Busy month for Gwydir Shire Council Childrens’ Services

November 5, 2015

The Childrens’ Services offered by Gwydir Shire Council have had a very busy month with a plethora of activities to keep even the most discerning child happy.

In Warialda, the Toy Library celebrated the annual Honey Festival with the service offering bee face painting, and a cool spot for families to stop for a rest, feed and change nappies. Many visitors to the centre were extremely happy to have the service available on the day, and commented that it was the perfect “pit-stop” for those with children attending such an event. The Toy Library also took part in the parade, with 22 children participating as well as many parents, grandparents and carers.

Also this month the Warialda Toy Library was visited by Gail Phillpott, Gwydir Library Services Coordinator, who ran “Story Time” encouraging the love of reading and helping develop creativity and imagination.

Council’s Childrens’ Services works closely with the town libraries to encourage the important concept of reading, and to make the library a fun and welcoming place where the children feel at home.

Warialda Toy Library was also visited by Speech Pathologist Sandy Scotton. Sandy offered a great insight into how speech develops and important ways to enhance children’s speech. Sandy also talked about the signs to look for when considering whether a child would benefit from early intervention speech therapy. These sessions highlighted that speech pathology in our Shire is a free service, and should be utilised as early as possible if parents have concerns about their children’s speech.

Erin Hall is the Supported Playgroup Development Worker for Gwydir Shire Council; her role is to oversee the establishment and ongoing development of Playgroups in the Shire. Erin believes these services are vital for creating strong and vibrant communities.

“I have been working within Childrens’ Services for the Gwydir Shire Council for eleven years and have seen the Playgroups develop and grow. Many families find real value in attending these services, not only for the information sessions we hold on a variety of topics from healthy eating to the importance of play and developmental milestones, but also as a way of connecting with other parents and sharing their parenting experiences” said Erin.

“For many parents, particularly those on the land, Playgroup is the one opportunity all week to interact with other adults, which is really important for the mental health and wellbeing of the parent. It is also a great opportunity for the children to play with other children, enhancing crucial social, creative and pretend play skills”.

The Bingara Preschool and Toy Library members were very excited to welcome the dynamic Costa Georgiadis, presenter of ABC’s “Gardening Australia”, who recently spent time with them in the garden, passing on his love of horticulture and healthy eating.

Later in the month the children were visited by Matthew Middleton of BeeZotted, who extracted the honey from the Preschool’s native beehive and spoke about keeping native bees and their importance in the production of food.

Toy Library families also had the opportunity to participate in First Aid training followed by a BBQ.

Tania Brennan, Coordinator of the Bingara Toy Library said “We are able to offer services to families that they may otherwise be unable to access due to financial restraints or distance. I really believe we are making a positive difference to the lives of families in the Shire and through education and early intervention we are helping to create a healthier and happier community”.

In Gravesend, Playgroup families were lucky enough to participate in a very important community event, the opening of the village Fire Brigade. This event was enthusiastically supported by the children who were then lucky enough to be shown through the truck, providing a wonderful opportunity to grab some happy snaps.

“Gwydir Shire Council is strongly committed to developing an environment that supports children to reach their full potential. As a team we encourage and support families to embrace their role in raising happy and healthy children”, said Suzanne Webber, Manager of Social Services for Gwydir Shire Council.

The Childrens’ Services provided by Council include Warialda Toy Library and Playgroup, Bingara Preschool, Toy Library and Playgroup, Gravesend Playgroup, Vacation Care and Tharawonga Mobile Resource Unit, which services the small villages in the north of the Shire.

For more information on any of the services mentioned please contact Council on 02 6724 2000.