“Everyone is welcome, everyone belongs” at Forbes Preschool

Strong relationships with local schools, families and on-site health providers help Forbes Preschool provide a holistic and tailored transition to school for children.

Image: A nurse audiologist at Forbes Preschool educating children about healthy ears

Located on Wiradjuri Country, Forbes Preschool has evolved into a local hub thanks to collaborative partnerships with families and communities.

Director of Forbes Preschool Amy Shine said that approximately 60% of children at the service come from vulnerable backgrounds, and much of their work is focused on removing barriers that prevent families from accessing education, health and social services.

“Our philosophy is ‘Everyone is welcome, everyone belongs’,” Amy said.

The staff at Forbes Preschool run regular pop-up preschools in vulnerable areas of the community to allow families to get to know them on their own turf, and they also host a series of additional services which encourages family engagement with the preschool.

“On Mondays we have a mothers’ group, on Tuesdays we have a pop-up clinic with child and family health nurses, and on Thursdays a domestic violence group meets here,” Amy said.

In facilitating these services, Forbes Preschool has built strong relationships with its families and is now highly respected throughout the community for their collaborative approach to educating and supporting the town’s youngest residents.

“Our families feel like it’s their preschool. That’s why we invite other health and social services here, because families feel like they belong.”

This sense of community and strong connection has proved invaluable in the development of Forbes Preschool’s transition to school program.

Since 2020, Forbes Preschool has also been a National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) provider and now employs speech therapists, occupational therapists, a play therapist and a child psychologist.

Delivering this additional support has been beneficial in the development of their transition to school program, particularly for children with disability.

“The transition to school starts as soon as children walk through our doors, and it’s such a collaborative approach between our staff, the schools, families and our therapists.”

Amy said that Forbes Preschool’s NDIS staff begin working with children with a NDIS plan from age 2 and continue supporting them through school visits until they reach Year 2.

“When families of children with disability go to meet with schools, one of us will go with them to support and make sure they’re getting what they need.”

“It feels like us and the schools are one. It’s really streamlined support.”

Thanks to the relationships Forbes Preschool has built with its community, Amy said that families feel more comfortable seeking out support and trusting the service’s therapists, which helps set children up for primary school.

“Early intervention is key and the outcomes that we see for children are amazing.”

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