Why our kids NEED quality pre-school care - the Illawarra organisation influencing our children's future

 Jenny Henderson Wed 15 May 19


Since 1981, one not for profit organisation based in the Illawarra, has actively campaigned for the rights of our local families and children.

The evidence is all pointing to how critical quality pre-school 'education' is for our children (ages 2-6). We use the term 'education' carefully here, as children benefit best of all through play-based learning.

Therefore, creating safe, enriching places for children to feel a sense of belonging outside the family home, all whilst developing their social, emotional and educational skills, helps propel them confidently into school and beyond.

Research also shows that attending a quality pre-school or early learning environment, is also a protective factor for kids in vulnerable or at risk situations in their home life.

So, for 38 years now, this Corrimal based organisation has actively created opportunities for ALL of our Illawarra children to access high quality early learning and education and reap the many benefits.

Year after year, they have invested in enriching the minds of our children and creating a hugely positive impact for families and our Illawarra community.

In fact, this organisation knows first-hand that EVERY CHILD between the ages of 3-5, experiences a vital window in their development. What happens during this time can have a significant impact on their education and their lives.

Many of Australia's peer countries provide 2 years of pre-school that is publicly funded and free for every child. So this Corrimal based organisation is campaigning for our Government to do the same. The outcome would be so beneficial for our children, their education and our collective future (see www.launchintolearning.com.au) for more details on the importance of quality early learning and pre-school access for all children).

In the 2016 Mitchell Report titled “Preschool – Two Years are Better Than One” by Mitchell Institute, findings included that those children who were in high-quality preschool for two to three years were nearly eight months ahead in their literacy development (Taggart et al. 2015, p. 9)

So who are they? Who is this organisation so passionately invested in helping our children be curious, competent and confident learners before they even start school?

For those who have not yet been introduced to the 650 strong team that is Big Fat Smile (one of the Illawarra's largest employers) - then let us introduce you to them now!

Meet - Big Fat Smile our Illawarra based, not-for-profit community-owned, industry leading provider of child education, care, recreation, cultural and inclusion services in NSW and the ACT :)

Here is what Big Fat Smile stand for and most importantly how you and your child can benefit from all they do and offer:

The vision and guiding light that directs everything that Big Fat Smile do, is to enrich the lives and minds of our children and families in their communities. Across the Illawarra and beyond, Big Fat Smile offer all this:

26 Big Fat Smile community pre-schools and long daycares - click here to find your local one! 

- 16 Fun Clubs - high quality before and after school care plus vacation care for primary school aged children (5-12 years) -  click here to find your local Fun Club!

- Green Bean Play Cafe - one of the few community spaces in the Illawarra region that is truly parent and child friendly - click here for more info!

- Free Children's Playgroups, Supported Playgroups and Parenting Support Programs in the 2518 and 2502 postcode areas, plus Illawarra wide - click here to read more

- Day Care Project Support Programs - The Day Care Project facilitates access to early childhood services for children with a developmental delay and ongoing high support needs - click here for more info

Here at Parents Guide Illawarra, we are so proud to have the opportunity to work with organisations like Big Fat Smile and help you as parents and carers, be able to benefit from all they offer our community. Please like and share this article to help spread the word :)

As parents we all want the best for our children, many of us feel the tug of guilt when we drop our children at day care or pre-school but the research backs up that our guilt is unnecessary and that actually, we are really benefitting our children when we expose them to high quality pre-school and early learning!

With our thanks to the CEO of Big Fat Smile, Jenni Hutchins, for taking the time to talk to us at Parents Guide Illawarra and for Big Fat Smile for sponsoring this article and spreading the word that quality pre-school rules!

For more information on Big Fat Smile please click here :)  


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