Planting the seeds for stronger families

25 May 2022
Planting the seeds for stronger families

An innovative program giving vulnerable mums and babies a stronger start to life is being made available to more people in need thanks to The Hopscotch Foundation in collaboration with SAHMRI.

The Acorn Program brings together mothers who are experiencing mental health difficulties, to build their personal wellbeing and enhance the relationship with their child or children.

Hopscotch Foundation Director Dr John Hopwood says the multi-faceted program is grounded in evidence-based interventions and has been proven to be of significant benefit.

“Already, from Acorn’s pilot stage, more than 500 South Australian mums and their children are living happier, healthier lives thanks to this program,” Dr Hopwood said.

“In groups of no more than 10 families, young mothers see, feel, hear about and practice how to foster warm, playful reciprocal relationships with their children.”

The 15-week program is for mothers of children under three years of age. They meet weekly with qualified health professionals to focus on three primary areas – dance play, journaling and therapeutic letters.

“Dance play, guided by our Dance Coordinator, places the children at the centre of what we’re doing, and sets a free and playful mentality for the mums,” Dr Hopwood said.

“Journaling gives our mums the time and space to reflect and build on the connections they are making with their children, while the weekly therapeutic letters from our Mental Health Clinician validate the ‘golden moments’ of development that our mums experience throughout the program.”

The partnership with SAHMRI is enabling access to the Acorn Program for more mothers and children in need. Its developers are now hoping for it to be included in new early childhood government-funded programs.

The Acorn Program is being officially launched at SAHMRI this morning by Thrive by Five Director and former SA Premier, Jay Weatherill.

Dr Hopwood says the synergies between the missions of Thrive by Five and MeB4Three are obvious.

“I’ve been in awe of the incredible achievements Jay and the Minderoo Foundation have made through Thrive by Five,” John said.

“That Jay is willing to travel to Adelaide from Perth to be a significant part of our launch is an uplifting vote of confidence that we are playing a role in building more resilient individuals, more connected families and therefore stronger communities.”

The Acorn Program is one of three parental and early childhood enrichment initiatives run by MeB4Three. The Together Again Program is an extension of the Acorn Program, while Sacred Little Ones is designed specifically for mums and children who identify as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander.

To find out more about the programs that nurture the mother-child bond, visit the MeB4Three website.

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