Children deserve a great start, whether it’s being ready for day one at school, learning to read, discovering new sports or getting assistance through our Chances program.

Doug, the reading bug

Doug the Reading Bug is the mascot of the Born to Read project which encourages parents to read to children from birth. He runs Children’s Story Time at libraries and schools across the shire: often as pyjama parties!

The early years brain research shows that a person’s learning pathways are established in the brain by the age of three. The power of reading to children should never be underestimated. Reading and sharing stories with young children is vitally important in helping children develop life long skills for learning.

Doug's message is simple 10 minutes a day, talk, sing, play - share a book today.

 If you’d like Doug to visit your school, group or event, including Children’s Story Time, contact us on 4992 1133.

train 4 school

If you have a little one starting school in 2018 or would like to know more about School Readiness, Train 4 School is an 8 session transition to school program for children and their parents or carers. Group discussions allow for informal connection, information sharing and professional input from guest speakers on a number of topics relating to the preparation of families for starting primary school life.

We talk about many aspects of school transition including personal, social, physical and academic readiness to start kindergarten.

Practical, informal and informative, we aim to connect families whose children will be at school together and engage those children in fun school readiness activities.

  • Meet other families starting school in 2018, there are 8 monthly sessions for parents and children.
  • Friendly, practical and professional input to help your child get ready for school - emotionally, physically, socially, academically & practically.
  • This is a FREE event.


Train 4 School - West

Session 1 - Ready For School           11 May at 10am at Paterson Public School
Session 2 - Ready Emotionally        25 May at 10am at Vacy Public School
Session 3 - Ready Socially                 8 June at 10am at Gresford Public School
Session 4 - Learning Already             22 June at 10am Paterson Public School
Session 5 - Ready to Learn                 27 July at 10am at Vacy Public School
Session 6 - Ready Physically             10 August at 10am Gresford Public School
Session 7 - Ready Practically            24 August at 10am at Paterson Public School
Session 8 - Ready. Set. Go!                7 September at 10am at Vacy Public School


Train 4 School - East

Session 1 - Ready For School           18 May at 11am at Dungog Public School
Session 2 - Ready Emotionally        1 June at 11am at Dungog Public School
Session 3 - Ready Socially                 15 June at 11am at Dungog Public School
Session 4 - Learning Already             29 June at 11am Dungog Public School
Session 5 - Ready to Learn                 3 August at 11am at Dungog Public School
Session 6 - Ready Physically             17 August at 11am Dungog Public School
Session 7 - Ready Practically            31 August at 11am at Dungog Public School
Session 8 - Ready. Set. Go!                14 September at 11am at Dungog Public School


Find out more

If you or any interested families have questions, please call Ali Martin on 0412 552546 or Family Worker, Melinda Krieger on 0409 466 963.


Train 4 School - Program Evaluation

We would appreciate your feedback from our inaugural program. We know it was a great time together, but we also know there are areas we can improve on, would you please help by letting us know your thoughts?

Click here to download the 2015 PROGRAM EVALUATION

Please email to Ali at alison.m @

born to read

cHILDREN Doug reading at Story Time, with helper Kieren small.png

The Born To Read program is starting next year. Encouraging literacy in young folk creates real options in life.






Gala sports day

dungog gala sports day.jpg

Come and try a new sport, get active and make new friends. Running over two days the gala event pops up in different towns across the Dungog Shire each school holidays.

The FREE event is a wonderful opportunity for children to develop skills all in a fun and supportive environment.

There will be a wide range of sports and games on offer with trained coaches guiding the children through the various sports helping them develop skills and confidence. The sports on offer range at each Gala Day. Included can be tennis, cricket, gymnastics and archery.

  • There are no fees, no rego and no uniforms required.
  • Sports are open to picked in consultation with local sports clubs.

The days are open to all children aged five to 16 years. Lunch is included. Contact Us to be included on the mailing list for the next Gala Sports Day.


The Chances program offers children aged 3 years to 18 years in the Dungog Shire financial assistance to be involved in a sport, a dance activity or learn a musical instrument of their choice.

How can we get assistance?

Please contact us to arrange for an appointment. An interview will be conducted and your child’s needs and interests will be discussed.  We'll give you an application form, with terms and conditions. Each case will be confidentially assessed and considered.

You can donate to Chances

Please consider donating to this great program. Financial donations can be made here. Please use Chances in the reference.

Sporting or musical items can be donated in one of the many Chances Buckets around the district.

Books for Babies

Books for Babies is about investing in our children’s future through growing readers. A love of reading is a gift, but it also empowers children with the skills and abilities they need for a life of learning. Through Books for Babies we are giving the gift of a book to every baby born in the Dungog Shire.

Books for Babies is a new initiative of Dungog Shire Community Centre and aims to give every baby born in the Dungog Shire area a book pack to nurture and encourage a love of reading from birth. Each pack will include a beautiful book, book mark, library book bag and information on the importance of reading to children from birth and tips and hints on how to make reading easy and fun with babies.

Reading to babies is a beautiful way to connect with your baby, share quiet time with each other and share stories of your childhood. It also encourages pre-literacy and social skills for a flying start to life, develops a child’s communication skills, supports their wellbeing and helps build strong and loving relationships between parent and baby.

Doug the Reading Bug with Books for Babies bag.jpg

Sharing stories and reading to babies helps set children up for a life time of loving to read, of building skills that will help them in their lifelong learning, but also help children explore the wonder, joy relaxation and love of reading and sharing stories.

Newcastle Permanent has funded this project, and by doing so is investing in the future of every baby born in the Dungog Shire.

As well as giving Books for Babies book packs the program will also hold a number of free, fun, family books and reading activities across the Dungog Shire in the coming months. These activities will focus on encouraging and supporting families to read with their babies and young children, to connect with their local libraries – a great resource for book lovers, as well as support families to build social and support networks for them and their babies.

Books for Babies: through giving a book to every baby born in our community we hope to nurture and share a lifelong love of reading.

Books for Babies Project Update

Books for Babies DSCC bags.jpg

Other Community support information

Wesley Mission, Rural Family Worker

Support for families with children 0-8.  Contact Tonya on 4992 2401 or 0438 203 816.


Links together children’s services at hospitals across the region. John Hunter Children’s Hospital Tel 4921 3670.

Tick It

Free transport for families with children under to access medical appointments or social activities, book through NeighbourCare Tel 4992 3348.

Dungog Library Storytime

Thursday mornings at 10am. Stories & craft Tel 4992 1819.

Samaritans Early Intervention Program

Supporting kids 0 to 8 with autism, developmental delays or disabilities.

Daniel Morcombe Foundation 'Help Me' App

A great way to not only help keep kids safe, but assist people of all ages, from 7 to 97, covering all kinds of personal emergency situations.


The 'Help Me' button sounds a warning and allows you to can send off an SMS text to two (2) nominated 'safety' numbers, as part of your Trusted Safety Network. Included in the text are GPS coordinates from where the text was sent, so the sender can be located or a last known place of contact is indicated.