About A Smart Start

A Smart Start in Cranbrook/Frankland River is a locally run initiative to support families with children aged 0-4 within the Shire of Cranbrook.

It aims to provide these families with ongoing support, resources, information and increased access to services to empower parents and assist them in providing an optimal learning environment for their children.

Generously funded by the Shire of Cranbrook, A Smart Start is facilitated by a local Early Years Coordinator who is employed and supported by YMCAWA. This unique program delivers a variety of opportunities for families to access information and services, with the ultimate goal of creating a supportive and engaged community.

Services we provide include free information sessions run by health professionals on a range of topics including:

  • First Aid
  • Parenting
  • Healthy eating
  • Physical development
  • Mental health

At the core of our service is the provision of information resources that are specifically targeted at the different stages of your child’s development. Booklets and posters are provided at birth, 6 months, 12 months, 18 months, 2 years and 3 years of age.

In addition, age appropriate reading books are given to your child on each birthday until 4 years old.

To enrol in this wonderful free service, please contact our Early Years Coordinator by email or by phoning 0447 008 084. We look forward to partnering with you in the early years of your parenting journey.

Program Overview

A Smart Start is an innovative initiative that is designed to support you in your role as a parent and your child’s first teacher in the years before school. These are the most important years for raising strong, healthy children.

All families of new babies are invited to participate in A Smart Start soon after the birth of their child. New families to the community can also register for A Smart Start through the local library, playgroup, community referrals, special events, or directly at their local A Smart Start office. Child Health Nurses can also introduce families to A Smart Start and provide them with registration details and their first information pack. Thereafter, contact is maintained with you through the Early Years Coordinator in Cranbrook who will deliver handbook updates, provide information on professional services as well as age appropriate books for your child on their birthday.

The primary aim of A Smart Start is to promote and support early learning experiences and provide resources to maximise children’s learning potential.

By joining A Smart Start you will be given

  • Information on your child’s development to help you watch your baby grow strong, and know what to do.
  • A fridge magnet with local contact numbers so that you can get help when you need it.
  • Birthday books until your child is four years old so that you can read to your child every day and help them learn.
  • Invitations to informal, interactive information sessions to create belonging and a sense of being connected to your community.

Parent Handbooks

At the core of A Smart Start is a series of six handbooks and posters, delivered to you by the Early Years Coordinator in intervals that match the follow age groups:

  • Birth – 6 months
  • 6 – 12 months
  • 12 – 18 months
  • 18 – 24 months
  • 2 – 3 years
  • 3 – 4 years

Each handbook has been divided into three content areas:

1. Your Child’s Development & Health
Families receive information on developmental health checks, immunisation schedules, common health concerns and milestones in all domains of a child’s development.

2. Family Life
The richness of family life is brought to life with information on bringing baby home for the first time, developing healthy routines around sleep and eating, behaviour guidance, safety within the home and school readiness.

3. Connected Communities
Connected communities achieve better outcomes for children. In this section information on child/family friendly activities, contact numbers for local professionals and groups, and national contacts numbers and website addresses is provided.

Parenting Workshops

A Smart Start coordinates various sessions per year in response to identified topics and areas of need. The Early Years Coordinator works collaboratively with local health services and volunteers to consult with families on topics for these sessions. Every school term A Smart Start will invite you to attend one of the sessions in your community which is facilitated by a qualified health professional. The sessions are opportunities for you to meet other families and o learn new information about parenting. Each session is delivered according to community needs, so please feel free to get in touch to talk about upcoming events and topics.

Some topics for discussion include:

  • First Aid Information Session – babies and toddlers
  • Meet the Child Health Professionals
  • School readiness – when and what you need to know
  • How to choose and use good books for your kids
  • Caring for your children’s teeth
  • Healthy little body, with a dietician – healthy eating and food issues
  • Toilet training and bedwetting
  • Sleep issues, with Ngala
  • Temper tantrums and other dilemmas
  • Sibling rivalry
  • Protective behaviour

Contact us at A Smart Start to talk about another topic you would like to include on the list or see in your community.

Child Health Services

Through A Smart Start, parents meet their local child health professionals, including teachers, speech pathologists, physiotherapists, psychologists and dentists. Please find below some helpful descriptions about what to expect from your local child health services.

Administers hearing tests and helps to determine a hearing problem.

Child Health Nurse
Gives information and support related to the health, development and behaviour of babies and young children. They home visit and see families in child health centres, parenting groups and other community venues.

Occupational Therapist
Works to improve children’s play, fine motor skills and coordination (drawing & writing).

Paediatrician or Medical Officer
Assesses children for developmental delays or difficulties and will discuss any concerns you may have.

Develops programs for children to improve their physical abilities, gross motor skills and coordination (crawling & walking).

Speech Pathologist
Works with children and their families to improve children’s abilities to use and understand speech.

Enrol now

A Smart Start is currently delivered in communities throughout the Great Southern. If you live in the Great Southern and would like to register in the initiative please contact the coordination office closest to you here.

If you are interested in joining the A Smart Start community in Cranbrook & Frankland River, please contact the Early Years Coordinator by email or by phoning 0447 008 084.

YMCA WA is working on attracting funding to deliver A Smart Start in other regional areas of WA – if you would like to have A Smart Start in your community please contact us at YMCA WA .