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

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Check within Publication or with content Publisher.

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12 Lets Start Parent Child Program Lets Start is a structured program that requires advanced skills to ensure delivery to high professional and ethical standards. Community organizations lack the resources and capacity to host such a program. Over the years, a model has been developed that overcomes the barriers to implementing such an approach in remote communities. The Lets Start team is based at the Centre for Child Development and Education at the Menzies School of Health Research in Darwin. The team consists of program coordinators who spend at least 3 days a week in the communities where programs are being delivered. Other team members travel to communities for one to two days each week to deliver the program, gather data or follow-up with families. Members of the local community work with the Menzies-based team. They enhance engagement of families with the program and help the external leaders to understand issues relating to culture and kinship, conflicts involving families and matters of community significance. A number of them are experienced early childhood workers in their own right. Few Aboriginal communities are linguistically homogeneous and the language of program delivery is local Aboriginal English. Language differences between group members and leaders are accommodated with the help of the local communitybased co-leaders who assist with the inclusion of songs and stories in local language. Groups are run with a flow in and out of variants of local language. The team is led by an anthropologist with many years experience of work in the Northern Territory and includes people with backgrounds in social work, allied health, early education and psychology along with Indigenous community members. A child and family psychiatrist acts as clinical consultant and is currently involved in program development, training and practice supervision. Program group leaders receive ongoing training and mentorship in the Lets Start approach. 1.4 Accessing Lets Start: Referral and Intake Lets Start is open to all children from 4 6 years In communities where Lets Start is delivered, the Lets Start team works with the school and health centre to inform families about the program. Parents of all children enrolled in preschool, transition or grade 1 are provided with information individually or in a Lets Start workshop and invited to attend Lets Start during the year. Parents, grandparents and other caregivers are encouraged to contact the team at any time for information about Lets Start. Many parents and grandparents approach the coordinator and team about joining the program. Referral by Schools and Agencies: Common problems at entry The Lets Start team works with community services, health centres and other agencies. Information and briefings are provided to practitioners at meetings and workshops and on request. Each school term, teachers at preschool Parents and children dont have to be experiencing problems to benefit from the Lets Start program: it enables all parents to learn from each other and to have time to think about their children while having fun with them. What is Lets Start?