Successful childcare is about finding the right environment for each child's needs. Children thrive when they are in an environment which best suits their needs, strengths and challenges. Inclusive childcare is about valuing each child’s experience and ensuring all children actively participate in the service’s program.
Inclusion is at the heart of our philosophy and practices. We liaise closely with every family to learn as much as possible about their child. This information is critical, enabling us to work with families to find the ideal childcare environment.
Here are some important components of our guidelines which outlines our inclusive approach. We share it here to give families an understanding of the holistic perspective we adopt when placing children into care within our OOSH services.
- Children’s Services works towards supporting an enrolment based on the child’s needs, availability of positions, facilities, resources and a suitable environment for the child. Our aim is to collaborate with families to provide a positive transition into care and ongoing participation in the program.
- Our early childhood specialists within the Children's Services management team will assist the OOSH service to ensure there is suitable resourcing available, and ensure training and awareness of children’s individual needs is built in to the process of staff induction and ongoing professional development. We work with our Educators to support practices that maintain the safety and wellbeing of all children in the care environment.
- Once enrolled, each service works individually with each family to develop an individual support plan for the child that provides strategies to strengthen the child's developmental and learning journey.
- Wherever possible, assistance and guidance will be sought from inclusion support agencies relevant to the child’s placement. If applicable, Inclusion Development Fund (IDF) will be applied for to assist with any barriers to inclusion. This may include funding for the provision of an additional Educator to build Educator capacity and capability to include children with additional needs. The funding is not available to provide 1:1 support for the child.
- While every effort is made to provide placement to children with additional and complex needs, Children’s Services will take into account, and make decisions, based on the overall needs of all of the children attending the service.
- This includes considering factors such as the capacity to adequately staff a service to cater to children’s needs, the ongoing needs of children already enrolled in the service, level of staff training and experience, access to suitable support services and other factors as they arise. Decisions regarding placement take into account the safety, wellbeing and interests of all children using the service, the availability to adequately supervise the environment and the capacity for the service to access suitable resourcing.
- We acknowledge that at times, we may be unable to accept an enrolment as the service is unable to access the essential resourcing required to meet the unique requirements of the child's specific additional needs in a safe manner.
- Enrolment requests are considered in light of the capacity and capability of the respective service to safely and successfully meet the individual needs of the child prior to accepting an enrolment.
At the outset of applying for care, it is critical that families provide us with accurate information to support the inclusion of their child to the service. This includes additional needs and abilities, any challenging behaviours and medical needs (as requested in the enrolment form and agreement).
The effective enrolment of children into our services relies on families providing clear and factual information about their child. A child’s enrolment or ongoing placement may be at risk where a family does not provide us with information relevant to the inclusion of their child in the service.
Families/guardians will provide:
- Accurate information regarding their child to our Educators and Children's Services management and customer service team.
- Updated medical or additional needs records to the service.
- Open collaboration and communication with Educators at the service to ensure individual needs are met and the service has the knowledge and capacity to include the child in the program.
Families/guardians will be provided with:
- Efficient, accurate and timely/current information about the whole child and family.
- Relevant information from health professionals and other support agencies.
- Time to meet with the service prior to the child commencing care.
- Equal opportunities to be involved in decision making concerning their child’s program and its implementation and whenever possible the service of an interpreter.
- Opportunities to share their own culture, knowledge and skills to help children appreciate and welcome similarities and differences.
- Opportunities to express their expectations of the inclusive program through open and ongoing lines of communication.
You are welcome to call our Children's Services team on phone 9710 0466 should you have any queries regarding inclusion within our OOSH services.