Let me introduce you to Liz and her children Sally and Tom.
Liz has been contemplating her return to work. In sharing the family load, she knows that the time has come for her to re-engage with one of the two primary employers in the district, the local mine or hospital. Liz is excited, but shudders to think how the family will manage the early drop-offs and late pick-ups from childcare given the long shifts on offer. A drive to Bendigo at the beginning and end of each day is almost too much to contemplate as it would add more than an hour each way to a very long day.
But then Liz remembers Bunbunarik.
Liz remembers the warm welcome and inviting environment that greeted her from the moment she stepped into Bunbunarik.
Liz had first come across the Heathcote Community Children’s Services Association through the gift of a book for her new babies and was thrilled to discover that there were people all around the Heathcote community who were keen to help her navigate the often, isolated world as a young mum.
Liz’s first trip to Bunbunarik occurred because she was able to bring Tom in to see the Maternal Health Nurse in the purpose-built consulting room.
This was a big change from the day long hike into Bendigo for Sally’s early childhood consultations. This was also the place in which the nurse was able to contact a specialist via Telehealth in Bendigo when Sally developed croup and needed expert care.
An added benefit arose when Liz met the Minister from St John’s Church whose room is next door to the consulting room. The Minister recognised how worn out and dispirited she was and was able to listen, share a story and then link Liz up with appropriate support services.
Much of the interaction that Liz, Sally and Tom came to enjoy occurred across the hall in the large community room and sensory playground. Liz met with other young mothers in this space in a facilitated playgroup, and Sally and Tom were able to develop their social skills and have a lot of fun in the process. Not only did they make friends with other young children but were able to be enriched and in turn, enrich the lives of older Heathcote locals as part of the Intergenerational Play Program.
Dropping off the kids
When the time came for Liz to choose child care, it was only natural that Bunbunarik was the place. Not only was it local and accessible, it was staffed by people Liz had grown to know and Sally and Tom had learned to trust. So as Liz moved through reception into Jenny’s ELC to drop Sally and Tom off for their first day she did so knowing, that they would find a stimulating, safe and happy place. That there would be volunteers from the community on staff, new friends for Sally and Tom to make and even a fruit and veggie garden in the sensory playground that they explore and grow vegetables.