Partnering for progress: Royal Far West’s impact with Country to Coast Funding in Qld

Building strong foundations with occupational therapy and speech pathology support

Royal Far West’s Schools and Early Years team had a successful week in Queensland recently, visiting kindergartens from Gladstone to Bundaberg, and Hervey Bay. The visits provided comprehensive support and services to early childhood centres and communities in need, made possible through the generous funding from Country to Coast, QLD (CCQ).

Country to Coast, QLD (CCQ) funds critical components of our early intervention program, including occupational therapy and speech pathology services. The aim of this program is to identify children who might need support before school and provide timely intervention services. Additionally, it includes instruction for early childhood staff to better support children with additional needs, empowering them with training and resources to enhance their capacity in providing inclusive care.

During these visits, our team engaged in a variety of activities, providing screeners, conducting observations, and holding consultations with staff, parents and carers. This hands-on approach allowed us to be immersed in the child’s environment, fostering deeper connections and building trust with both the children and their caregivers.

The impact of these interactions has been profound. Not only have we seen improvements in the targeted children’s engagement with learning, but we’ve also witnessed positive effects on other children who are on waiting lists for specialist services. Our teams resources – such as handouts, homework for children accessing telehealth sessions, and links to helpful sites for teachers and parents – have proven invaluable in supporting a holistic approach to early childhood development.

Our dedicated multidisciplinary team, comprising of speech and occupational therapy professionals are working tirelessly to support kindergartens and long day care centres across Queensland. This team is funded by Country to Coast, QLD (CCQ), whose generous support enables us to provide consistent and high-quality services to educators and children alike.

One of the key benefits of having a dedicated team is the continuity of care it brings. Educators at the centres work closely with the same clinicians over time, both in-community and through telehealth-enabled activities. This approach not only ensures seamless care but also fosters strong relationships between our team, educators, children, parents and carers.

Since implementing this model, we’ve observed a remarkable increase in referrals from kindergartens, higher levels of engagement from educators, and a deeper level of service provision. This collaborative effort, fuelled by the support of Country to Coast, QLD (CCQ), has not only improved outcomes for children with additional needs but has also enhanced the overall quality of early childhood education in the region.

As we reflect on our visit and the impact we’ve made, we’re inspired to continue pushing boundaries, advocating for early childhood support and empowering communities across Queensland.

It has not only improved the targeted children's engagement with learning but also other children who are on waiting lists locally to access specialists' services i.e. the resources provided by RFW specialists (handouts, homework for children accessing the telehealth sessions) and links to sites to help teachers and parents.

Early childhood educator