the participation of 11,082 children and 1,386 staff. 17% of staff hold an Early Childhood Education Degree.
KidsMatter Early Childhood Facilitators are engaged across all states and territories to work collaboratively with pilot sites. The Facilitators provide expert advice, training, information and resources to pilot sites regarding the implementation of KidsMatter Early Childhood. The Facilitators support the pilot sites to develop their capacity to promote children’s mental health and wellbeing and to respond effectively to the mental health concerns of the children in their care.
Each pilot site will establish a Leadership Team to plan and oversee the implementation of the framework of KidsMatter Early Childhood. A key role of the Leadership Team, with the support of the Facilitator, is to develop, implement and continuously review a KidsMatter Early Childhood Action Plan. This is called the Plan-Do-Review process. The Action Plan will be delivered through the provision of evidence-based learning opportunities and resources for staff and parents and carers to enhance their capacity to support the children in their care.