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Play as an early intervention and prevention tool Associate Professor Kym Macfarlane, Ms Charmaine Stubbs, Ms Melinda Nelson & Mr Rodney Holmes The Salvation.

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Presentation on theme: "Play as an early intervention and prevention tool Associate Professor Kym Macfarlane, Ms Charmaine Stubbs, Ms Melinda Nelson & Mr Rodney Holmes The Salvation."— Presentation transcript:

1 Play as an early intervention and prevention tool Associate Professor Kym Macfarlane, Ms Charmaine Stubbs, Ms Melinda Nelson & Mr Rodney Holmes The Salvation Army Griffith University Knowledge Partnership

2 Overview The Sunshine playgroup and The Family Place Research Play as an EIP tool Moore & McDonald model (2013) High quality Play What actually happens This means that…. Framework

3 The Sunshine Playgroup and The Family Place The Sunshine Playgroup – run from the Family Place as a universal soft entry playgroup (Melinda) Open to everyone but has 10 places reserved for Child Safety Families to undertake visitation with their children The Family Place is a drop in Centre in the centre of Logan City Brisbane (Charmaine)

4 Research TSA/GUKP is a research partnership that has been formed so that research can be conducted to inform the service delivery of the Communities for Children Project in Logan The Salvation Army is the Facilitating Partner of the Communities for Children project in this region

5 Research cont’d The research undertaken as part of this partnership intended to answer the following research questions: What is the evidence base underpinning services delivered at Communities for Children Logan? What difference are these services making in the lives of families from the families’ perspective? What philosophical approaches are staff using in their practice How do these philosophical approaches fit with the evidence base underpinning services?

6 Research Cont’d Originally 7 interviews were conducted with 5 CfCL management staff - approx 45 mins 21 interviews with parents – approx 30 mins For this presentation we are documenting the journeys of two CfCL staff who are with us today

7 Research Cont’d Undertook two interviews with the two CfCL staff members These were semi structured interviews but were conducted in a conversational tone The idea was to have a conversation about the Sunshine Playgroup and also about how it worked out of the Family Place.

8 Play/EIP Practice In order to understand the philosophical underpinnings of the work in the Sunshine Playgroup and the Family Place we coded the data about the practice of the CfCL staff: To the Moore & McDonald (2013) Effective Early Intervention and Prevention practice model To the evidence base for high quality play

9 Moore & Mc Donald (2013) Be relationship-based; Involve partnerships between parents and clients (eg, parents, young people, communities); Target goals that clients see as important; Provide clients with choices regarding strategies; Build client competences; Be non-stigmatising; Demonstrate cultural awareness and sensitivity; and Maintain continuity of care

10 High Quality Play Are culturally appropriate (Arthur et al, 2012; Macfarlane, Cartmel & Nolan, 2008; Mosier & Rogoff, 2003; Roopnaire, 2012) Involve partnerships and co-construction (Early Years Learning Framework, 2009; Edwards, Gandini & Forman, 1998; Vygotsky,1962) Build children’s competencies (Lester & Russell, 2008) Are Relationship based (Macfarlane & Cartmel, 2008) Implement play as well being (Jarvis, Newman & Swiniarski, 2014; Lester & Russell, 2008) Involve choice (Macfarlane & Cartmel, 2008)

11 What actually happens Play as soft entry EIP Practice as universal

12 This means that … There is a shared philosophy, language and mission and shared values and beliefs A particular type of play is delivered Includes: Co-construction Child centred practice Strengths-based practice Non-stigmatising (Melinda and Charmaine)

13 Also A particular type of EIP practice is occurring It is Soft entry Universal Strengths based Grass roots Family Centred

14 Investigating the framework Applying the evidence to the framework by using staff comments.

15 Relationship Based … I think seeing the changes for families is the biggest thing for me personally. Just seeing when you first meet them there's all sorts of complex problems and - through the networks that we have we're able to connect them up to so many different support services. But they will use The Family Place as sort of their social connection and … just mums talking about just being able to drop in and have a chat when they need it. So if they've had a hard night at home with the baby or something has happened with their partner, they can come down. There's someone willing to listen - willing and able to listen to them. They don't have to make an appointment with us, they can just drop in, we'll make them a cup of tea. They feel like it's their home away from home.

16 Building Relationships

17 Partnerships Yeah, so her role is … Child Safety Support Officer. She organises the contact visits for families that have had their children removed. So she's the liaison between the foster carer and the birth parents and her role is to coordinate contacts. But she's only really required to organise that at her office. That would be a meeting in a small, white room, with cameras trained on the parents, some plastic toys in the space. Her role would be to sit back and supervise. When she first came along to Communities for Children, she sat down and we had that conversation about what could it look like. We talked about how a universal program could support families who were attending visits at the centre. Because she could see that they just weren't – they [CSSOs] were stuck, they weren't moving, their assessments were based on what they were seeing in that white room. The parents were petrified, the children were - the interactions weren't natural at all and she could see that she needed to do something to aid in that. Yeah, and that's how it started. (Melinda)

18 Partnerships

19 Goals So The Family Place program began early last year. It was in response to the community consultation that's been… around the time that the Government provided additional funding … to work with DHS. So we had a big community consultation, and what was coming through very clearly for parents then was their need for social connection. For information around health and nutrition for their children. Safe spaces was a huge one, where do we go with our children to get out of the house to meet other people, to learn from each other? This kept coming up time and time again. (Charmaine)

