Challis Early Childhood Centre
Photo Credit: Challis Early Childhood Centre.

Project

Challis Primary School Integrated Early Childhood and Family Support Service

A pathway from early childhood disadvantage for Australian children.

What is Challis?

This service provides targeted, light touch and long term, cumulative support commencing soon after birth and extending through the primary years to ensure more children start school ‘ready to learn’. The Challis Primary School Early Childhood Education Centre is a landmark model of early childhood and family service delivery which has demonstrated rapid and significant success.

Challis delivers an integrated early childhood and family service on a school site in one of Western Australia’s most disadvantaged metropolitan communities.

The purpose

The Challis model aims to prevent early disadvantage from becoming an ongoing drag on a person’s chances in life. The model meshes together a suite of multi-disciplinary services, including a Child Health Nurse, Allied Health Services and a Community Engagement Worker, and has initiated a high quality three-year-old program to address barriers to child development and reinforce the family and community support necessary to raise thriving kids.

Schools are ideal hubs for interlinked early years services.

The motivation

In the early years of our lives, our bodies establish all the internal ‘structures’ for subsequent development. If we can bolster and enhance the development of these structures for children, we can maximise physical, mental and social development for years to come.

The Challis model has enabled local children to go from a position of disadvantage to exceeding the state average at the start of their education, proving the importance of early intervention.

It has informed a number of policy initiatives, including the Western Australian State Government Child and Parent Centres and the Federal Government’s Connected Beginnings initiative, and provides a platform for ongoing Minderoo Foundation advocacy around effective early childhood investment.

Project members

jay-weatherill
Jay Weatherill
Chief Executive Officer, Thrive By Five
nina-derbyshire-1
Nina Derbyshire
Reporting & Impact Manager

Resources