Glencore’s community investment program is about creating long term change by building capacity in the communities in which they operate.
One way they are accomplishing this change is through their partnership with Royal Far West to deliver Early Intervention Services to designated kindergartens in the rural areas of Springsure, Clermont and Collinsville in Queensland.
Back in 2017, Glencore recognised the lack of access to paediatric allied health resources in the disciplines of Speech Pathology and Occupational Therapy and partnered with Royal Far West to introduce a program that would have a significant impact on the communities they are involved in by focusing on early intervention for children who struggle with early language and development. Often developmental issues are hard to detect in children, and one in five children across Australia start school with developmental challenges. Healthy development is the foundation through which children succeed at school and life.
In March we were excited to visit the kindies and their communities. The visit provided us with a wider perspective and deeper understanding of kindy/community needs, and we were able to provide direct support and clinical knowledge to the staff, children, and parents. We dedicated each day to a specific kindy to maximise the opportunity and deliver a full suite of services.
The reception from the kindy staff was welcoming and open. They were keen to learn new strategies and gain knowledge in emotional management and language development, as well as share the strategies that they currently employ. Their passion for the children was evident in their level of interest and the excitement they expressed when they shared the progress the children have made from their therapy.
One Director stated that even though she had only been with the kindy for four months, she was amazed at the improvement one child had made in their language development from one term of therapy. Another staff member stated that she felt “empowered” by the associated skill training.
Our goal for the next year, in addition to providing more direct therapy, is to increase the knowledge, skills, and abilities of staff to gain strategies in emotional development and early language development. In addition, we now understand the need for further consultation to discuss theoretic and specific kindy scenarios to support staff and their direct concerns and/or issues.
Glencore has been consistent with its dedication to these kindergartens and flexible in adjusting to their needs. The impact of this partnership to these remote communities is growing, and we look forward to continuing the project and increasing positive outcomes for the children, their families, the kindy staff and their communities.