Early childhood

There are many types of early childhood services available. NSW public schools provide a small component of those provided by other government and non-government agencies. Use the MyChild website to search for an early childhood education and care service.

NSW public schools provide support through:

  • preschool classes in regular schools for all children including those with disability and additional learning and support needs
  • early intervention classes that offer small, dedicated preschool programs for children with confirmed disability from the age of three to school entry
  • early intervention teachers – called itinerant support teachers (early intervention) – who are available to support children with confirmed disability and their families and teachers prior to school and in transition to kindergarten in a NSW public school.

By offering positive experiences prior to starting school, early childhood services promote inclusion and help provide a secure foundation for the future.

Support for children with disability

The department recognises that young children with disability and additional leaning and support needs require extra support prior to starting school.

The department's disability criteria are used to determine eligibility for additional support in early intervention classes and itinerant services. In most cases a disability must be confirmed by a medical practitioner or other qualified professionals.

The identification of children with intellectual disability can be undertaken either by the department's School Counselling Service or by an external registered psychologist with clinical experience.

Early intervention classes

A limited number of early intervention classes are located in NSW public schools and operate during school terms. Children usually attend for 2.5 hour sessions, two to three days a week. Class sizes range from five to eight children and children are aged between three and six years.

Early intervention teachers works in partnership with parents and carers and other support agencies to plan personalised learning and support at preschool, based on individual interests and personal care, health, social and wellbeing needs.

Use the school locator to find an early intervention class.

Itinerant support teachers

A limited number of itinerant support teachers (early intervention) help children with confirmed disability.

They work throughout the year prior to an eligible child starting school and continue to provide support into a child's first year of school. Itinerant support teachers (early intervention) help by:

  • supporting the staff of early childhood classes to provide personalised learning and support
  • developing individual, coordinated transition plans to support children moving from early education into school
  • establishing and maintaining links with a range of local services in the community.

Itinerant support teachers (hearing or vision) provide support specifically for children with a confirmed hearing or vision impairment. This service is available from the age of diagnosis.

Access to support

Access to early intervention classes and itinerant support is through the placement panel process. Parents and carers should contact their local public school or their local Educational Services team to facilitate this process.

Local teams can be contacted on 131 536 and calls can be made from anywhere in NSW.

As the department works in close consultation with a range of early childhood services, parent and carers may also be referred to our schools via other agencies.

Visit the support organisations to locate early childhood services offered across NSW by government and non-government agencies.

Parentline

Parentline operate a free early childhood intervention infoline for parents and carers who have children with disability. Free information, referral to services and general support and counselling is available by calling 1300 1300 52. Calls can be made from anywhere in NSW.

Guides for parents and carers

Starting preschool guides and tips

An introduction to early intervention services

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