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Dads & Kids bond with Kindergarten Crocs

Updated: Aug 13, 2021

Just a few weeks ago preschool children had the opportunity to connect with their dads, step-dads and grandfathers as part of a community event at Scylla Bay Oval, Como.

The joint initiative by the Sutherland Shire Preschool Alliance and The Fathering Project was a fun morning of non-contact games and activities, assisted by Como-Jannali Junior Rugby League Football Club who run a Tiny Crocs program every Saturday during football season.

The aim was to encourage the involvement of father figures in children's lives. About 60 children took part in the event, which was made possible through a grant provided by NSW Health to Sutherland Shire Council.

Various activities were set up by coaches and younger members of the Como-Jannali JRLFC who volunteered their skills and time as whom also run a similar program every weekend during football season. That program is known locally as "Tiny Crocs" and "Social Crocs" which is for children with a disability.

All 16 community preschools, which are part of the Sutherland Shire Preschool Alliance, invited their families to attend.

Jenny Hind, director of Miranda Kindergarten and spokeswoman for the Sutherland Shire Preschool Alliance, said the grant was awarded last year but had to be put off for 12 months because of COVID-19.

"It has grown from a small idea into a lovely community event," she said. "It went off really well. It was a beautiful sunny day and the children and families had a lot of fun."

Jean Wheatley, director of the Kareela-based MindSprout disability support service, which helped co-ordinate the event, said its success had ensured it would be ongoing. Jean also added "We are just over-the-moon and happy to have seen so many Dads, Grandads and Carers getting involved in this community event hosted by Sutherland Shire Preschool Alliance and The Fathering Project"

The Tiny Crocs program has inspired similar programs to be established at other Junior Rugby League Clubs in the Shire. These programs which are not only creating a fun, safe and healthy social activity for pre-schoolers and other children with disabilities but also providing them with skills and a pathway to play junior rugby league.

It was a great day that showcased a great initiative that is now being duplicated not only in Sydney and Australia but also around the world. Well done and thank you again to Como-Jannali JRLFC, MindSprout, The Fathering Project, Sutherland Shire Preschool Alliance, Sutherland Shire Council as well as the wider Cronulla JRL community who were all instrumental in making this such a successful event.


Pictures: Adam Wrightson

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