Playgroups & Groups
Baby Toddler Playgroup
Children up to the age of three enrolled in Early Connections – Port Macquarie & Hastings and their families can attend a fortnightly playgroup run by an Early Childhood Special Education Teacher, Speech Pathologist and Special Education Assistant. Specialized equipment and toys are provided and families are encouraged to build networks and gain ideas on how to help their child develop skills.
Early Support Playgroup
Children who are enrolled in Early Connections – Port Macquarie & Hastings and have significant behaviour and social difficulties and/or a recent diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder can attend this support playgroup. It includes regular parent education sessions on how to manage the unique difficulties the families are facing.
An Early Childhood Special Education Teacher, Speech Pathologist, Occupational Therapist and Special Education Assistant facilitate the group. Families are encouraged to build a support network and learn strategies to help their child.
We have a community playgroup on Tuesday and Thursday mornings at our centre that all our families and members of the community are welcome to attend. The purpose of the playgroups is to provide opportunities for children and parents to interact with others.
School Readiness Group
Children enrolled at Early Connections – Port Macquarie & Hastings, who will be attending school the following year, are able to purchase an 8 week block of 2 hour weekly school readiness groups. It is run by an Early Childhood Special Education Teacher, Special Education Assistant and Speech Pathologist or Occupational Therapist. The group is structured to simulate a condensed school day and the children are supported in learning vital school readiness skills.
Small therapy groups
We also provide various opportunities for families to purchase small group therapy for their child. These groups may focus on fine motor development, social skills, emotions, gross motor development, etc.
Education & Training
Early Connections – Port Macquarie & Hastings provides education and training for the following:
- parents and carers.
- preschool teachers and child care workers.
- community members.
Education and training that has been provided in the past has included:
- Speech Pathologist & Early Childhood Special Educator inservices at the program’s centre.
- Arrangement of external specialist speakers such as Dr. Tony Attwood.
- Dissemination of information regarding inservices provided by other agencies and professionals.
Past topics of education and training have included:
- Managing challenging behaviours with visual supports.
- Early language development.
- Supporting siblings in families.
- Sensory issues and developing motor skills.
- What is autism?
- Key word signing.
See the ‘Events’ section of this website for information about current education and training opportunities.