Did you know? Children from CALD backgrounds remain significantly unrepresented in early childhood services due to language barriers, parental worries about cultural appropriateness of services, the complexity of the system and limited support available in their home language.

To address these persistent barriers, we developed the Integrated Diversity Early Education Access (IDEA) Pathway, a FREE mobile 6-week playgroup program delivered in home-language facilitated by our Bicultural Support Workers to prepare children from CALD backgrounds for entry into Early Years Education and increase enrolment of these children in formal Early Educational Services.

The IDEA Pathway supports families from CALD backgrounds with:

  • an integrated FREE 6-week family-mentoring program delivered in home-language during playgroup 
  • assistance to families with their journey in gaining an understanding of formal early years education in Australia
  • enrolling their child into an approved Early Childhood Education program/service in their area
  • assisting with settling in to new service by accessing 10 hours FREE Bicultural Support upon enrolment to assist children, families and educators in the transition.
  • linking participating families with local ECE providers and building trust to facilitate positive dialogue
  • building the capacity of services to provide educational excellence to children from culturally diverse backgrounds. 



Playgroups 2021 Update:

So far, in the past 2 years, we have worked with Nepalese, Turkish, Bengali, Kurdish Kurmanji, Farsi/Persian, Rohingyan, Dari, Arabic, Iraqi Arabic, Assyrian, Bosnian and Karen communities across Sydney in such areas as Rockdale, Marrickville, Lakemba, Blacktown, Auburn, Regents Park, Liverpool and Fairfield. We have successfully enrolled and supported 15 children into early childhood education and care (ECEC) services and assisted a further 30 families in placing their children on waiting lists at their local ECEC services. 

Due to the outstanding success of this project in 2019 and 2020, the Start Strong IDEA Pathways Playgroups will continue running 6-week programs over the coming months! 

Our team continues to reach out and negotiate with the:

  • African community in Merrylands and surrounding areas – not yet confirmed. 
  • African/Somali community in Punchbowl and surrounding areas – not yet confirmed. 
  • Mongolian community in canterbury and surrounding areas – not yet confirmed. 
  • Urdu-speaking community in Lakemba and surrounding areas – not yet confirmed. 
  • Indian community in Lakemba and surrounding areas – not yet confirmed. 

Urdu Playgroup

When: Thursdays 13/05/2021 – 17/06/2021

Where: Community Hub Yagoona Public School

Time: 9:30am – 11:30am


AND a Hindi Playgroup!

When: Wednesdays, 03/03/2021 – 07/04/2021

Time: 10am – 12pm

Where: Hampden Park Public School, 39/75 Hampden Rd, Lakemba NSW 2195


Stay tuned for further information as multicultural and multilingual playgroups are confirmed around Sydney! 

The team welcomes any contact form community leaders and/or referrals for parents and children to participate in our playgroup and family mentoring sessions. 

If there are any other interested cultural or language specific groups in areas across Sydney, they can also get in touch with either Nadia or Semra from our Start Strong IDEA Pathways team via phone on (02) 9569 1288 or via email nadia.f@ecsc.org.au or semra.c@ecsc.org.au


If there are any other interested cultural or language-specific groups in areas across Sydney they can also get in touch with either Nadia or Semra from our Start Strong IDEA Pathways team via phone on (02) 9569 1288 or via email nadia.f@ecsc.org.au or semra.c@ecsc.org.au

Online Playgroup Videos

Due to Covid-19 restrictions, our playgroups were suspended from March – September 2020. In order to still reach out to and connect with our playgroup families and communities, our IDEA Pathway team put together these song and story videos in a variety of community languages. Please see links below or visit our Facebook page.

Click Here to view all

Malayalam – “A Santa Story” 

Malayalam –  “A Shepherd Boy & A Fox” 

Arabic – “Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?”

Turkish – “Floppy”

Nepali – “The Lion & The Mouse”

Arabic – “The Ugly Duckling”

Arabic – “The Little Red Hen”

Mandarin – “The Chinese Zodiac Story”

Mandarin – “Three Little Pigs”

Music & Dance

Turkish – “Ali Baba’s Farm”

Nepali – “Johnny, Johnny, Yes Papa”

Turkish – “Five Little Monkeys”

Nepali – “Heads, Shoulder, Knees and Toes”

Assyrian – “Five Finger Song”

Arabic – “Beautiful Ducks”

Kurdish – “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star”

Mandarin – “Two Tigers”

For more stories and songs in community languages, follow this link Bicultural Support Facebook Page

2020 Playgroup Statistics

In 2020, The Start Strong IDEA Pathway Team continued to engage with children and families from culturally and linguistically diverse communities despite COVID-19 difficulties, via virtual storytelling and song videos. Our Bicultural Early Childhood educators provided videos of story time and songs in 10 community languages, including Arabic, Turkish, Nepalese, Assyrian, Kurdish, Rohingya, Mandarin, Japanese, Russian and Ukrainian.  These were so successful that we were able to add stories in Malayalam at the end of the year, as well. Our online stories and songs reached thousands of people and were viewed by children and families from all around the world!

The Start Strong IDEA Pathway adapted to the pandemic situation we found ourselves in and conducted 4 ‘Playgroups in the Park’, in outdoor spaces, by following Covid-19 safe practices. Through Arabic, Assyrian, Karen and Bosnian playgroups and Family mentoring sessions, 31 parents and 37 children were supported during their early learning journey and 19 children were successfully enrolled on the waiting lists of their local early childhood education and care services. 

2019 Playgroup Statistics

In 2019 the Start Strong IDEA Pathways team supported 10 language-specific Playgroups & Mentoring Sessions.

The communities who received this valuable support included: Turkish, Rohingyan/Burmese, Bengali, Arabic, Yazidi/Kurmanji, Farsi, Afghani and Nepalese communities.

Over 100 children and their parents were supported in the language-specific playgroups and mentoring sessions and 26 were successfully enrolled into local ECE services.