Baby Choir:  connecting the mother, cradling the child

A drop-in program for grown-ups and babies to fire-up the bonds that bring them together. Led by Kids Thrive community artists, partnering with community, maternal and child health nurses at Banyule Community Health in West Heidelberg.

About the Program

Kids thrive when they’re loved.

Baby Choir 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.

Developed and delivered in collaboration with Banyule Community Health maternal and child health nurses, Baby Choir offers one hour of judgement-free, enjoyable participation, coupled with access to one-on-one advice from health professionals, promoting strong, healthy relationships and nurturing loving bonds through listening, watching and feeling.

Baby Choir 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.

Baby Choir 2014 Highlights by Kids Thrive on Vimeo

Program Aims

  • 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

Program Outcomes

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

During our 2014 program, we:

  • Held 23 weekly sessions
  • For 70 children aged from 2 weeks to 4 years plus 78 grown-ups
  • With 3 community engagement events

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

Additional Information

‘It’s the most connection I ever have with Jack. He really calms down to music.’   – Rochelle, Mum

‘The key to connection for vulnerable families is ensuring that there is a truly fun and caring element to the program. Many early years programs start with families from a deficit perspective; Baby Choir builds on strengths and gives tools to take away and celebrate and share.’  – Banyule Community Health Nurse

2016 Delivery Partner

Banyule Community Health

2016 Funding Partners

Australia Council for the Arts | Ian Potter Foundation