City of Wanneroo adopts Early Childhood Strategy Plan


Joanne Donnelly (Warwick) with Frederick (3) and Archie (4). Picture: Martin Kennealey d472937
Joanne Donnelly (Warwick) with Frederick (3) and Archie (4). Picture: Martin Kennealey d472937

THERE will be more than 25,000 children aged up to five in the City of Wanneroo by 2021.

The council recently adopted the City’s Early Childhood Strategic Plan and revised early childhood policy, which cater for the City’s youngest residents.

“The City of Wanneroo is widely recognised as a leader in facilitating effective, evidence based early childhood initiatives for its community,” the October council report said.

“This plan emphasises the need for the City to continue to work collaboratively with our partners and the community so that children in their formative years are provided with opportunities to be healthy and socially, emotionally and cognitively prepared for success in school and life.”

The plan said the City had the second highest birth rate in the metropolitan area with 2979 babies born in 2015.

It highlighted actions such as the It’s All About Play program, ECU’s ‘pregnancy to parenthood’ perinatal and infant mental health service, child and adolescent community health clinics and Playgroup WA.

“The City’s Australian Early Development Census results in 2015 showed that there was a 3.8 per cent decrease in children who were developmentally vulnerable in one or more domains since the results in 2012,” it said.

Mayor Tracey Roberts said since the first plan was released in 2014, census results showed children’s vulnerability had dropped and the City hoped the trend would continue.

“Strong partnerships over the past three years have ensured an integrated approach to planning, delivery and review of services and supports within our community,” she said.

“These partnerships continue to drive our work, which will be home to over 25,000 children aged zero to five years by 2021.”

The report said the plan was guided by local demographics, results from the census and community aspirations.

“It is in a child’s first five years that their physical, emotional and cognitive skills develop at a faster rate than at any other stage of life,” it said.

“Facilitating the health and wellbeing of the next generation of our community will cultivate a skilled workforce and healthy, engaged citizens to meet the economic and social challenges of the future.”

The plan said the City supported initiatives that promoted healthy eating, physical activity and good mental health, as well as giving parents opportunities to build their skills.

One of the priorities was that “families have access to high quality early learning programs and services that are affordable and culturally competent for those who require them”.

The policy said the City had a responsibility to respond to the census findings by establishing community-driven early childhood initiatives.

“The City plays a key role in providing advocacy, advice and facilitation for community-based early childhood initiatives that are universally accessible,” it said.

“This policy aims to support and stimulate community members and groups as well as other agencies to create their own community responses that contribute to a supportive environment for children.

“The City’s role is to facilitate and promote early childhood initiatives that are sustainability managed by and for the community, rather than directly funding community groups or agencies in delivering services.”

The next review is due in August 2020.

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