A Day at the Park

Windamere Park / A Day at the Park

Farm_Activities.JPGWelcome to Windamere

A Day at the Park


Clients are collected either from their home or from the collection point between 8.30am and 9.00am each morning. They travel to Windamere Park in one of its six buses/vans (2 x 20 seat; 4 x 12 Seat).

All client handovers follow strict standard procedures to ensure proper OH&S principles e.g. collection of their bags with changes of clothes, their lunch, any medication required has to be handed to staff members by carers/family and is checked off on their client list and passed on upon arrival at Windamere to a central control point. Communication lines have been developed encouraging gathering of any pertinent data regarding the client as to changes in attitude, behaviour and/or changed special needs.

Client lists and most client-related data have recently been migrated to iPads for easier dissemination of information and data collection by staff.

Staff  “sign in” each client onto the iPad’s daily transport register. Any no-shows are immediately phoned in to the office who contact parents or care givers to ascertain the reason for their absence.

All clients are scheduled to arrive at Windamere Park by 9.30am to 10.00am. On arrival clients are allocated into the programs as per the schedules and handed over to the relevant program leaders.

Clients are split into groups of around 7-12 depending on the program and the group’s abilities and go to the allocated program area for the day. Client staff ratios are dependent on client needs and support. Vocational training programs operate in smaller groups with one staff leader.

Each group has its own thematic area for the day comprising work facilities, shelter, toilets etc.  Gym, art and craft, music, cooking etc. Animals on the farm include: kangaroos; cows; sheep; donkeys; deer; chickens; ducks; geese; and peacocks.

Some programs have been specifically developed for the Windamere Park’s environment, such as animal care, fishing, crabbing, bush walking etc. Programs work off well planned and practiced principals ensuring safety along with enjoyment and some form of physical activity.

Some programs include levels of community access to different environments including the zoo, cinemas, museums and visits to all types of community services in their local communities including utilizing transport facilities to get there.

Each program typically runs for an 8 week period on its specified day.

Windamere Park also has ranges of varied equipment to facilitate the carrying out of activities including full gymnastic equipment, fishing and crabbing gear, people trailer; all ensuring hands-on involvement of the clients thus exposing them to varied and new experiences.

Typically, once they gather in their individual groups at the designated location on the property for the day, referred to as their “home base”, after a toilet break and some campfire-made coffee, they commence the days’ activities.

During winter mornings and upon arrival at their home base they will build a fire and brew billy teas and cook damper, sit around the campfire and interact with one another and with staff expanding upon the upcoming activities for the day. In summer they use the camp stoves in the facilities adjacent to each of the home bases.

The staff will then work with the designated clients participating in the day’s activities. The staff work to encourage and expose the clients to new experiences taking all duties of care to ensure a safe and stimulating environment.

Community networking is also an important part of various programs. Staff strive to deliver activities that clients are able to transfer into familiar community settings when with their friends and/or parents; or alone if appropriate. Windamere’s aims are to forge a foundation of community access skills so that clients can continue to participate in hobbies and other leisure activities at other times when off the Park. Typically clients who attend the Park for 3 or more days per week will participate in a community-based program at least once or more per week thus utilizing those skills taught at the Park!

Groups do break for lunch which is provided by their parents or carers. This ensures that food preferences and any allergies are always considered.

Built into each daily program is a level of physical activity to promote increased physical fitness.

Focus is also given to individual living skills, including such matters as: personal hygiene; independent toileting; washing hands independently; and managing lunchtime routines independently.

After Lunch staff and clients return to their programs, finishing up at around 3pm. This allows time for clients to get cleaned up and change clothes if necessary; all prior to boarding the transport back to home or pickup points.

All clients are returned by approximately 4pm.

Staff record any daily incidents and/or accidents, that may have occurred during the day, directly onto their iPads utilizing standard incident reports including appropriate photographs relevant to the incidents. Thus, any incidents are immediately relayed back to parents/guardians/care givers ready for further scrutiny if necessary.

Staff also maintain daily reports on the clients progress and participation in the program and identify any required changes to a particular client’s program involvements, if deemed necessary. Any recommended changes to specific program aspects for a client are immediately implemented.

Staff are encouraged to take photographs for forwarding to parents and care givers on a regular basis.

Staff complete weekly reports on each client, where they are individually assessed and rated as to the level of achievement of the relative tasks offered that week within each program. A final assessment at the end of each program will then be filed. This forms the basis of the assessment of the client for future groupings and program selection.

All clients’ individual program plans are reviewed and presented quarterly to parents & carers.

Windamere Park offers:

Enjoyable worthwhile participation in activities unique for most people and to be experienced in a rural bush-like setting.

Cost effective alternative; far cheaper than alternative city based services.

Transport from Strathmont, where the group collection point is, is free  with home collection available at an additional cost. (subsidized!)

Experienced Staff; qualified teachers, skills trainers, all of which accept and understand the duty of care they hold.

Safe environment with appropriate precautions and trained staff aware not ‘to overpower’ the active involvement of clients.

Social Networking through community based activities that can extend to evening and weekend involvement with peers, friends and clubs, etc.

Stress Free with all clients able to participate in a demands- free environment.

Pre vocational aspirations are developed through the participation in a wide variety of work related activities often remunerated.

Fully Assessed programs, with individual assessments typically with photographs, are sent home periodically stating progress and achieved attainments of short term and long term goals.