Understanding your community

Understanding your community

Parental responses to a natural disaster influence their children’s response and recovery. Supporting parents therefore supports children. Set aside time to talk with parents about the experiences that their child and family have had.

As an early childhood service, you are part of the community. It is important to have resources ready for families when they are seeking further support. But remember you are the most important resource to families; your service provides consistency, stability and routine.

Supporting families

Children do as well as the adults around them | ECEC services are well positioned to support families | Importance of business as usual – create a safe space | Understanding what families/communities are going through

Aboriginal children and families

Craig Mashman, an Aboriginal Fire Fighter, talks about fire from an Indigenous perspective and the impacts experienced by families on his country

Helping families access resources

Working with families: Practical ideas for recovery | Understanding and connecting communities | Reaffirming community connections | Responding to families’ concerns being responsive

A case study from Coolah - NSW

Director Kristy Arnott, talks about 2017 bush fires near Coolah Preschool Kindergarten and how the service restored a sense of safety and security. Parent, Fiona Morse and educator perspective, Jo Morton are included in the case study.


Australian Association for Infant Mental Health (AAIMH)
AAIMH have a variety of resources for families affected by fire including links to resources useful for educators working with Infants.

Infant holding hand of an adult

The Department of Education and Training Victoria
Parents and bushfire safety has produced new 2020 information for parents with children returning to school and how to support your child. There are links to a parent hotline, emergency information, school closures and tips on supporting a child that is returning to school. ECEC services may use the website to the type of support they could provide families in their community. 

Boy wearing brown jumper, blue jeans and a red back pack walking away into distance

The Red Cross have developed information for parents and caregivers: Helping children and young people cope with a crisis, 20 page booklet.

It covers stress, trauma, loss and grief reactions for children and adults. Each age group is sectioned for easy access to information for children under 5.

Educators may be able to copy relevant sections of the booklet and distribute to parents as relevant.

Photo of Nanny and Granddaughter sitting on couch using a tablet computer

The Australian Psychological Society (APS) offers a 2-page factsheet on Helping children affected by bushfires. This fact sheet is addressed to parents and provides key information about the impact of trauma on children,  how you can help them recover and when to seek further help.

Tubs of paint for kids with paint brushes

Many parents and educators may already be familiar with Maggie Dent. This site provides a resource pack for talking to kids about tragic bushfires. Expert advice is presented clearly along with a series of short videos aimed at parents, educators and children.

Photo of Mother holding daughter in her arms, with smiling daughter squeezing mothers face

Australian Child and Adolescent trauma, loss & grief network (ACATLGN)
In response to the Victorian bushfires a decade ago, a project was conducted to create teacher resources with input from ACATLGN. Schools supporting families to recover from disaster.

child sitting on lap of adult, having a story read to him

The Royal Children’s Hospital Melbourne (RCH)
RCH has a useful website to direct parents for written and video information to support their child. This website aims to help parents talk to children about the current bushfires in Australia.  It suggests practical strategies that will help children once again feel in control and connect to their community. It also includes a short video that you could play at a parent meeting.

3 year old girl sitting at table, smiling with her chin resting on the hands

Raising Children Network
This Australian parenting website has clear and concise information about supporting children of all ages after trauma. Educators can direct parents to the website to click through tips that will help children to recover

Boy holding fathers hand as they walk through an ankle deep creek

Zero to Three: Early Connections last a lifetime 
Parenting resources available for families coping after a natural disaster to understand how babies and toddlers can be affected by disasters. Dot points cover behaviours parents may see in a child after a scary event and how to help them cope. Information on parent self-care is also included.

Baby and mother giving butterfly kisses

Royal Fire Service (RFS)

Wildlife Information, Rescue and Education Service (WIRES)

Make a list of the organisations in your local community that the service and your families can connect to as you recover. Contributing to the community through building awareness, making links and can help children feel safe and secure. Your service may like to invite local RFS volunteers to a thank you morning tea or support a wildlife organisation

Two yellow mugs sitting on a table, tied together with string