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Innovation and Inspiration in Early Years Leadership Professor Dorothy Scott.

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Presentation on theme: "Innovation and Inspiration in Early Years Leadership Professor Dorothy Scott."— Presentation transcript:

1 Innovation and Inspiration in Early Years Leadership Professor Dorothy Scott

2 Enhancing the life chances of Australia’s most vulnerable children through: research and strategic evaluation professional education communication and advocacy



5 Child in family in social network in community Child in family in social network Child in family Child in family in social network in community in society/culture

6 Our Challenge How to deliver early childhood services to enhance the well-being of: Children Families Social Networks Communities Society

7 Sure Start Programmes, UK Involving parents as well as children Non-stigmatising Multi-faceted, transcending ‘education’, ‘health’ or ‘parenting’ interventions Locally driven, and based on consultation with parents and communities Culturally appropriate and sensitive to the needs of children and parents ( pdf). pdf

8 Looking Back to See Ahead Inspiring leadership in early years services by Australian ‘founding mothers’: Early childhood education Maternal and child health nursing Social Services

9 Early Childhood Education Under the leadership of Lillian de Lissa, mothers’ clubs began in Franklin Street Free Kindergarten, Adelaide in 1906: “These women co-operated in ancillary tasks for the free kindergartens and also gained useful knowledge of child rearing and health. Most lived in very poor circumstances; their experience was widened through contact with the kindergartens and in seeing the improvement in their own children’s physical development and general abilities. Out of the …mothers’ club came not only personal advantages for members, but their own acts of altruism which extended the benefits of kindergartens to others” (Jones, 1986, p.173).

10 Maternal and Child Health “In her 1940-41 Director of Infant Welfare Report, Dr Scantlebury Brown noted that parent clubs, mothers clubs, get-together clubs and infant welfare leagues were flourishing in some infant welfare centres and that there were large numbers of volunteer helpers (Commission of Public Health, Victoria, 1941). She also noted the close collaboration between infant welfare centres, the Lady Gowrie Pre-School Child Centre and other early childhood services” (Scott, in press).

11 Social Services In response to deep concern about abandonment of newborn babies, ‘babyfarming’ and the plight of children of single mothers, the Sydney Day Nurseries Association was established over 100 years ago for children under school age so their mothers could work. This was the first form of organized child care in Australia.


13 Reflections on two examples of shifting to thinking ‘parent and child ’ From adult to parent and child: shift from focus on ‘maternal mental state’ to ‘mother-infant dyad’ in Queen Victoria Medical Centre Department of Family Psychiatry, mid 1970s From child to parent and child: shift in focus from paediatric surveillance (measure and monitor child health and development) to maternal and child health and well- being, in the then Victorian ‘infant welfare service’ (now ‘maternal and child health service’), early 1980s

14 Examples of Inspiring Leadership SDN Children’s Services, NSW Napranum Pre-School, Qld Nurse Family Home Visiting, SA First time mothers groups, Vic

15 SDN Children’s Services 1.‘Scholarships’ for children to have 3 six hour days per week at a Child and Family Learning Centre 2.On the job staff training in how to work with ‘hard to engage’ parents 3.Warm and welcoming climate to encourage these parents to participate 4.Inter-agency networking to link families with the range of services they need (Udy, 2005)

16 Pal, Napranum Pre-School, QLD Pal (‘Parents and Learning’) is a 2 year program (pre-school and first year of primary) in which local Indigenous women with pre-school aged children are trained and employed as home tutors. They coach parents to do enjoyable daily exercises based on carefully chosen books and materials they deliver each week, building parental confidence and nurturing their aspirations for their children.

17 Nurse Family Home Visiting, SA All families with a new baby receive a home visit from a nurse Approximately 12% of families are offered a 2 year nurse home visiting program Approximately 75% accept invitation Strengths based program model strongly focussed on parent-child attachment

18 New Parent Groups, Victoria 98% of all families with a new baby receive maternal and child health service First time parent groups offered to all and approximately two thirds join Approx 8 group sessions run by nurse on range of parent and child related issues 2 years later 80% of groups still meeting in own homes

19 Common Ingredients Positive partnerships with parents Building on parental strengths and aspirations Responding holistically to needs Strengthening social support Collaborating across professions and services High morale of staff Ethos of hope and optimism

20 Relative Contribution of Factors in Psychotherapy Outcomes (Lambert, 1992) 40% 30% 15%

21 So how does all that we do.. Fit with the evidence on effective interventions? Address the protective and vulnerability factors in the social environment? Support good relationship-based practice? And last but not least, inspire hope?

22 Policy Context Organisational Setting Individual Practitioner Facilitating/inhibiting Factors

23 Service Provider Role Definition 1. ‘core role only’ (‘it’s not my concern’) 2. ‘core role plus assessment of ‘other needs’, leading to referral’ (‘it’s a concern but someone else’s job – refer on’) 3. ‘other needs incidental but unavoidable’ (‘not my core role but I have to do it’) 4. ‘other needs’ intrinsic part of core role (‘it’s part and parcel of my job’)

24 Organisational Setting Pressure of work Service philosophy/ideology Narrow/broad performance indicators Degree of risk aversion/defensiveness Level of professional autonomy Supervisory style Organisational culture and climate

25 Policy Context Legal and ethical challenges Single input services based on categorical funding Goodness of fit between portfolio priorities Outcome not output funding focus Level of competition for scarce resources Strength of centralised reform drivers Cost-effectiveness data

26 To scale up or not to scale up : that is the question Is it effective and if so, how? Is it cost-effective, and if so, in the short term and/or long term? Is it transferable across contexts? Is it sustainable?

27 To scale up programs or principles: that is another question It may not be possible to replicate or ‘adopt’ programs in their ‘pure’ form across different contexts, but it may be possible, and sometimes preferable, to transplant the principles of successful or promising programs or practices to other contexts, with careful assessment of the effect of adapting any original elements.


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