Because their daughter had a complicated medical condition, it was 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, in 2017 Maddie’s parents did this when she was 3 years and 4 months old. Because Maddie was peg fed and needed 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 was the ‘glue’, supporting and mentoring all involved. Key to the process was Rosie, one of STaR’s educators with special education qualifications. She wrote Maddie’s ongoing Inclusion Support Plan with input from her parents, educators and therapists. Together they developed the goals and strategies to fit Maddie’s current strengths, needs and interests. Sally and Gerard were thrilled with Maddie’s progress.
Cheeky and sociable, Maddie shared a laugh and a smile with the children around her, and playing with them in the sand was one of her favourite things. Painting, water play, cutting with scissors and pretend play were also activities she loved. She learned to take turns in games and to use sentences to talk about pictures in books. Maddie was clever! You saw this when she completed a tricky puzzle or worked at writing her name. In parallel with her growing communication and social skills, this little girl improved 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!