The Five Big Ideas Program for preschools teaches young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children aged 3-5 years about personal hygiene, basic health care and simple nutrition. The program is culturally appropriate and encased in local Aboriginal culture with the purpose of not only educating, but also healing. It is formed by collaboration with preschools and specialists from Gunawirra.
Aboriginal people have significantly poorer health outcomes across the whole life-cycle compared with non-Aboriginal Australians. It is crucial to work with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children to empower future generations to live healthy and prosperous lives.
Research and Evaluation
We undertake qualitative research using questionnaires for teachers and parents on changes seen in children’s behaviour before and after the program. Teachers at the preschool evaluate the program on a weekly basis and on completion engage in “informal” interviews with the mothers of the children.
These include a questionnaire to specialists – preschool teachers, nutritionists, social workers, a graduate Aboriginal culture specialist, and child puppeteers. Each person reports to Gunawirra and the preschool teachers so that we can modify the program where needed and identify improvements against our projected outcomes. A research specialist then analyses and presents the findings.
We have also commissioned Professor Jane Usher from the Health Research Unit of the University of Western Sydney to formally review the program’s effectiveness.
- Children learning self-respect and empowerment through improved life skills
- Improvements in emotional health and self confidence
- Marked improvements in relationships with peers, family, teachers and community
- Renewing parents’ interest and commitment to their children’s education through parental involvement
- Across the board reduction in Indigenous trauma and abuse
For further information about the programs or to make a referral, please contact us .