20 Goals

21 Choice No. I think it's a funny question for me to answer because I actually never attended a playgroup until I started facilitating, so I haven't seen what other ones look like. Although I have looked after a playgroup for another worker before, and was surprised at how much variation there is between groups. But yeah, I suppose so, I suppose the - and it wasn't necessarily the way I worked at the start, but I'm always reflecting and changing. What seems to really work for children and parents, is just having a lot of choice and a lot of open- ended resources, that - yeah, that… (Melinda)

22 Choice

23 Building Competencies But I was going to The Family Place when we were doing the refurbishment project, with a couple of other team members. Every morning that we would go there the park directly next to the centre would be full of the cardboard wine boxes and there'd be needles. It was generally really dirty all of the time. There weren't many families in the park, so there were lots of men hanging around. So we'd kind of go there, lock the gates, go inside, do our thing. We noticed over the first few weeks when it started getting busy and more people and more people were coming in, the cardboard boxes disappear and more children were using the park. So it was almost like a reclaiming - it wasn't just the space that we were in. I don't know if it was because of safety in numbers, or because we had made something that was really derelict looking, look really beautiful. Because children were coming into the space daily, local people were starting to use the park again

24 Competence

25 Non-stigmatising At some points I've had to ask, probably not in these words, but please don't talk down to the parents. If you're wanting to redirect their behaviour in some way, perhaps we could look at this differently. So it was up to our team to do a lot of work with their workers as well, just about basic respect and setting that culture of respect in the space.

26 Non-stigmatising

27 Cultural Awareness and Sensitivity Yep definitely. It's interesting actually that all of the new families that are attending from around local area - so a lot of the Ethiopian families, Korean families, they'll only engage in the play sessions, I've noticed… Yeah, so Circle of Security, or any of those sorts of things and they won't come. But they love the play activities and they're there every week.

28 Cultural sharing

29 Continuity of care If somebody needs to - if a parent needed to debrief with one of the staff, there's not - and I think it's really lovely now that we're just on the one level. If M’s facilitating Sunshine Playgroup and say, G's supporting, but there's a parent that's having a bit of a meltdown and having a tough time and just needs someone to speak to. They'll quite often just come into the office and shut the door and we'll just sit there and have a conversation. Or M will do the same, she'll just go off down into the back garden and I'll come out and spend some time supporting the group

30 Familiar Faces

31 Finally What is important to understand here is the notion that a shared philosophy of practice and a shared vision are central to the thinking of staff. This is a situation that is often very hard to attain. It is rare to find staff so in tune with each other and so ready to move forward in a cohesive way. Such practice is culminating in the work undertaken at the Family Place and in the playgroups delivered there. The playgroups in the Family Place are acting as a conduit to other necessary services for families and children in ways that minimise both trauma and duplication. Often families are re-traumatised by the ways in which they are case managed. They are subject to multiple interventions, which confuse and upset them. The work in the Family Place centralizes practice by providing a universal access point for families that are often hard to reach. Families are reached through their initial exposure to high quality play which aligns with high quality EIP.

32 References Arthur, L., Beecher, B., Death, E., Dockett, S. & Farmer, S. (2012) Programming and planning in early childhood settings, Melbourne, Victoria: Cengage Learning Bourdieu, P. (1984) Distinction: a social critique of the judgment of taste. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press. Bronfenbrenner, U. (1979) The ecology of human development, Boston: Harvard University Press Commonwealth of Australia (2009) Early Years Learning Framework, Canberra: Australian Government Edwards, C., Gandini, L. & Forman, G. (1998) The Hundred Languages of Children: The Reggio Emilia Approach to Early Childhood Education, Westport CT: Ablex Publishing. Foucault, M. (1980) ‘Truth and power’ in Gordon, C. (ed.), Power/knowledge: selected interviews and other writings, 1972-77, pp. 109-133, New York: Pantheon Books. Jarvis,P., Newman, S. & Swiniarski, L. (2014) “On ‘becoming social’: The importance of collaborative free play in childhood, International journal of play, vol. 3, no. 1 pp. 53- 68..

33 References Cont’d Lester, S. & Russell, W. (2008) Summary Report Play for a change: Play, policy and practice: A review of contemporary perspectives, London, UK: Play England. Macfarlane, K. & Cartmel, J.(2008) Playgrounds of learning: Valuing competence and agency in birth to three year olds, Australian Journal of Early Childhood, vol. 33, no. 2, pp.41-47 Macfarlane, K., Cartmel, J. & Nolan, A. (2008) Early Childhood Care and Education, Retrieved from, Moore, T. G. & McDonald, M. (2013) Acting early, Changing Lives: How prevention and early action saves money and improves wellbeing. Prepared for The Benevolent Society. Parkville Victoria: Centre for Community Child Child Health at the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute and The Royal Children’s Hospital. Mosier, C. & Rogoff, B. (2003) Privileged treatment of toddlers: Cultural aspects of individual choice and responsibility, Developmental psychology, vol. 39, pp. 1047-1060 Roopnaire, J. L. (2012) What is the state of play? International journal of play, vol. 1, no. 3, pp. 228-230 Vygotsky, L.S. (1962). Thought and language. Cambridge, Massachusetts: The MIT Press

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