Leor creates innovative career growth program for educators looking to diversify
The early childhood education and care (ECEC) landscape is evolving, and educators now have more choices than ever before when it comes to finding a role which aligns with their personal philosophy, pedagogy and perspectives when working with children and families.
Driven in part by the global COVID-19 pandemic, many families and educators are reconsidering what their optimal ECEC experience may look like, particularly for those educators and families who are medically fragile or vulnerable in other ways.
With this in mind, we spoke with Andrea Christie David, who heads up in home care provider Leor, to learn more about an innovative approach Leor is taking to cater to the increasing demand for in-home care services which also embraces the changing needs of educators.
Who uses in-home care services?
Many of the families who use Leor’s services, particularly since becoming an NDIS provider, do so because their children are medically or socially vulnerable, and need a different level of care.
In-home care offers support to children and families who cannot access mainstream care for a variety of reasons, including having high levels of additional needs which cannot be catered for in a traditional service, or ongoing issues caused by trauma.
For some families, full time attendance at a traditional service is not feasible, and as such, they access a combination of in-home and in-centre services. Other families are living in remote environments where care options are limited, or are undertaking shift work which is not consistent with the opening hours of services available in their area.
Rise in demand
The team at Leor noticed a spike in demand for their services following the COVID-19 pandemic, with Ms Christie David saying in-home care was one of the few ECEC service types to see a jump in demand for care, with enquiries at well above pre COVID levels.
Currently, the waitlist for Leor’s services is “huge and growing” she continued, which has driven a need to innovate and quickly attract educators to meet the need for care from families.
Combining allied health and ECEC
Knowing that educators value both job security and the opportunity to participate in professional development and career growth, Ms Christie David worked with the Leor team to create a four week intensive training program, which would uniquely position educators to work with vulnerable children and families.
The Career Growth Training Program allows educators to receive a guaranteed job offer at the end of a four week intensive study program, which involves face to face, online and self-guided components, and is taught by experienced allied health professionals and early childhood educators and teachers.
The course covers the differences between in-home care and more traditional ECEC environments, managing children with complex medical or behavioural needs, how to handle emergency situations, and how to adapt children’s learning to both their specific needs, as well as their interests.
It is the final point, Ms Christie David said, which is the biggest learning for many of the educators who complete the course having come from a background of programming to design learning experiences and intentional teaching around children’s interests, rather than a specific need or needs.
Working in collaboration
Under Leor’s program, educators work closely with speech and occupational therapists and other allied health professionals to learn more about adapting programs of learning which are compliant with the EYLF to meet therapeutic goals.
Educators also work alongside a lead educator and holistic education teacher to ensure that both educators and children’s needs are supported through site visits, and to ensure that educators are not feeling isolated when dealing with complex families whilst building their confidence.
Families are sometimes onsite when educators are working in the home, and educators will on occasion work in conjunction with allied health professionals to meet therapeutic goals.
Educators who come from other settings to join Leor as in-home care educators say they value the opportunity to build close relationships with children and families.
“We find that once educators join our team, they particularly enjoy seeing children achieve outcomes in shorter time frames under their guidance, which is the most rewarding part of their job.” Ms Christie-David noted.
For some children, the availability of in-home care support can help them to achieve their goals more quickly and effectively, leaving them free to transition to more mainstream care options.
Those educators who are interested in learning more about the Career Growth Training Program can learn more through this link.