‘You’re Not Alone’ | The Salvation Army

‘You’re Not Alone’

1000 Reasons Why your Support is so Important

See how your support ensures families receive the support they need to get the best possible Early Childhood Support.

There is so much a parent wants to provide their children and so many contributing factors as to whether this is possible. Helen Armstrong, National Coordinator of Early Childhood Education provides some great insights into this vital developmental space and the approach that The Salvation Army is taking to help Kiwi whānau provide the best outcomes.

‘In an ideal world, Early Childhood Education would be affordable and available to all children to get the best start in life … sadly the reality is the provision of ECE in New Zealand is fast becoming profit driven, with quality of care being the victim.’

The Salvation Army ECE programme is committed to providing services which are people-focused and committed to making positive differences for children and their families. We operate on a best-practice model with smaller child–teacher ratios. 

The relationship connects teacher and child at a critical part of their foundational journey. It also allows us to connect with parents and assist them with other needs through our wraparound services. These include practical support of food parcels, provision of child car seats, personal support of counselling, parenting programmes and financial mentoring.

‘What we see is that families get the support they need; and they don’t feel left to do everything alone. Some children have diverse needs which can lead to a family struggling, and not knowing what to do. Our ECE centre staff can provide advice and guidance, as well as connect families with the appropriate professional support. For example, a child identified with speech language concerns could then be connected with a speech language therapist. Our centre staff also partner with parents on strategies going forward.

‘While it’s different for every child and their family, one recent example involving a refugee family comes to mind. They were a little adrift being in a new country, culture and language and lacking traditional family support. Their child came to one of our ECE centres and through this, we became part of the family and they gained a greater sense of belonging. With her young child at the ECE centre, the mother was able to look for a job and the family were more economically secure.’

Parents and children with supportive whānau, as a collective unit, will provide greater positive outcomes and have maximum benefit in those most important first 1000 days.

Children are resilient and amazing humans. But we know that the impact of what their environment is in those first 1000 days is vital, not only to brain development but to their future lives. The evidence is unquestionable that children who receive a highly nurtured, secure, positive environment with good nutrition and a loving environment will see their brains open to learning and growth.

Conversely, those who are exposed to highly stressful, vulnerable environments without learning and social interaction are more likely to struggle in life and repeat that cycle as they become parents themselves.

The Salvation Army’s 1000 Days Appeal recognises both the vital period of the first 1000 days of a child’s life, but also acknowledges the support that is provided to families over 1000 days to have a profound and positive impact on the family unit. The Salvation Army does not turn away families who are struggling to pay fees. We embrace those families to ensure that they know ‘they are not alone’ to provide the best of care and all the support needed to help the whānau make a transformational change for the better. 

Salvation Army supporters can be assured that wraparound care is having significant impacts on peoples’ lives, and is also helping shape the lives of the next kiwi generation.