Support and adjustments in early childhood education
All children have the right to be supported in early childhood education, and every service should be making an effort to be inclusive and supportive.
How can early childhood education services support your child?
Early childhood education services can access different kinds of funding from different sources, including from the NSW and Australian governments. The type of funding they can apply for will depend on what kind of service they are.
For example, long day care services can access funding from the Australian government to support the inclusion of children with disability, which they apply for on a case-by-case basis, and community and non-for-profit preschools can access NSW government funding.
In some cases, support might mean an extra staff member who works with your child, although this does not necessarily mean one-on-one attention. A worker might help support your child at specific times, such as when they are eating, toileting, in group activities, or in outdoor play.
Individual services will be able to tell you more about what funding they can access and what that funding can be used for.
If your child is receiving early intervention resource support, they might sometimes also have an itinerant support teacher helping them and their teacher.
Similarly, if your child is an NDIS participant, they may be able to get treatment from external therapy providers at their early childhood education service.
Individual education plans
Your child should have an individual education plan. In early childhood, all learning is designed for each child’s needs as no two children develop at the same pace.
If your child has disability or additional needs you should be involved in making this plan. Developing the plan could also involve any therapists or other medical professionals who work with your child regularly.
Modifications and adjustments
To make adjustments to support your child, you and the early childhood educators will need to work out what they can do to overcome any barriers to their participation.
You should always be included when it comes to working out what is the best way to support your child. You know your child best, and you can give educators valuable information about your child's strengths and what they might need help with.
Adjustments could mean:
- changing the classroom routine to meet your child’s needs
- using visual prompts or cues
- providing supportive equipment
- changing the classroom activities so that your child can join in.
Some specific examples of adjustments include:
- re-arranging the classroom so that there is enough space for a child with a mobility aid to move around safely
- allowing a child more time to do some activities
- giving a child a visual schedule to follow
- giving children a lot of warning before they need to change what they are doing
- setting up structured play activities or small group activities to help children develop their social skills
- using books with raised print, 3D-printed objects or story boxes to include children with low vision
- reducing background noise to help children listen and concentrate
- breaking instructions down into smaller parts to help children follow them.