We are a Child and Youth Friendly City

Child-Friendly Communities

Our vision is that all members of the community understand the different ways they can support children to reach their full potential. A child friendly community is a community that benefits everyone. This is because child friendly community initiatives impact positively on child development and adult health and vitality.

Urban spaces, services and recreation programs that have been designed in response to what children say they want best meet the needs of children.  Universally children tell us they want to go to places where they can play and have fun. Play is a biological urge for children – play drives children’s learning and development. A community that responds to children’s need for play also supports parents and carers because they feel welcome.

Communities that promote physical activity, healthy food choices and literacy also support children’s development and adult wellbeing. Because our children grow up in the Blue Mountains National Park they all have access to pristine play environments – wide open grassy spaces, rocks and streams, trees to climb and bush trails to explore.

The Child and Family Plan provides a common focus for everyone to create a child-friendly city where:

  • Learning is supported and valued from birth
  • The community supports children and their families
  • The built environment and public spaces are child and family friendly

Download Child and Family Plan: Part C: Creating a Child-Friendly Community

The Paint the Blue Read Program provides a community-based early literacy program so that children begin school ready to learn to read. The program brings fun and colourful reading events to local businesses, festivals, market days, schools and early childhood services.

Our Initiatives for a Child Friendly Community

To start or align an initiative or project in this area, or to join this group, contact us by phone at 612 4780 5462 or +61 418 375 344 or via email at pdarvall@bmcc.nsw.gov.au.

Bush Trackers Project

The Bush Trackers project gets children and their families into the Blue Mountains National Park through innovative child consultation approaches and the production of online and printed child friendly bush walking maps.

A Bush Trackers Website has recently been launched and maps recently completed for Blackheath, Winmalee, Lawson and Katoomba.

A distribution system is now in place. Go to your nearest National Parks Office to purchase or download an order form by clicking here.

Wholesale rate available for community groups selling maps for fundraising.

Contact: Jacqueline Reid, National Parks and Wildlife, (02) 4784-7326.

Blackheath and Hazelbrook child friendly community consultation

The project involving the communities of Blackheath and Hazelbrook kicked off in term 2 with children’s consultations about what makes their community child friendly with Blackheath Public school students. Consultations with Hazelbrook PS students will happen in term 3. The consultations will inform a future Stronger Families Alliance public communication campaign and drive community development strategies in Blackheath and Hazelbrook.

Contact: Jo Davies, Blackheath Area Neighbourhood Centre, (02) 4787-7770 or Lyn Bevington, Mountains Outreach Community Service (02) 4758-6811.

Paint the Blue Read Program

(PTBR) is an early learning initiative of the Blue Mountains Stronger Families Alliance and is auspiced by Mountains Outreach Community Service (MOCS). PTBR began in 2008 as a collaborative working party of early childhood teachers, librarians, community workers, bookshop staff, Rotarians and community members. We meet regularly to plan, promote and carry out activities and programs that encourage early literacy throughout the Blue Mountains.

The aim is to encourage all levels of the community to support Blue Mountains children’s early learning from birth and to make this lots of fun for everyone! We have a blue and red logo and two blue and red mascots called Billie (girl) and Billy (boy) Booksie.  The big, cuddly mascots make guest appearances throughout the Blue Mountains wherever children are gathering for stories, rhymes, picturebooks and songs – at Early Childhood Centres, Playgroups, local festivals and more.

Regular early learning activities include:

  • Annual Reading Week: held in the Blue Mountains between 16-20 June 2014 in the week leading up to the Winter Magic parade. Many villages hold community story reading for under 5’s – in shops, schools, cafes even the fire station!
  • Winter Magic Festival Storytime: Held annually at the end of Reading Week on Saturday 21st June 2014 in Katoomba. Appearances by the Booksies,  rhymes, story-reading and special Winter Magic story telling.
  • Fortnightly story sessions in Leura shops: Local businesses have caught the reading bug!
  • Monthly story reading at Glenbrook Rotary Markets: Check out the giant book worm and cosy reading tent. 3rd Saturday of the month at Glenbrook Public School.

Find out more about where the Booksies are appearing and information about early literacy on our Facebook page Blue Mountains Early Learning – incorporating Paint the Blue Read at https://www.facebook.com/PaintBlueREaD?ref=hl

If you would like to join the working party or book a Booksie to come to an event you are running, contact Mountains Outreach Community Service (MOCS): (02) 4758-6811.