Rural and regional locations with limited internet access saw Corangamite Shire Mobile Child Care take a rather unique approach to tackling the Victorian Achievement Program.
Corangamite Shire Mobile Child Care is an early childhood education and care service designed to provide high quality childcare within Corangamite Shire’s rural communities. Mobile Child Care is a unique service and structured in a rural outreach style with services operating for short periods across the week. The services offer supportive early learning programs for children and families in community halls, kindergartens and community recreation reserve facilities.
Due to their rural locations, limited internet access was identified as a major barrier for Achievement Program participation. Health Promoters Laura Stevenson (Health Promotion Officer, Terang and Mortlake Health Service) and Alexandra Bell (Health Promotion Team Leader, South West Healthcare) worked in partnership with the Achievement Program to devise a practical solution. It was decided that developing a completely paper-based version of the program was the best way forward. This would allow services to participate without an internet connection.
In April 2019, Corangamite Shire Mobile Child Care officially signed up to the Achievement Program and committed to completing the ‘Mental Health and Wellbeing’ priority area’ priority area. “We printed all of the key documents and gifted each educator with a resource folder, these were very well received”, said Alexandra Bell.
Educators started the process by completing a paper-based version of the snapshot survey, then the baseline survey. Laura Stevenson explained, “from there, we supported Corangamite Shire to incorporate their areas of improvement into their Quality Improvement Plans and supported each site to implement those actions”. Once completed, educators assembled their evidence in a Word document report.
In early October 2020, Corangamite Shire Mobile Child Care was officially awarded Victorian Government recognition recognition for their work in the mental health and wellbeing space. The educators are particularly proud of the way they have prioritised the mental health and wellbeing of their communities during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Each service is going ‘above and beyond’ with checking in with families as well as offering additional support for those who need it.
“The educators really embraced the offline model, and we saw some fantastic results” said Alexandra Bell. “I’m really excited to build on these successes with their next health priority area”. If you’re a rurally located early childhood service, school or workplace and you have limited internet access, reach out to the Achievement Program and enquire about implementing an ‘offline’ model. For more details about the Achievement Program call 1300 721 682 or visit the website.
Laura from Terang and Mortlake Health Service and Alexandra from South West Healthcare are open to sharing their experience with other health promoters. If you would like to know more, please contact them.