The learning centre where I work as an educator is committed to provide quality education to children with diverse backgrounds. The centre offers a play school based learning experience to children who are aged between 1 to 5 years. At present it comprises of a student strength of 30 students that hosts a diverse group of special children. The student strength comprises of 3 children who are culturally and linguistically diverse and speak Mandarian, Spanish and Arabic as their first language, 2 children with hyperactive disorders which includes ADHD and oppositional defiance disorder, one child who is autistic, 3 children who are disabled, 2 children with speech and communication disorders and 3 children diagnosed with chronic health issues. It is crucial to note here that the organization has a diverse group of children who need to be managed with utmost care and sensitivity.
The education centre is committed to provide and uphold the concept of imparting quality education, values and overall wellness to all the students who are a part of the organization. The centre works in partnership with various support organizations and uses a combination of strategies to impart education. Strategies include maintaining a family centered and transdisciplinary approach to educate the children. Further special emphasis is put on the creation of an unbiased environment to provide equal opportunities to all the children. The educators working in the organization need to be extremely sensitive while handling the children. Moreover, the organization deals with children aged between 1 to 5 years who are rapidly developing and possess an emotional perspective towards life. It is important to note here that children of this age group lack maturity and rationale to comprehend things and believe what is being told to them (Cologon, 2013). This report aims to provide a detailed explanation about the inclusive pedagogical practice that is followed by the organization in compliance with the NQS standard. Further, the report would also provide an insight into the functioning of the organization along with the support organizations. In addition to the above aspects, an Inclusive Practice and Principles Strategic Plan would also be provided that would explain the manner in which our centre works in collaboration with the support organizations.
As an instructor it is important to be gentle with them and at the same time make them understand concepts. As an educator, I work in a team and in collaboration with other educators as well as professionals who are in charge of taking care of the organization. A team of educators deal with the students and plan the lessons that would be taught to them. Along with that a group of professionals continuously engage in designing workshops and trainings so as to enhance the skills of the teachers in delivering knowledge. The administration is taken care of by the professionals who take care of the resources and materials required to teach the students and improve the infrastructure of the school. A panel of senior professionals organizes workshops for the parents so as to make them aware about the role they could play in shaping the future of their children with special needs. The organization works in collaboration with various governmental and non-governmental institutions so as to incorporate the best set of resources to dispense quality education.
The primary funding sources from where the organization derives funding to help children with disables needs include the NDIS and Inclusive Support Program (Ndis.gov.au, 2018);(Costello & Boyle, 2013). The Inclusion Support Program provides avenue for children with special needs to grab an opportunity to develop and learn instead of being exposed to the traditional method of education (Daniels & Garner, 2013). The organization receives an amount from the Inclusion Development Fund that is used to incorporate resources to help impart knowledge to the children with special needs (Afdo.org.au.,2018). In addition to this, it should be critically mentioned here that the learning centre works in stringent compliance with the National Stringent Quality standards. This includes imparting knowledge as per the National Quality Framework to educate the common as well as the special children in a uniform manner (Acecqa.gov.au, 2018). Further, the learning centre also acts and implements the guidelines published by the NQS for the educational institutions, parents and the community to provide overall development of all the children who are a part of the organization (Acecqa.gov.au, 2018).
The centre primarily focuses on seven areas as per the NQS standard to maintain an inclusive and supportive environment for the children.
The education program is designed in a manner that it provides an unbiased learning environment for children with different needs (Acecqa.gov.au, 2018). The methods used for teaching include the use of scaffolding and intentional teaching methods to provide a healthy learning environment for the children. We strive to constantly upgrade the learning environment by using critical reflection, evaluation and planning cycles. In addition to this a family centered approach is maintained where in we convince the parents to avail the NDIS scheme that is designed to provide medical and financial assistance to disabled children and make the learning a better experience.
Children are taught basic health and hygiene principles and are kept under supervision so as to provide a healthy and safe academic environment (Acecqa.gov.au, 2018).
The organization lays strong emphasis on the use of natural play materials to promote connection of the children with nature and provide a safe physical environment (Acecqa.gov.au, 2018).
