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Let's Start: Exploring Together - an early intervention program for Northern Territory children and families

Multiculturalism Social inclusion Culture Gender gap Australia Northern Territory

The Let’s Start project was a trial to implement the Exploring Together Preschool Program (ETPP) in the Northern Territory (NT) for managing behaviour problems in Indigenous and other children.

Children from four to six years old whose behaviour was a concern were referred to Let’s Start by teachers or other practitioners or by family members themselves. Program duration was 10 weeks (including an introductory session and a concluding session, so that 8 weeks were dedicated to core program content) and the program was run over a school term to avoid disruption by holidays. Five to seven children participated in a program, each with a parent, attending one weekly two-hour group session in which the first hour was given over to parent-child interaction and the second hour to separate parents’ and children’s groups. 
The ETPP was adapted to facilitate engagement of Indigenous parents and children in diverse contexts. Limited adaptation of program content was undertaken, to focus on developmental needs of Indigenous children and the concerns and understandings of their parents. The structure was flexible enough to allow for modifying content without abandoning the core focus of the three main intervention elements: 
1. Parents and children guided in a program of constructive interaction. 
2. Parents confidentially discussing strategies for managing their children’s behaviour and conflicts and stresses within their families. 
3. Children helped to develop social skills through facilitated play. 
The program remained essentially the same in all contexts, but, importantly, was shown to provide a framework responsive to specific contexts and cultures. 

Authors: Gary Robinson, Stephen R. Zubrick, Sven Silburn, Anita D’Aprano, William Tyler, Kate McGuinness, Yomei Jones, Carmen Cubillo, Morag Bell and Carolin Stock.

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