Get to know your AO: Laura Campbell

Senior Field Officer in the Southern Metro Regional team, Laura Campbell, shares her insights on Quality Area 6.

With over 10 years of experience across various roles in ECE, Laura is a Senior Field Officer and has worked with us since 2019. She shares her insights with us on effective ways early childhood education and care services connect with families and communities.

We heard insights from Laura about Quality Area 6 and how educators can foster strong relationships and partnerships with families, contributing to children’s quality learning and development, including important lessons from practices implemented during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Laura shared that building a collaborative relationship begins with a family’s engagement with their service (element 6.1.), which involves meeting families in a way that is appropriate and flexible for them.

“We know that both parents and educators are busy people; neither have much extra time in their days, especially during drop-off and pick-up times,” Laura said.

“Whilst we would all love to be face to face a lot of the time, this is sometimes impossible in the busy lives we lead.

“Since the beginning of the pandemic, I have seen some wonderful things happen with the use of virtual meetings and engagement in apps.

“For parents and carers, to be able to book a virtual meeting either in a lunch break or after work, or engage in sending photos on an app, can help services engage with their families in real time.”

Creating collaborative and trusting partnerships between families and educators is incredibly important, as highlighted within standard 6.2, to enhance children’s inclusion, learning and wellbeing.

Laura shared that she has seen services effectively connect and work with families whose child has additional learning needs, as they have engaged with the specialist therapist and therapies to assist the child.

“Closing this loop between the service and additional therapies can be of great help to families to keep consistency for the child,” Laura said.

“Shared communication between the families and service is essential, as the therapist may provide written updates to both. This can allow educators to use these concepts and practices within their own programming and planning.

“This has been amazing to also see as a parent – how this collaboration can impact and expand your child’s connections with the service and their community,” she added.

Where therapists are not able to attend in person, Laura said services will reach out to them for discussions or reports to ensure they remain up to date with the child’s progress and implement the same practices whilst in care.

Laura advises that education and connections are key for supporting families and respecting their views (element 6.1.2).

“There is no one-size-fits-all approach, so knowing the why – the background, family views and at-home approaches – helps educators better understand children and then can implement inclusion methods that suit that child or family,” Laura said.

“Continued education is the best when it comes to improving inclusive practices in services.

“The more educators engage in ongoing learning and training, the more they’re able to develop strategies that can best support the individual needs of the children in their care and ensure families are supported and respected.

“Educators who frequently reach out to families and, if possible, to any additional services the child attends, can also assist in knowing what triggers or additional support they may need,” she said.

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