With funding we have co-created, piloted and evaluated free, open-access research-based resources and supports for:

  1. young children (2-8 years*) using a strengths-based, resilience-based approach to support their understanding and ability to cope with military family life or children of veterans and support their wellbeing,
  2. parents, to support young children within a defence (military) family
  3. family support workers and social workers to support young children within a defence (military) family, and
  4. educators, Defence School Mentors and Educational Development Liason Officers to support young children from defence families and assist their peers in developing understanding and empathy.

*We have resources that use a multi-layered approach and can be used by children up to 12 years of age.

N.B. Many of our resources are suitable for children of first responders (emergency services/PSP) and other families in industries where parents work away e.g. mining, transport, tourism, and agriculture.

Co-created, research-based resources

Our resources were co-created with stakeholders, such as those with lived experience (members and veterans), and those who have supported military families, such as educators, social workers, and family workers. These have included our Steering Committee and our volunteers, and other organisations and individuals.

They have been evaluated by parents, educators, family and social workers, Defence School Mentors (DSM) and Education Development Liaison Officers (EDLO).

You can browse the covers for our 12 free, research-based children’s books. Each book has free, downloadable educational activities (puzzles, puppets, board games, card games, matching and memory games, numeracy activities, sequencing/storytelling activities and sight words).

Our interactive research-based storybooks are also free to use.

Why did we need resources?

Children from military families generally experience frequent and long separation from one of their parents due to training and deployment. Families often miss out on time together and special events. They also relocate frequently. This can cause family stress, impacting children’s development, especially during the critical early years.

Service-related health and mental health issues

The parent and family/social worker resources assist parents and family workers in supporting children’s understanding of some of the family changes that occur when a parent returns has a service-related physical injury or mental health condition.

The research behind the project and further research

Previous research revealed a lack of age and culturally appropriate resources for young children from Australian military families.

Addressing the research finding that there was an extreme lack of age and culturally-appropriate resources for young children from military families, we have co-created four suites of research-based free, online resources for children, parents, educators and family/social workers.

Philosophy and licencing of the resources

The resources are strengths-based and resilience-based and aim to improve children’s emotional intelligence and empathy.

All resources, including the narratives of the eBooks, are published under a Creative Commons Licence (CC BY-NC-SA). There are no royalties paid to the authors of the resources. This means children from military families and other children who experience a parent working away (e.g. in mining, transport, tourism, emergency services etc.) or a parent with work-related health or mental health issues can benefit from the resources. They can be freely used internationally or adapted by other organisations for use in their own country or community.

More about the suite of resources

There are learning modules in each set of resources for:

  • children (including downloadable, printable, eBooks, activity books, read-along recordings, interactive eBooks, signed eBooks for those with hearing impairment or language delays, teaching activities [puppets, games, songs, puzzles, craft, role plays])
  • parents (including practical ideas to assist children during relocations, deployments, training episodes, responses to deployment [physical, social, emotional, learning], tips from other defence parents, information and support)
  • educators (ways to support the children, parents and carers)
  • family and social workers (ways to support the children, parents and carers).

The resources have been evaluated (2021 to 2022). They have been adapted from the feedback and released to the public.

The resources aim to give adults the knowledge, tools and support to provide the best support they can to children from military families. We want children from defence families to not only survive military family life but thrive.

How can you get involved?

There are a number of ways you can get involved in the project:

  1. Explore our web pages for resources for children, parents, educators, family/social workers, academics/researchers/policymakers, information about our funders, and explore our media releases
  2. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram
  3. Give us feedback about the resources
  4. Suggest other resources you think are needed.

Why is the ECDP logo a wombat?

We think wombats and children from military families have a lot in common.

They are both:

  • tough, yet vulnerable (and some wombats are even endangered)
  • able to adapt to different terrain
  • largely forgotten even though they are amazing.

Thanks to Trish Donald for our lovely logo.

Acknowledgement of country

We acknowledge the traditional owners of the land on which we work and acknowledge that the land is Aboriginal land belonging to the Anaiwan nation in Armidale. We acknowledge that other Aboriginal nations also had a relationship with the land, including the Dungutti, the Kamilaroi and the Gumbaynggirr nations. We pay respects to elders past, present and emerging and acknowledge that sovereignty was never ceded by the traditional owners of the land on which UNE sits.

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