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Early Parenting Education to Strengthen Aboriginal Parents in a Remote Area: The Development and Piloting of a Group Programme

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  19 September 2016

Rebekah Grace*
Children and Families Research Centre, Department of Educational Studies. Macquarie University, NSW, Australia
Jennifer Bowes
Children and Families Research Centre, Department of Educational Studies. Macquarie University, NSW, Australia
Judith McKay-Tempest
Children and Families Research Centre, Department of Educational Studies. Macquarie University, NSW, Australia
Jodi Burnstein
Barnardos Australia, 60-64 Bay St. Ultimo NSW 2007
Sue Tregeagle
Barnardos Australia, 60-64 Bay St. Ultimo NSW 2007 Faculty of Education and Social Work, University of Sydney, Australia
ADDRESS FOR CORRESPONDENCE: Dr Rebekah Grace, Children and Families Research Centre, Department of Educational Studies, Macquarie UniversityNSW 2109, Australia. E-mail:


In this article, the authors describe the development, piloting and evaluation of a parenting programme delivered to Aboriginal families of young children in remote NSW. The parenting programme was based on Parents as Teachers, an evidence-based early intervention and prevention home visiting programme that draws on child development theory, and was developed in collaboration with representatives from the local Aboriginal community. The impetus for the programme came from concern about the poor early learning and child wellbeing indicators in this community, pointing to the need for early parenting support that could be effectively delivered by trained Aboriginal workers in a remote area where early childhood resources were very limited. The sessions, implemented within a group setting, were structured and intensive. Six topics identified as being most important to parents of children aged from birth to 18 months, and six topics for parents of children aged from 18 months to 3 years were presented, with three sessions developed for each topic. An evaluation of the programme to date revealed that parent satisfaction with the programme was very high, as were reports of increased knowledge of child development and parenting skills, and increased connection with other families. Aboriginal staff valued the structured programme and resources that were developed. They reported increased knowledge of child development and how to run groups effectively, and observed positive changes in the participating families.

Copyright © The Author(s) 2016 

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