“The early years from conception to age 6 have the most important influence of any time in the life cycle on brain development and subsequent learning, behaviour and health. The effects of early experience, particularly during the first three years on the wiring and sculpting of the brain’s billions of neurons, last a lifetime”
(Mc Cain & Mustard 1999)
The amalgamation of Carawatha and Willagee Primary Schools and the relocation of the Language Development Centre to a new purpose built school in 2005 initiated a joint goal to create a community link that would identify the specific needs of the children and their parents and strive to address these needs when intervention is the most successful i.e. 0-8 years. The formation of an interagency committee supported by the school community resulted in the development of an early years program for the identified area.
The Caralee Birth – 4 Early Years Program is an early intervention program that recognizes parents as the child’s first teacher and the vital role they play in the early language and learning development of the child. It provides support to families of children aged from birth-4 years in the Willagee area and families of children with speech and language difficulties in the Fremantle Education District. The program aims to provide support and intervention that is pro-active and preventative through and interagency model of “Family Partnership”
The Family Partnerships approach is based upon an explicit framework that integrates the use of core helping skills and qualities with the processes of a goal orientated approach. It enables professionals to feel more confident and competent in relating to parents.
“Psychosocial functioning of both parents and children experiencing childhood disability and mental health problems improves when they work with practitioners trained in the Family Partnerships approach.” Davis,Day,Bidmead,2002
- To develop and promote the Caralee Community School and Fremantle LDC as a community based schools site that supports early intervention for children and families from birth.
- To support a collaborative, inclusive model of service utilizing the expertise of the Fremantle Language Development Centre. Staff from the Fremantle LDC provide expertise in the area of Speech & Language and early intervention strategies. Further expertise from allied professionals has been supported by existing partnerships between the FLDC and other agencies and tertiary institutions.
- To provide an Interagency Therapy area where interagency providers can meet with families. By making the links and providing services within the community at the school site, support becomes accessible to all.
- To encourage families to feel comfortable to be a part of the school community, promote positive attitudes to parenting and increase attachment between children and parents.
- To increase the provision of intervention services to children and families in the Willagee area and the wider Fremantle Education District through the partnerships with interagencies.
- To recognise the role of the parent as the child’s first teacher and the important role they play in developing early oral language and the links to literacy.
To increase parenting skills and empower parents in management of their child’s behaviour.
Programs and Services
The program offers an Open Morning on Tuesdays between 9.00 and 10.45am. There is an open door policy where anyone can attend for a short time or the whole two hour session. Activities to promote parent child interaction are provided with support from School staff and Parent Link support workers.
Speech & Language Playgroups:
Supported playgroups are conducted for children with speech, language and developmental delays and are through a referral process
Two playgroups on Thursday mornings are implemented by staff from the Fremantle LDC and therapists from the Fremantle Child Development Service. Referral is through Fremantle CDS
This program is an early intervention strategy supported by an interagency committee representing:
Department of Education & Training
Department for Communities
Department of Health
City of Melville
Willagee Community Centre
The Interagency Committee meets on a regular basis to access funding, develop resources and implement programs to meet the identified needs of the families within the school communities
Fremantle Language Development Centre
Principal: Wendy Strang
Caralee Community School
Principal: Jason Shapcott
Playgroup Co-ordinator and Leader
0423 881 790