Sandcastles Early Education Centre is a finalist in the 2018 HESTA Early Childhood Education & Care Awards' Building Inclusion category.
The centre was recognised for connecting Aboriginal families to healthcare services by arranging for agencies to provide in-house health care consultations and appointments.
The team at Sandcastles developed the initiative after they identified that a lack of health care providers in the local area was having a negative impact on health outcomes of the Aboriginal families attending their centre. Liaising with agencies, the centre arranged for services like speech therapy, occupational therapy, vision tests, as well as child behaviour assessments to come directly to them. In addition to this Sandcastles also employed an Aboriginal Support Officer to help them better connect and support Aboriginal families attending their centre, as well as assist in embedding the Aboriginal culture into their curriculum.
These strategies have enabled the centre to remove some of the barriers Aboriginal people experience when accessing healthcare in addition to fostering greater connection and engagement between their services and the local community.