Roxburgh Park Child Development Hub – ASPIRE


June 2017 - March 2023

Funding Amount:




Melbourne Macedon Ranges Yarra Moonee Valley Darebin Maribyrnong Hobsons Bay Wyndham Brimbank Moorabool Melton Hume Merri-bek


ASPIRE is a place-based initiative that supports the early identification of developmental vulnerability in pre-primary children at the Good Samaritan Catholic Primary School in Roxburgh Park.

The purpose of this program is to deliver an integrated model of allied health and maternal child health outreach, facilitated by bi-cultural workers. The service also includes capacity building between allied health, maternal child health nurses (MCHNs) and education staff to support education staff to recognise the early signs of developmental delay. The service is delivered in the school setting, throughout playgroup sessions.

The aims of ASPIRE are to:

  • support the early identification of developmental vulnerability in pre-primary children
  • develop an integrated model of service delivery based on the needs of families and children
  • enhance the capacity and capability of parents or carers to support children’s learning and development.

ASPIRE is a partnership of three community organisations across three sectors: local government, education, and health. It is funded by North Western Melbourne Primary Health Network (NWMPHN).

The partners involved are:

  • Hume City Council
  • Good Samaritan Catholic Primary School
  • DPV Health
  • Big therapies

Due to the COVID-19 impacts on staffing, DPV has provided limited allied health services to this project in 2020 and beyond. In late 2021, Big Therapies joined the partnership to offer allied therapeutic support for the program.


Since 2019, COVID-19 and the consequent transition to online education created the need to adjust service delivery support modalities. Services such as Facebook support groups, Zoom play groups, at-home play packs and ongoing access to school readiness assessments by the team of MCHNs at ASPIRE, continued with much positive feedback from the community.

“Thank you to all the wonderful ladies for their outstanding work through-out this difficult year! We appreciate your hard work and enthusiasm, and we certainly can’t wait to get back! – Parent comment on online playgroup experience

Community partners report that funding provided by NWMPHN allowed for additional services for playgroups, assessment, therapeutic intervention and referral. These have delivered a marked change to workplace practice and culture, particularly in improved access and equity.

The ASPIRE partnership has improved the sharing of information across early years services, as well as the capacity and capability of parents and carers. The result is enhanced parenting skills; the ability to identify and address developmental vulnerabilities displayed by their children; and the confidence to access and participate in appropriate early years services within their local community.

Relationships are the cornerstone of the partnership work at ASPIRE. Without the high level of trust among the partner organisations and the trust built with participating families, it is unlikely that it would be able to achieve the outcomes it has to date.

The playgroup experience, with ASPIRE, allows families to feel part of a group in which they are welcomed, accepted, and feel equal. With an increased sense of trust, they can move forward, make new connections and reduce isolation with ever-increasing social capital.

The program evaluation demonstrates:

  • high, consistent attendance rates and satisfaction levels expressed by parents, showing that the playgroups are culturally and contextually appropriate
  • parents who have participated in ASPIRE have enhanced capacity and capability to support children’s learning and development. They demonstrate knowledge of the developmental stages and what to expect in their child’s early years. They have the confidence to request an assessment or referral for their child if they have concerns
  • trust has increased between families, ASPIRE and school staff, and parent-to-parent networks and connections have also increased. Families and children are familiar with the school and understand their roles in the educational partnership.

Services involved