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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6 Lets Start Parent Child Program Introduction Early childhood is a period of rapid growth and change across physical, cognitive social, emotional and cultural domains. Developments during this time impact on a childs future health and learning and their capacity for relationships and social engagement. A significant challenge during the preschool period is the transition to school. School readiness and school attendance are affected by many interacting factors within the child and their family and social context. A familys capacity to support their child during this transition is crucial. There is a substantial body of evidence indicating the increased risk of poor developmental outcomes faced by many Aboriginal children, particularly those in remote community contexts, highlighting the need for interventions that are accessible and effective in addressing and ameliorating these risks for young Aboriginal children and their families. It is important that programs for Aboriginal parents and children acknowledge the distinctive and diverse nature of Aboriginal family relationships and values today. The Lets Start Parent-Child Project includes four components: 1. A therapeutically oriented group work program (the Lets Start Program) for children and families, which focuses on supporting childrens socialemotional development during the period of transition to school 2. A program of community and family engagement and a commitment to working in partnership 3. Training and professional development for group and community leaders 4. Research and evaluation Lets Start is fun. It uses play and expressive activities to engage parents and children, while promoting ongoing reflection about how they relate to each other. Lets Start is non-judgemental. It creates a secure environment that enables parents to reflect on the difficult sides of being a parent, of having a family, while learning to acknowledge their personal strengths and to enjoy being with their children. Evaluation of the program (Robinson et al, 2009) and learning from experience indicate that: Participation in Lets Start increased parental confidence and assertiveness and stronger parent-child relationships Participation in Lets Start led to significant improvement in childrens behaviour and social skills, as reported by teachers and parents, at program completion and at six month follow up Lets Start can support the transition to school for many children Lets Start helps build communication between teachers and parents Lets Start can support improvements in parental mental health Post-program follow-up can help parents to access other services Lets Start is the only parenting program delivered to Aboriginal children and families in a range of contexts, for which there is evidence of effectiveness. Lets Start is unique: it focuses directly on the parent-child relationship within a multi-group format that addresses parents and children both separately and together.