2015 at a Glance: Baby Choir

 ‘Every time we come here she falls asleep, she’s so relaxed.’
‘I loved the friends we made – our little community.’
‘I loved being allowed to be crazy with my kids.’
‘I learnt relaxation tips for my bubs.’

Slow-dancing cheek-to-cheek with babies. A chinwag. Followed by a lie down and a cup of tea.  Sound good?

Now in its 4th year, Baby Choir is a weekly, 45-minute drop-in session that uses voice, touch, movement, music and mindfulness to strengthen the bonds between parent and child at a time when families can be at their most vulnerable – in the early years of parenthood.

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Image: Carla Gottgens

A unique collaboration with Banyule Community Health in West Heidelberg, Baby Choir saw over 60 babies, toddlers, and their grown-ups, wriggle, jiggle, dance and dribble their way through a relaxed program delivered by Kids Thrive artist Andrea Rieniets and maternal and child health nurses Elischka Sageman and Sharleen Cook.

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Image: Carla Gottgens

Baby Choir creates an environment where grown-ups are guided to build intuitive bonds with their baby, make social connections with people from the wider community, and provides enhanced access to further health and social services provided by Banyule Community Health.

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Image: Carla Gottgens

This year we introduced ‘3 Tiny Tips in 3 Minutes’, where a children’s specialist from fields such as dentistry and nutrition through to podiatry and psychology joined in the session each week, and then had 3 minutes to share their top 3 tips with parents and carers. After the workshops they would stay for cups of tea to provide one-on-one advice and answer questions with parents.  This innovative, yet simple addition to the program has seen increased awareness and uptake of other health services by participants. It’s a pressurised gig though: slip over 3 minutes and right on cue the toddlers start using the chairs as lino-mowers, emitting an ear-splitting screech. You cannot fool a 2-year-old.