Professionals sought for PhD research which aims to make ECEC more inclusive
Victorian early childhood education and care (ECEC) professionals who have experience in working with children with additional needs are being sought by a researcher who is gaining her doctoral degree with the aim of adding to the body of research on inclusive early childhood education in Australia.
Through participation in an online or phone based interview, educators who are working in the sector will join researcher Samantha Webster, contributing to a sector-university partnership which also includes Noah’s Ark Inc and RMIT University.
While Ms Webster’s research investigates the perceptions of early childhood professionals as well as parents of children with a disability or developmental delay, she also hopes to be able to shed some light on effective professional learning approaches that equip educators to support all children’s learning and development in an inclusive setting.
The research has personal significance to Ms Webster, who felt “a sense of frustration” when she moved from her own tertiary studies into the world of working directly with children.
“I realised that my degree had set me up to teach a mythical ‘typical’ student but in reality, my classroom was made up of highly diverse individuals. Unsure of how to differentiate a curriculum and meet my students where they were at, I was driven to pursue a master’s degree in inclusive education. From there I became more and more interested in children’s learning and development in the early years and so decided to gain some experience in the sector when I moved to Melbourne in 2016,” she said.
Having originally trained as a primary school teacher, Ms Webster moved to working in the early years just over four years ago when she relocated to Melbourne from Cape Town, South Africa.
Since then, she has worked as an educator in various settings and as a Director of a not-for-profit community Kindergarten.
“Having experienced working for a large company in a long day care setting before moving to a not-for-profit community Kindergarten has given me an appreciation for just how different these settings can be, and has made me think about how we train and support educators in inclusive education across the sector,” she said.
As well as adding to inclusive education research, Ms Webster hopes that her work will “shed some light” on effective professional learning approaches that equip educators to support all children’s learning and development in an inclusive setting.
To learn more about Ms Webster’s work, please email [email protected]
To participate in the research, please leave your contact details here.