PEEP – Parents Early Education Partnership – helps parents develop their parenting skills and increases their understanding of their children’s development. PEEP groups are for parents, carers and their children, from birth to kindergarten.
From birth to kindergarten
Each week about 90 Benalla families with 120 children sing, enjoy rhymes, read stories and have fun with activities that teach skills that will resonate throughout the children’s lives. The PEEP program is designed for preschool children of all ages.
PEEP responds to research findings that young children who are given lots of opportunities and support to explore, play, problem solve, read, sing and socialise in a group environment will be better prepared for life and learning.
PEEP was identified by Tomorrow Today and the Department of Early Education and Childhood Development as an ideal program for Benalla. So, in 2012, Tomorrow Today and Benalla Rural City were assisted by the Advancing Country Towns initiative to visit the UK city of Oxford, where PEEP was developed. UK trainers then came to Benalla to teach local providers.
When and where?
PEEP facilitated sessions run weekly during school terms, at the Tomorrow Today playroom in Nunn Street, Benalla. Sessions are age-based and places are limited; registration is essential. The Maternal & Child Health nurse links into the PEEP program.
Current PEEP Groups
- Intro Babies 0 – 8 months
- Older babies 9 – 12 months
- Multi-Age Children 0 – 5 years
To register for PEEP, call Tomorrow Today on 03 5762 1211.
Ready to learn
The aim of Tomorrow Today’s Early Years programs is to ensure all children in Benalla are ready to learn when they start school. Children who have attended a term or more of PEEP have:
- Capacity to sit longer during group activities (some could never have sat to listen to a story)
- Greater capacity to take turns and help others
- Heightened independence during activities, such as scraping paint brushes and putting on paint smocks
- Greater ability to make choices, such as choosing foods at morning tea and serving themselves
- Some children aged 3 ½ or older are now finding it easier to take direction during sessions.
Each PEEP session has a special ‘talk time’ where parents explore topics related to child development and parenting. The program also links families into local services and groups, as well as the wider community.
Professional visitors are often invited to sessions to provide information and advice for families, and there are regular social outings to local destinations like the Library, Aquatic Centre, Benalla Lake and the Botanical Gardens.
Importantly, PEEP groups have also lifted the mothers’ own educational aspirations. Mothers are reporting that PEEP skills are transferring to the home: children are eating well when given choices and are taking ownership of what they are eating. Parents are also engaging more meaningfully with their children thanks to PEEP providing recipes for playdough, paint and slime, and encouraging greater interest in books and reading.
These resources were collected to help us stay in touch with PEEP families during the COVID-19 lockdown. We are delighted to share them as tools for families to use at home, ongoing.