Inclusion Support Program : Supporting Children with Additional Needs in Early Education
November 28, 2023
Article Written By:
Kids Club Early Childhood Learning Centres
When it comes to the early childhood sector, it’s important that every child, regardless of their abilities, has the opportunity to receive quality education and care. For parents of children with additional needs, inclusive education, finding the right support and an inclusive environment can be a challenge. However, in Australia, there are programs in place, such as the Inclusion Support Program (ISP), that aim to address barriers to inclusion and ensure that children with additional needs can participate in children’s education and care services in the same way as other children. This article explores the inclusion of children with additional needs in the early years learning sector and how support is provided to them and their families.
Equal Opportunities for All
At Kids Club, your child has the right to seek enrolment and participate in an early childhood education and care service on the same basis as their typically developing peers. The Australian Children’s Education & Care Quality Authority (ACECQA) sets guidelines for services to support children with additional needs. These guidelines promote inclusive practices and ensure that every child, regardless of their abilities, can access and benefit from early learning programs, as typically seen within Kids Club’s learning environments.
The Inclusion Support Program
The Inclusion Support Program, also known as ISP is an initiative designed to assist education and care services in providing quality inclusive practices for all children. It aims to address access and participation barriers and supports the inclusion of children with additional needs in mainstream early childhood education and care settings. By partnering with inclusion agencies, ECEC services can identify and address barriers to inclusion, and if necessary, access the Inclusion Development Fund for extra support.
Key Components of Support
Early identification and intervention are crucial for children with additional needs. The ISP emphasises the importance of early intervention services to support the developmental progress of children and facilitate their inclusion in learning environments.
Education and care services collaborate with various support agencies and allied health professionals to provide specialised support tailored to the unique needs of children with additional needs. This may include speech therapists, occupational therapists, and behavioural specialists.
Effective communication between families, carers, and Educators is essential for providing holistic support to children with additional needs. Regular meetings and open dialogue enable the sharing of information, progress updates, and collaborative decision-making.
Empowering Parents and Carers:
The ISP not only benefits children with additional needs or disabilities, but also provides parents and carers with access to inclusive early childhood education and care services. By removing barriers and providing support, this allows parents and carers to pursue employment, training, education, or volunteer opportunities, knowing that their child is in a nurturing and inclusive environment.
Strategic Inclusion Plan (SIP):
To ensure a comprehensive approach to inclusion, a Strategic Inclusion Plan (SIP) is developed in collaboration with the service and the Inclusion Development Fund Manager (IDFM). This plan outlines the strategies and goals for creating an inclusive environment and guides the implementation of inclusive practices within the education and care service.
Inclusion is a fundamental principle in the early years learning sector, and children with additional needs deserve equal opportunities to learn and grow alongside their peers. Through the Inclusion Support Program, Australian education and care services are empowered to address access and participation barriers and provide quality inclusive practices. By working together with families, support agencies, and professionals, children with additional needs can flourish in a nurturing and inclusive early childhood education and care environment.
If you are looking to enrol your child who may be presenting additional needs, or you are currently seeking support from agencies and health care professionals, please feel free to get in touch with us so we can further discuss necessary accommodations in enrolling your child at one of our Kids Club centres today.