As COVID-19 hit Victoria and exacerbated existing family stressors, Sparkwayshad an important role to play — ensuring vulnerable children maintained access to safe environments and life-changing education.
In the outer reaches of Melton, Victoria, single mum Maya* is determined to be a good parent to Stacee* (3) and Shayne* (4). With three older children removed from her care, Maya can't stand to lose her babies. But her desire to support her children is made challenging by personal trauma and diagnosed anxiety disorder.
When COVID-19 hit Maya was extremely worried about the risk of contracting COVID-19 and getting in trouble with the authorities as a result. She felt the only safe choice was keeping her children at home from kindergarten.
Acting early, our TRY Family Support Facilitator and Educators at the children's kindergarten supported Maya with home delivered activity packs to keep her and the children connected to the kindergarten. At the same time we reached out to Maya's Aboriginal Pathways Worker to identify ways we could further support the family and build Maya's confidence to send Stacee and Shayne to kindergarten - so they could benefit from the transformative power of early years education.
We're proud to say that through open dialogue and activities, including showing Maya pictures of our enhanced hygiene practices and playing hand washing games, we helped her to see that she was doing a great job of protecting herself and her children from the risks of COVID-19.
And that's not all, armed with this confidence Maya was empowered to send her children back to kindergarten, where we're delighted to report that they are happy and thriving.
Without proactive outreach and support, Stacee and Shayne could have missed out on important formative early eduction embedding a cycle of educational disadvantage.
*Names have been changed, models pictured.