Deakin delivers free online professional learning to support inclusion in ECEC services
With many people around Australia spending considerable time at home self isolating as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, educators and others working in early childhood education and care (ECEC) settings may find themselves with time to fill.
For those who are using this time to reflect on the needs of the children and families in their care, and wondering how to best meet their interests and needs once life becomes a bit more settled and most children return to education and care, Dr Katherine Bussey a Research Fellow, from the Deakin Child Study Centre (DCSC), Deakin University has prepared the following piece, which outlines the role of AllPlay Learn program in supporting children to support inclusion in education and care settings.
Building the capability of educators and teachers through learning strategies to support full participation of learners with disabilities is a key focus of the Australian Professional Standards for Teaching (APST), Dr Bussey notes.
With this in mind, a range of online professional learning resources have been made available through the AllPlay Learn program created by DCSC at Deakin University, in partnership with the Victorian Department of Education and Training.
AllPlay Learn is based on the AllPlay guiding principles developed by the Director of DCSC, Professor Nicole Rinehart, namely to:
(1) develop programs that are evidence based
(2) meet the needs of all children
(3) focus on real inclusion
(4) change the world and not the child and
(5) partner with peak bodies to make change happen.
The AllPlay Learn website provides educators, teachers and families with access to a wealth of strengths and evidence-based strategies and resources to support inclusive ECEC settings.
AllPlay Learn’s online resources were co-designed with experts and end-users (including families and education professionals) and are easy to download and print for use across homes, long day care, kindergarten and preschools.
Some of the disabilities and developmental challenges which young children may experience, and which are featured on the website include:
- Blindness/low vision
- Cerebral palsy
- Communication and Language Disorders
- Deafness/hard of hearing
- Developmental delay
- Various physical disabilities.
While the resources are available to all, for those working in Victorian ECEC settings, free professional learning courses are available. These courses contribute up to six hours of the professional development time required to renew Victorian Institute of Teaching registration.
For those outside Victoria, the website holds case studies, evidence-based strategies, and disability content included in the courses. After using these resources, the new knowledge can be used to support the learning of children by providing safe, positive and supportive educational environments. Many of the strategies and resources will be relevant to share with families staying at home too.
Deakin researchers are currently undertaking a study which aims to learn more about the experiences of educators and teachers using AllPlay Learn.
Those who are interested in engaging with the study, or in sharing their experiences of how AllPlay Learn may be improved are invited to contact the researchers by email, to [email protected] and follow their work on Facebook or Twitter using @allplay_au.
The AllPlay Learn website can be accessed here.