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

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Menzies School of Health Research

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21 pages : colour illustrations ; 30 cm.

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9781922104021; 9781922104038

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Check within Publication or with content Publisher.

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8 Lets Start Parent Child Program 1. What is Lets Start? 1.1 A brief history of the project The Tiwi Health Board implemented the Exploring Together Program on the Tiwi Islands from 1999-2004 as part of its response to concerns about the dramatic rise in suicides and about the quality of parenting in families under stress. The program had the name, Ngaripirligaajirri, which means Clearing a path for the future. It worked with children aged from 6-11 years and their parents in the three Tiwi primary schools. Over the first 3 years, around 60 children completed the program with their parents. The evaluation described strong improvements in childrens behaviour at school and at home (Robinson & Tyler, 2006). Equally importantly, this first phase of the programs development provided many lessons in effective engagement with Tiwi parents and children; in how to understand both childrens behaviour and styles of parenting in the context of Tiwi family relationships, and how to train team members to guide group work for Indigenous parents and children. After the success of Ngaripirligaajirri, the next stage was implemented for younger children from 4-6 years. This program was named, Lets Start: Exploring Together for Indigenous Preschools, and was run from 2006-2010. It was widened in reach to include both Tiwi schools and schools in Darwin and Palmerston. By the end of 2009, Lets Start had been delivered at over 7 sites, including the Tiwi Islands, Darwin, Palmerston, Jabiru and Palumpa (Nganmarriyanga), with over 40 schools referring children to the program at different times. Based on ten years of experience delivering and evaluating Ngaripirligaajirri and Lets Start: Exploring Together (Robinson & Tyler, 2006; Robinson et al, 2009), the program has been adapted and redeveloped as the Lets Start Parent-Child Program. A new manual has been produced to support the updated program, including background and rationale, detailed instructions on implementation, information and resources on building relationships within communities, and an overview of the training for Lets Start group leaders. 1.2 How the Program is Run The Lets Start aim is for all parents to take pleasure in their children, to enjoy being with them and to feel able to help them to learn and to explore their world. What is unique about Lets Start? 1. Lets Start is committed to community engagement and partnership 2. It is a therapeutically oriented group program which supports childrens social-emotional development during the transition to school 3. It is a parenting program that has been adapted for Indigenous families and developed for delivery in remote and urban communities 4. It has a unique structure with both a parent-child group and a parent group 5. It provides for development of skills for parents and children 6. It integrates systemic, attachment-based and behavioural approaches 7. It uses expressive techniques (songs, games, drawing, stories, role plays) 8. There is evidence of its effectiveness: Lets Start works Weekly sessions Lets Start consists of weekly two hour sessions over ten weeks of a school term. These are delivered by two professionally trained group leaders who work with two or more group leaders from the local community. Five to eight children participate in each group program, attending with one parent. The weekly sessions run for two and a half hours, starting with a Parents group for one hour, followed by a Parent-child interactive group. Children are picked up from school or preschool classes and brought to the program for this second hour. Sessions end with a shared meal and children are either returned to class or go home with their parent. In the Parents Group, Lets Start helps parents to develop their strengths and capacities in managing childrens behaviour by promoting reflection on their childrens needs. Lets Start builds parents awareness of their importance to their