Bicultural Support Service assistant Nandini Bhakta (left) with cultural support workers, Gladstone Inclusion Support Agency’s Sue Newsome (back right) and Multicultural Development Association’s Aydan Inal (front right).
Bicultural Support Service assistant Nandini Bhakta (left) with cultural support workers, Gladstone Inclusion Support Agency’s Sue Newsome (back right) and Multicultural Development Association’s Aydan Inal (front right). Submitted

Kids benefit from cultural team

A GROUP of women are helping to bridge the cultural divide in local childcare centres with the introduction of the Bicultural Support Service Gladstone Region.

Operating since April, the service has gained strong support from childcare centres across the Gladstone region that have children in their care hailing from different nations.

Local support for the program has impressed the service's assistant, Nandini Bhakta, who said several childcare centres were using the facility with repeat sessions already happening. She said this indicated the service was working.

“It has been doing very well and indicates the possibilities for a brilliant future,” Ms Bhakta said. “We have utilised the talents and enthusiasm of 10 ladies in town as support workers who understand the needs and backgrounds of the children.

“It's all about facilitating the happy integration of these families and children into mainstream life.”

Ms Bhakta said the aim of the free service was to help childcare services to include children from refugee and culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds into their programs.

She said this was achieved by providing specialised support to develop childcare services' capacity to include these children.

The Bicultural Support Service includes:

Assisting childcare staff to communicate with culturally diverse families and children.

Helping the child care service to understand the particular backgrounds, cultural experiences and child rearing practices of the children and families.

Providing childcare service staff to implement culturally appropriate practices.

Referring childcare staff to professional development and inclusion support resources.

Any Australian Government-approved childcare service can seek free bicultural support including long day care, outside school hours care, occasional care, in-home care, vacation care and family day care.



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