The learning centre ensures that a high ratio of educator to child is maintained. This is done as to concentrate on the special needs of the children (Acecqa.gov.au, 2018). Further, the centre has excellent faculty members who are highly qualified to cater to the need of the children. The organization receives aid from the Intervention Support Program and the Inclusion Development Fund so as to include the best available resources and academic material to support an inclusive environment.
The organization maintains a positive environment that is governed by the establishment of a respectful relationship with each child (Acecqa.gov.au, 2018). This is achieved through meaningful interactions and developing a respectable relationship between the children and their parents.
The organization works in collaboration with the families of the children and the support communities based upon active communication and consultation so as to achieve quality outcomes (Acecqa.gov.au, 2018).
The learning centre strives to provide a holistic environment to the children based upon effective leadership and governance (Acecqa.gov.au, 2018). Effective leaders set clear goals for the organization and ensure continuous improvement in terms of service quality offered.
Numerous Inclusion Agencies offer services across the entire continent of Australia. The Australian Capital Territory and New South Wales on the other hand are served by a single Inclusion Agency. In addition, the organization also works with communities such as the Early childhood intervention, Australia; Association for Children with Disability and The Inclusion and Professional Support Program so as to render the best services in order to help children who are physically or mentally challenged (Vaughan, 2013). These welfare organizations provide a wide number of services that can be availed by different educational institutions and learning centers to provide quality education and learning (Slee,2013). The organizations strive to provide facilities in order to address the needs of special children in the following ways:
Culturally and linguistically diverse children:
Professionals: The expert professionals mould the behavioral development of the children through interactive learning and imparting skills to communicate with other children through informative web content (Raising Children Network, 2018)
Organization: Multicultural Health Service (Raising Children Network, 2018)
Support services: Support services include a wide range of facilities to cater to the needs of parents, babies, toddlers, pre-teens and teens (Raising Children Network, 2018)
Children with hearing and speech disorder:
Professionals: Expert professionals who assist children with communication and speech disorders to learn how to communicate (The Shepherd Centre, 2018).
Organization: The Shepherd Centre (The Shepherd Centre, 2018)
Support services: support services include conducting family workshops, delivering emotional coaching and involving children in communication through interaction and gestures (The Shepherd Centre, 2018).
Children with hyperactive disorder:
Professionals: Professionals help in assisting parents with children who have ADHD disorders. Professionals empower the parents about ways in which they could manage the symptoms of their children and accept them completely (The Northern Beaches ADHD Support Group, 2018).
Organizations: The Northern Beaches ADHD support Group (The Northern Beaches ADHD Support Group, 2018)
Support services: Organizes informative workshops for parents who have children with hyperactive disorders and provide the parents a platform to interact with one another. The organization helps in evoking an essence that the parents are not alone in their difficult journey (The Northern Beaches ADHD Support Group, 2018).
Children with Autism:
Professionals: Highly trained professionals offering therapeutic interventions to children with Autism, Down syndrome and other complicated disorders. Professionals also assist the family members in dealing with the special needs of the children (Autism, Disability Support and Early Intervention, 2018).
Organization: Kids First Children’s services (Autism, Disability Support and Early Intervention, 2018)
Support services: Offers a wide range of services such as family counseling, occupational therapy, speech therapy, understanding child psychology and imparting social skills to the children (Autism, Disability Support and Early Intervention, 2018).
Children with disabilities
Professional: Qualified professionals offer assistance to disabled children and guide them thoroughly to achieve their goals in future (Lifestart.org.au, 2018)
Organization: Life start Organization (Lifestart.org.au, 2018)
Support services: Offers a wide range of programs such as therapy support, positive behavior support and early childhood intervention programs (Lifestart.org.au, 2018)
Children with chronic health issues:
Professionals: professionals actively engage in offering assistance to the families of children who are affected with chronic illness (Onedoor.org.au, 2018)
Organization: One door mental health Carer services (Onedoor.org.au, 2018)
Support services: support services include family counseling and imparting care guidelines so as to assist the parents in understanding the psychology and the special needs of their children (Onedoor.org.au, 2018).
