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“Without Heatherbrae, I honestly don’t know how I would have coped … I really struggled with a little baby and a boisterous 3-year-old.”

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Playgroups & Family Hubs

Connect runs ‘Play and Chat’ sessions facilitated by early childhood staff in a number of locations across the Blue Mountains and into Penrith. Playgroups include ‘Play and Chat’, ‘Craft in the Park’ and a Dad’s playgroup. All are an ideal place for babies, toddlers and children to learn and develop through play.

Our playgroups help children develop social skills in a group situation, with a parent or carer by their side for support, and they provide an opportunity for children and their parents or carers to enjoy activities together. Just as importantly, ‘Play and Chat’ provides a place to come when you need to get out of the house and have some adult company.

Download the Playgroup Map here.

Download the Dads Playgroup Flyer here.

Call Amanda Kupke on: 02 4759 1462

Heatherbrae, Lawson

Heatherbrae is located at 1 Benang Street in Lawson, the historic house located behind Lawson Hotel. It provides informal play and chat for children, babies and their parents and carers, with comfortable chairs, friendly faces and tea and coffee in a relaxed environment. We are open Monday to Thursday 9.30-3.00pm and Friday 9.30-12.30pm for play dough, painting, free play, stories, music, Toy Library borrowing.

New Parents Group, a get together for first time parents and carers with babies under 12 months, meets every second Wednesday. Ring us for dates

Download the Heatherbrae Flier here.

Call us: Amanda Kupke on 02 4759 1462.

Transition to School Program

Connect is one of Australia’s leading providers of transition to school programs for families, working in the Lithgow, Blue Mountains, Penrith, Hawkesbury and Western Sydney areas. The program assists children and their families to have a positive start to school by offering supported playgroups which are facilitated by an early childhood teacher and run in a primary school during terms 3 and 4. Children not accessing other prior-to-school services have priority of attendance.

Children and their families have the opportunity to experience the school environment gradually before starting Kindergarten. They are also introduced to community agencies that may provide them with information or services to help their child with any issues that might act as a barrier to successful transition.

Call us: Amanda Kupke on 0423720492 or Jo Everingham on 0490049950.

For the Transition to School website click here.

YAWN Parent Support Program

YAWN (You Ask We Nurture) is a unique volunteer home visiting service offering tired parents practical help and companionship. Each volunteer visits a family with a baby up to one year old in their own home for two hours once a week. YAWN volunteers are trained and supported to partner with families with babies and young children to enable parents to get some rest. During home visits volunteers may hold the baby, play with older siblings or just make a cup of tea and listen – whatever is useful. The service is offered to families for six months and the role of the volunteer is not to offer advice, but rather to support parents in their desire to parent well.

YAWN began as a partnership between a parent and a practitioner, and evolves through continual feedback from parents to volunteers, the service adapting to best fit the needs of the families we support. When parents are supported and nurtured they can more easily develop secure relationships with their children. Our aim is to provide a service that helps parents make connections with the wider community. The support and encouragement that YAWN volunteers provide allows parents to enjoy their children and so develop a more secure attachment.

If a volunteer feels that a family may need more specialised support we are able to refer families to other community services. We work closely with volunteers to strengthen the support we can give families by developing strong relationships with other family services in the community.

The YAWN program is funded as one of Connect’s key mission activities and can be supported by making a donation here. Download the YAWN brochure here.

Call us: Christy Hartlage 02 4759 1462

Little Possums Program

Little Possums is a play therapy and mentoring program for Aboriginal children which operates two days per week across Doonside and Crawford Public Schools. It follows on the practise and philosophy of the very successful pilot program developed in the Shoalhaven region called "The Little Black Duck".

Little Possums provides culturally sensitive support through mentoring and Play Therapy. The aims are to enable children to:

- build a strong sense of identity;

- heal issues resulting from trauma, loss and grief;

- enhance joyful participation in school, community life and relationships.

Contact: Karen, 0404213199 email:

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