Connect runs ‘Play and Chat’ sessions facilitated by early childhood staff in a number of locations across the Blue Mountains and into Penrith – the schedule for playgroups can be found by clicking here. Playgroups include ‘Play and Chat’, ‘Craft in the Park’ and a special Dad’s playgroup. All are an ideal place for babies, toddlers and children to learn and develop through play.
Our playgroups help little ones develop social skills in a group situation, with a parent or carer by their side for support, and they provide an opportunity for children and their parents or carers to enjoy activities together. Just as importantly, ‘Play and Chat’ provides a place to come when you need to get out of the house and have some adult company.
Connect also facilitates three family ‘Hubs’ based at Katoomba North Public School, Penrith Public School and Heatherbrae, Lawson. These hubs provide warm, friendly places for children and their parents and carers to play, connect with others in the community and access support and resources of use to parent and carers. The Hubs also provide courses, holiday activities and parenting courses.
Call us: 02 4759 1462
Heatherbrae is located at 1 Benang Street in Lawson, the historic house located behind Lawson Hotel. It provides informal play and chat for children, babies and their parents and carers, with comfortable chairs, as well as tea and coffee in a relaxed environment. We are open Monday to Thursday 9.30-4.00pm and Friday 9.30-1.00pm for play dough, painting, free play, stories, music, Toy Library borrowing.
Baby Play Time, a get together for parents and carers and their babies, is held every Tuesday 9.30-1.00pm.
Call us: Jeanette Crawford or Jane Gilling on 02 4759 1462.
Connect is one of Australia’s leading providers of transition to school programs for families, working in over 25 schools in the Lithgow, Blue Mountains, Penrith, Hawkesbury and Western Sydney areas. The program assists children and their families to have a positive start to school by offering supported playgroups which are facilitated by an early childhood teacher and run in a primary school during terms 3 and 4. Children not accessing other prior-to-school services have priority of attendance.
Children and their families have the opportunity to experience the school environment gradually before starting Kindergarten. They are also introduced to community agencies that may provide them with information or services to help their child with any issues that might act as a barrier to successful transition.
For the Transition to School website click here.
The Brighter Futures program is funded by the NSW Government to provide families with support and services that will help them give their children a good start in life. It is a ‘targeted’ program for families who have children aged eight years or younger, or who are expecting a baby, who have little support from family and friends and find parenting tough, and are facing drug and alcohol problems, mental health issues or domestic violence. The program involves supportive family case management and group parenting programs.
Connect acts as the ‘lead’ agency and provider of early childhood expertise within a consortium of agencies in the Blue Mountains who partner with Wesley Mission to deliver the program in the region.
Call us: 02 4758 9966.
YAWN (You Ask We Nurture) is a unique volunteer home visiting service offering tired parents practical help and companionship. Each volunteer visits a family with a baby up to one year old in their own home for two hours once a week. YAWN volunteers are trained and supported to partner with families with babies and young children to enable parents to get some rest. During home visits volunteers may hold the baby, play with older siblings or just make a cup of tea and listen – whatever is useful. The service is offered to families for six months and the role of the volunteer is not to offer advice, but rather to support parents in their desire to parent well.
YAWN began as a partnership between a parent and a practitioner, and evolves through continual feedback from parents to volunteers, the service adapting to best fit the needs of the families we support. When parents are supported and nurtured they can more easily develop secure relationships with their children. Our aim is to provide a service that helps parents make connections with the wider community. The support and encouragement that YAWN volunteers provide allows parents to enjoy their children and so develop a more secure attachment.
If a volunteer feels that a family may need more specialised support we are able to refer families to other community services. We work closely with volunteers to strengthen the support we can give families by developing strong relationships with other family services in the community.
Call us: Christy Hartlage 02 4759 1462
Little Possumss is a play therapy and mentoring program for Aboriginal children which operates two days per week across Doonside and Crawford Public Schools. It follows on the practise and philosophy of the very successful pilot program developed in the Shoalhaven region called "The Little Black Duck".
Little Possums provides culturally sensitive support through mentoring, advocacy and Play Therapy. The aims are to enable children to:
- build a strong sense of identity;
- heal issues resulting from trauma, loss and grief;
- enhance joyful participation in school, community life and relationships.
Contact: Annette or Karen, 0404213199 email: firstname.lastname@example.org