Project Sprouts, a Parkes community-led initiative, took a step onto the national stage this week.
Working party member Sherree Rosser did a 20-minute presentation at the Australian Early Development Census (AEDC) National Conference in collaboration with Project Sprouts Coordinator Fiona Francis.
“This is great progress for our project after its launch in October last year,” said Sherree. The conference was held online this week. Sherree pre-recorded her presentation and was live online on Tuesday for a ten-minute question session after her presentation.
The conference provided a forum for early intervention projects to share how they adapt, adjust and evolve services and policies to support children, families and communities. “I hope our project will inspire other communities to have a go at what we are doing here,” said Sherree.
The seeds for Project Sprouts were planted in 2018, when Royal Far West held a community meeting in Parkes to discuss the confronting findings from its ‘The Invisible Children’ report about the state of children’s developmental health in rural and remote Australia. The report used AEDC data showing that 22% of children in the Parkes Shire start school with on developmental delay. Determined that no child in Parkes would be an ‘Invisible Child’, Project Sprouts was formed.
Sherree said without the support of Roy-al Far West the project would not have been possible. Where no local services are available, Royal Far West is providing health and developmental screenings, as well as training to increase community understanding of child development.
Experts from Royal Far West will be in the Parkes Shire next week for some teach by modelling sessions for teachers and parents with children who need support. “During May we will have another week of assessments and screenings.” said Sherree.