Because their daughter has a complicated medical condition, it has been hard for parents Sally and Gerard to enrol Maddison in a childcare program and trust that the educators could care for her. Yet, with STaR’s encouragement, Maddie’s parents did this late in 2017 when she was 3 years and 4 months old. Because Maddie is peg fed and needs suctioning to breathe and to swallow, it was a challenge for educators to welcome the family and give Maddie the chance to play and learn as ‘one of the kids’. Yet the staff at Kids Early Learning – Seven Hills East embraced her.
STaR has been the ‘glue’, supporting and mentoring all involved. Key to the process is Rosie, one of STaR’s educators with special education qualifications. She writes Maddie’s ongoing Inclusion Support Plan with input from her parents, educators and therapists. Together they develop the goals and strategies that fit Maddie’s current strengths, needs and interests. Sally and Gerard are thrilled with Maddie’s progress.
Maddie is cheeky and sociable. She shares a laugh and a smile with the children around her, and playing with them in the sand is one of her favourite things. Painting, water play, cutting with scissors and pretend play are also activities she loves. She is learning to take turns in games and to use sentences to talk about pictures in books. Maddie is clever! You see this when she completes a tricky puzzle or works at writing her name. In parallel with her growing communication and social skills, this little girl is improving her balance and physical strength through little challenges during afternoon play and group time on the mat. Inclusive early childhood education and care – what a lovely way for Maddie to learn!