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Migrant and refugee children and families often feel isolated when they arrive in Australia. Many children have experienced loss and trauma. Some struggle to adjust to life in a new country, where their social, community and learning environments are very different to their country of origin. Like all children, they need support to help them learn and develop.
Save the Children started their Multicultural Supported Playgroups in response to a lack of services to support newly arrived migrant and refugee families with children aged 0-5 years.
Funding for this project will help to enable Save the Children to continue the running of the Multicultural Supported Playgroups Bus, meaning that families and children in remote areas can access the program and ensure the children are ready to transition to school.
The Multicultural Supported Playgroups run every week in multiple neighbourhoods Australia wide to families from more than 15 different cultural backgrounds, including the conflict affected countries of Burundi, Congo, Rwanda, Myanmar, Somalia, Ethiopia, Iraq, Afghanistan and Sudan.
An Early Childhood worker, a Bicultural Early childhood assistant and a Family Support Worker provide children with fun and educational activities. Parents are provided with advice, skills, links and referrals to other community services.
The playgroup sessions during school terms are complimented by a toy library which enables the families to have access to numerous early learning toys and resources.
The Save the Children Multicultural Supported Playgroups aims to:
Local schools in the areas our Multicultural Supported Playgroups are run have noticed that children from migrant backgrounds were not as ready for school and Save the Children have been asked by communities and education leaders to help form better pathways for these children and their families. The project is run in conjunction with local community services, including the Australian Department of Social Services, which give mothers access to practical skills workshops such as sewing, life skills and English lessons.
Mothers and older siblings can also participate life skills activities designed to improve their resilience, knowledge and build self-confidence.
The project forms a key component of Save the Children’s Education Strategy - that every child has the right to education. We work to ensure parents feel supported and see the importance of being involved with their children education and the role they play in a child’s successful transition to school.