Piaget’s theory states that the development of the human brain is primarily based upon the biological maturity and the environmental influence (Beilin & Pufall, 2013). In accordance to this developmental theory our organization strives to ensure and maintain an inclusive learning environment. According to my perspective, I feel that the pedagogical practices required to teach in this learning environment would need me to be able to relate to the psychology of the toddlers (Lee et al., 2015). I strongly feel that, it is extremely important to be able to comprehend things according to the age group of the students that are being handled by me. Inclusion of a family centered approach in the education process can help in the creation of an inclusive environment (Hardy & Woodcock, 2015). It is important to understand that the family members are the immediate care providers of the children and their attitude towards the children have a major role in the developmental process.
As an instructor I would make sure that there are no barriers in the process of learning while dealing with children who are either physically or mentally challenged. Interactive and informative sessions with the parents of the special children would help in devising IFSP and IEP plans that would help in designing the path of academic progress in close association to the parents (Liasidou et al., 2014). In addition to this, I believe maintenance of a positive environment and involving the children in interactive game sessions can help in the learning process. Using pictorial representations and animated videos to teach children would be more appropriate. In addition to this, it should be mentioned here that children with special needs or children who are disabled have improved perception skills and they make use of their sense organs to perceive things. Hence using materials such as modeling clay, blocks or puzzles can help in making the learning experience a better one.
In order to teach the diverse set of children an inclusive curriculum must be followed that would essentially focus on creating an amiable learning environment. Close attention would be paid to the classroom environment that would include bright colored walls, cozy furniture, study materials, notice boards and displays that would help in providing information to the parents as well as the children (Varcoe & Boyle, 2014). Care should be taken to keep the informative notice boards at a lower level so that children can easily read them. The classroom should comprise of materials obtained from nature such as inclusion of wooden furniture or a black board so as to maintain a close connection between the children and nature.
Inclusion of windows would allow natural light to enter the classroom and hence help the children in perceiving the changes in weather throughout the day. Inclusion of special equipments such as therapy balls or sensory equipments would help in imparting education to children with impaired or poor vision (Block et al., 2014). Trainers can teach the visually impaired children the ‘Braille script’ and assist them with glasses. Further, children with hearing issues could be taught how to effectively use other sense organs. The school would also offer assistance to such children in the form of support from an audiologist or a speech therapist. In addition to this, creation of a linguistically diverse environment is pivotal to enable effective learning (Block et al., 2014).
Communication skills can be improved by the use of a universal language such as English as the medium of instruction to train in the classroom (Manning et al., 2017). Teaching practices would involve the concept of choice making. Activities could be designed that would offer two choices to a child and would evaluate the choice made by the child. The application of Mand’s model would be used to effectively evaluate the choice made by the child on the basis of detecting conversation lead while engaging in open ended conversation with the child, making use of incidental teaching that is characterized by waiting for the child to initiate a conversation and detecting the delay in obtaining response from the child (Varcoe & Boyle, 2014). Strategies that would be undertaken to incorporate an effective inclusive curriculum would include, task analysis, prompting and facding, forward chaining and backward chaining.
While dealing with special children it is important to understand that they do not possess excellent memory retention power or the ability to comprehend things. Hence, breaking a complex task into fragments would provide them an opportunity to understand the task and attain success. Prompting and using physical gestures can help the children in grasping a skill faster (Daniels & Garner, 2013). Forward chaining involves teaching the precursor step of a task and prompting the remaining steps so as to enhance the skills of the children. On the other hand backward chaining makes use of prompting the initial steps of the tasks and teaching the last steps s as to make the child more confident (Daniels & Garner, 2013). Hence inclusion of these pedagogical strategies can effectively help in designing a perfect inclusive curriculum.
Hence, to conclude it can be said that the primary requirement needed to efficiently design an inclusive curriculum is based on enforcing the principles of complete acceptance and breaking down barriers. In addition it can also be said that creating a family centered approach along with offering support to the disabled children from different support organizations across Australia, learning can be transformed into a happy experience for the special children.
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