The Department of Education and Training has partnered with the Colman Foundation to establish the Our Place model at selected locations across Victoria.
The partnership is a ten-year commitment to support the local communities by providing a single entrance to the school and early learning centre and shared spaces to deliver education, allied health and community services.
The Victorian government delivers the infrastructure for Our Place and the Colman Foundation funds community facilitators to work on site to coordinate a range of government and community services, and engage families.
Charlotte Kelberg, Partnership Manager, Our Place.
On site at Our Place Northern Bay we have early years services, kindergarten, school services for a P-8 school.
Ruth Hamilton, Centre Manager, Korayn Biralee Family Centre, City of Greater Geelong.
The centre also offers a range of services to the community we got Maternal Child Health, immunisations, supported playgroups, storytime, and we’re hoping to run a toy library.
Scott Diamond, College Principal, Northern Bay P to 12 College.
One of the Our Place key tenets is the idea of co-location and the ability for families to be entering the same door for an extended period of time./p>
A key feature of the Our Place approach is engaging parents and carers to connect them to education, health and wellbeing services.
Ruth: From 0 to adulthood, families can access this service and they can have their children in long daycare and kindergarten program.
Charlotte: We do adult learning, education and employment services.
Ruth:They can drop their children off at school and they themselves can work with support agencies that are around to look at how they can access employment support or further education for themselves, so it’s really this one-stop shop.
Ben McCredden, Campus Principal, Wexford, Northern Bay P to 12 College.
It’s more than having a kinder on site, it’s having the services that are available from birth to school so we can start that link with communities and families from day 1. It certainly means I’m more aware of what is going on in our school community and the issues they are facing. When the students start in prep we have a much greater understanding of them and their families and they can really hit the ground running.
Ruth:We’ve been able to work with the school, the principal and their workers to really look at the supports the children need, what are the key areas that they are is walking into school with and without, and how do we work together to support the development of children’s resilience and social and emotional wellbeing before they step into that big wide world of schooling.
Our Place sites are located at Doveton, Officer, Robinvale, Carlton, Seymour, Corio, Morwell, Clayton South, Frankston North and Mooroopna.
Charlotte: Our Place approach is a 10 year commitment which is a long time to be working in a community which gives us an opportunity to really create impact and have sustainable outcomes in this community.