Territory Stories

Let's start: a program for Territory parents and children



Let's start: a program for Territory parents and children

Other title

Let's Start parent child program


Robinson, Gary; Mares, Sarah; Jones, Yomei; Stock, Carolin; Hallenstein, Birgit; Branchut, Virginie


E-Publications; E-Books; PublicationNT




This paper describes the 'Let's Start' program for Aboriginal parents and children in the Northern Territory, including its context, rationale, and the evidence of its effectiveness. This program follows on from the 'Ngaripirliga'ajirri - Exploring Together Program' for school aged children in the Tiwi Islands, run from 1999-2004, and the 'Let's Start - Exploring Together for Indigenous Preschools' program for younger children in the Tiwi Islands as well as Darwin, which was run from 2006-2010. Based on this experience, the program has been adapted and redeveloped as the 'Let's Start Parent-Child Program'.; Made available via the Publications (Legal Deposit) Act 2004 (NT).


Centre for Child Development and Education, Menzies School of Health Research

Table of contents

Background -- Introduction -- What is Let's Start? -- Early intervention: context and rationale -- Conclusion: the Let's Start approach -- References.




Children, Aboriginal Australian; Services for; Parenting; Study and teaching

Publisher name

Menzies School of Health Research

Place of publication



21 pages : colour illustrations ; 30 cm.

File type



9781922104021; 9781922104038

Copyright owner

Check within Publication or with content Publisher.

Parent handle


Citation address


Page content

9Lets Start Parent Child Program C., Parent, 2011: Security means being held and not dropped. D., Parent, 2010: She used to have that cap pulled down over her eyes. After Lets Start, she doesnt wear it, we see her face! children by stimulating their curiosity about their childrens behaviour and factors that might influence childrens development. Parents own stories about children are used to explore these themes. Parenting doesnt happen in isolation: there is a focus on identifying strengths and resources in the parents family and social network. Relationships within the family may be a source of strength. However, they can also hinder a parent who is trying to deal with parenting or family challenges. A strategy of the parents group is to reflect on families, the childs and the parents presence in the family and the roles of other members, including relatives in other households who may be important sources of support for children and parents. It may be important to consider how to draw on family strengths and how to limit or channel some influences on childrens behaviour. The parents group provides a context for support for parents. It identifies common problems experienced by all, enabling parents to talk about their own problems without shame and guilt. Learning about the different experiences of others also helps individuals to think about their problems and challenges in a new way. The Interactive group involves parents and children joining together in a structured sequence of playbased activities. There is a focus on modelling behaviour management in a small group more typical of a classroom than at home. These structured group activities are fun. They provide the chance to deal with behavioural challenges and to discuss responses to childrens behaviour collaboratively while rewarding childrens efforts with fun and positive attention. For group leaders, the interactive group provides important opportunities to observe how parents and children sometimes miscue, that is, misread each others intentions, get angry or frustrated and show an inability to focus together on common tasks. The group leaders may then take gentle steps to direct a parents attention to some things she might not have noticed, to reinforce collaborative achievements with praise, to help a child to refocus when his parent is unsure how to get him involved. The group leaders subtly support the interaction between parent and child. Sometimes the frustrations and challenges, or the pleasure in doing a task well can be discussed with the parent in the next group. The interactive group supports parents directly without relying on talk. Themes running through the program 1. Thinking about our kids (understanding what kids need and why they do what they do). We draw out stories to illustrate childrens development, needs for exploration and needs for security through the many contexts of learning from early care at home through to school. What is Lets Start?