The importance of the first five years of a child’s development; a short guide


The first five years of a child’s life are the most vital, in terms of their development; how they grow physically and emotionally, and how they learn to communicate, think and socialise. In the first five years of life, a child’s brain develops more, and faster, than at any other time in their life. It is through your relationship with your child that you will find to be one of the most important influences on your child’s learning and development. In these first years, a child’s main way of learning and developing is through play.

Relationships are the most important experiences in your child’s environment because they teach them the most about the world around them, they shape the way they see the world, they learn whether the world is safe and secure, whether they are loved, who loves them, what happens when they cry, laugh or make a face, and much more.

Play gives children an opportunity to explore, observe, experiment, solve problems and learn from mistakes. Lots of time spent playing, talking, listening and interacting with you helps your child learn the skills they need for life. These skills include communicating, thinking, solving problems, moving and being with other people and children.

The Wishing Well foundation

The Wishing Well was established in 2010 to offer children in out-of-home care, such as foster care and residential care, a range of healing and treatment options usually not accessible as a free therapy in mainstream health.

The Wishing Well raises funds to enable children and young people to access developmentally-appropriate and trauma-informed treatments shown to be highly effective in dealing with severe trauma and neglect. These therapies respond to the unique needs of each child and young person.

The Wishing Well is a not-for-profit incorporated charity organisation, established and managed by people seeking to improve outcomes for children and young people in out-of-home care and their families. The Wishing Well recognises the importance of the act of giving. We recognise the significance of the participation of community members and all donations are most appreciated.

The Wishing Well operates ethically, effectively and empathically with a view to achieving quality outcomes and a satisfying working environment.

Support the Wishing Well

The Wishing Well uses its funds to help children in need access all manners of developmentally-appropriate and trauma-informed treatments. The Wishing Well takes referrals for any child/young person in out-of-home care in NSW.  Applications are assessed by qualified personnel and on a case-by-case basis.  The decision to fund an application is affected by the following:

  • Funding availability
  • The support the child/young person has to access the proposed therapies
  • The capacity and willingness of the Carer Household to support the child/young person
  • Assessment, which recommends and supports the proposed therapy as relevant to meeting the particular needs of the child/young person

The Wishing Well gratefully receives donations, funding and resources through bequests, corporate partnerships, fundraising events, grants, online donations and other fund raising activities. Money donated to The Wishing Well enables traumatised children access to healing therapies. Please see our website for more information:


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