What is the Stewart House Program?
Stewart House offers a 12 day program for children from Year 2 to Year 8 who are enrolled in public schools in NSW and the ACT. Younger or older children may attend with the approval of Stewart House.
The Stewart House Program is a busy activities and experience based program with a focus on building self-esteem, resilience, social skills and a personal sense of wellbeing.
The Stewart House Program includes:
- Medical screening (dental, optical, hearing, hair, general health)
- Social Skills lessons and experiences
- Excursions that foster friendships
- Art and craft activities to build self-expression
- Physical activities like dance, fitness, swimming and ball games
- Healthy lifestyle activities like self-care and cooking
Popular excursions include:
- Taronga Zoo
- Australian Museum
- Sydney Olympic Park Aquatic Centre
- Travel on the Manly Ferry
- Walks across the footpath on the Sydney Harbour Bridge
- Visits to local parks & attractions
All children receive a DVD of photos and an activity book to remember their stay.
Your child’s stay at Stewart House
Stewart House provides dormitory style cabins. Cabins are arranged by age and gender.
How is my child nominated for the Stewart House Program?
Your school Principal nominates children who will benefit from the Stewart House Program. If you need further information about their nomination please contact your child’s Principal.
How long does my child stay at Stewart House?
Children stay for a period of two school weeks, usually arriving on a Monday and leaving on the Friday of the next week, making this a 12 day program.
How does my child get to Stewart House?
Travel to Stewart House is arranged through your local school network. Your school Principal will advise you of travel details. There is NO COST to families for the Stewart House program.
Getting Around Sydney
Stewart House has a fleet of mini-buses to transport children to their activities while in Sydney.
Communicating with your child while they are at Stewart House.
Stewart House provides general SMS updates to parents throughout the program.
Email is the preferred mode for communication and can be sent to your child via firstname.lastname@example.org These emails are forwarded to your child at a suitable time (excluding weekends) who will be given the opportunity to reply during their stay.
Due to the busy Stewart House program, phone calls are not encouraged. Staff are happy to answer any queries during office hours on 02 9938 3100.
You will be contacted if we need to seek further medical permissions or your assistance in providing appropriate care for your child.
What if my child is homesick?
For most children attending Stewart House, twelve days is the longest time they will have been away from home. The staff at Stewart House are trained to work with the children to ensure they have a safe and enjoyable stay. It is normal for children to experience a mix of feelings about coming to Stewart House – excitement, nervousness, curiosity – as well as having feelings of homesickness. Some children will experience stronger feelings and require more support during their stay.
Below are some tips for preparing children for their temporary separation from home:
- Talk about Stewart House well in advance of the child’s stay. Include children in the decision to come to Stewart House and answer any questions they may have in a calm and matter of fact way.
- Normalise any concerns they have about feeling homesick/ nervous/ worried etc. If you don’t know the answer to any of their questions – just ask! Visit our videos, the 360 degree virtual tour and visit the information pages. If you still can’t find the answer, send us an email or call us.
- Reassure children of their ability to overcome homesickness and encourage them to make friends and seek out trusted adults to connect with during their stay. Send your children away expecting them to have fun! Be contagious in your confidence and enthusiasm.
- We do not recommend making deals for an early departure/pick-up prior to arriving. Rest assured, the staff at Stewart House will contact you to discuss a support plan if your child does not settle.
- Pack a little piece of home – perhaps a photo, a small toy or symbol to support a positive memory of what will be waiting for your child when he/she returns from Stewart House.
Separation from family can be a great life training experience for a child. By supporting children through an extended stay away from home, we are providing them with a valuable opportunity to develop independence, self-reliance, confidence and social skills. Your input at home will help to achieve these outcomes and contribute to a positive stay at Stewart House.
Non- attendance due to illness
If your child falls ill immediately before their visit, please contact Stewart House to discuss if they should still attend at this time.
If your child has had contact with a contagious disease within 4 weeks of their visit, please contact Stewart House to discuss if they should still attend at this time.
Your child’s hair, teeth, eyes, ears and general health will be checked by qualified staff and where appropriate, treatment will be given. Stewart House staff are sensitive and responsive to children with healthcare needs. No child will knowingly be placed in an embarrassing situation, so please advise us of your child’s needs.
Stewart House is a nut free zone.
Stewart House serves 5 meals each day (breakfast, early lunch, snack, dinner, and supper). All food provided is reviewed regularly for dietary requirements and the 12 day program has a balanced meal plan.
Special Dietary Requirements and Food Allergies
Special meals are prepared for children with food allergies and other dietary requirements. Please ensure that ALL relevant information is included on the referral forms or contact Stewart House if you are unsure.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders
Parents or carers are encouraged to contact our Aboriginal Education Officer. Indigenous and Environmental studies are a focus of the program.
We hope that the visit to Stewart House enables your child to:
- be more confident in social situations with their friends and with adults
- be more positive and aware of feeling good about themselves and their culture
- experience the sights and sounds of a major capital city and have lots of fun