Baby Choir was a drop-in program run from 2013 to 2016 for grown-ups and babies to fire-up the bonds that bring them together. It is led by Kids Thrive community artists, partnering with community, maternal and child health nurses at Banyule Community Health in West Heidelberg.
The program responds to issues of social isolation and poor mental health identified amongst many young mothers in the West Heidelberg community, and provides an avenue for the uptake of other health services.
It is a weekly, welcoming arts-based program that develops intimacy, emotional connection and positive engagement between babies and their grown-ups. Using voice, touch, movement, music and mindfulness, Baby Choir helps babies forge their understanding of the world through their senses. It 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.
The program creates a relaxed space where grown-ups and babies are supported and can have fun in the early years of parenting, when there is heightened risk of social and emotional isolation.
- Develop intimacy, connection and emotional attachment
- Develop positive parenting skills, and social connections
- Foster confidence, fun, and friendships
- Promote healthy lifestyles
- Encourage uptake of related health and support services
Professionals and communities gain:
- Professional development skills for using the arts in early childhood intervention programs
- A safe forum for shared activity, free from judgement
- Stronger bonds between babies and adults
- Opportunities to build friendships and support networks
- Access to maternal and child health nurses, and further health services
Evaluation shows that Baby Choir:
- Facilitates positive engagement between babies and their grown-ups
- Contributes to childhood development in communication and self-identity, and demonstrates social connection and developmental outcomes
- Contributes to conditions required for optimal brain development in vulnerable children at a time of rapid brain growth
- Increases social connections between adults
- Improves coping skills for adults
- Increases positive engagement between adults and service providers
Evaluations and reports
Baby Choir was delivered in partnership with Banyule Community Health.