Community Vision Featured in FDCA JiGSAW Magazine

Community Vision News

Community Vision Featured in FDCA JiGSAW Magazine

Specialist Support for Family Day Care Educators

Our FDC Coordinator, Samantha Folann, recently penned an article for FDCA’s JiGSAW Magazine. Read the article below.

Our service, Community Vision Family Day Care were recently approved for a $40,000 funded Innovative Solutions Project (ISP). This funding is provided by the Inclusion Development Fund Manager (IDFM) and is available to all family day care services. It provides training in areas where services can see barriers to children’s learning and development.

We have a small number of children with additional needs in care and I saw this fact being due to our Educators having their own barriers in place, holding them back from feeling able to take additional needs children in to care confidently.

When asking our Educators what they would like their next Professional Development to be focused on, we had a majority vote back for Understanding Autism. I researched Autism RTO’s within
Perth and sent a message off to multiple organisations to see if they’d be able to offer a one off workshop for our Educators. One response was from Gee, the owner of Autism Inclusion who said this isn’t something she usually offers but does do extended projects with services, spanning over a few months or so.

I was initially a little disappointed when I read on that there’s usually funding available to services, but Gee had only ever seen this be approved for long day care and not family day care. Gee suggested I contact our Inclusion Professional (IP) to seek further advice.

I reached out to Helen, our IP from Communicare, and asked for her advice. She too was unsure if this could work for the family day care structure so the three of us met up and started to discuss the possibilities. I gathered information from our Educators regarding any barriers they may be noticing within their settings, or any focus children they may have in care who might benefit from their Educator being more knowledgeable in the Autism area. I then needed to create profiles for each Educator within the Inclusion Support Portal and work along side Gee and Helen to
put together a project plan. This process took around eight months to complete but I feel it could have happened quicker if I’d pushed a little more. We finally got the tick of approval in April 2023.

The goal of our project was to address Educators’ barriers to being an inclusive service. The project plan that we put together included five, four-hour workshops which focussed on Understanding
Autism, implementing visual aids, understanding and supporting behaviour and self-regulation, sensory processing, building play and social skills and finally, reflection and planning for ongoing
inclusive practice.

The project also included 90 one-to-one mentoring sessions across the 20 services that opted into the project. These mentoring sessions consisted of Gee attending the Educator’s family day care service and working alongside them, offering tips and tools on how to approach situations that would benefit both the child and the Educator. The bonus of having Gee work directly with our Educators is that she has vast experience working in the early years and Autism sector and can provide advice for all learning styles. Gee has also provided our Educators with numerous visual supports and is on hand to answer questions via email, call and text.

We have had positive feedback from our Educators regarding the benefits they have noticed since Gee has been sharing her wisdom with them. They feel extremely well supported by her and in turn, by us.

Our coordination team also attended some of the one-to-one mentoring visits, occasionally to help supervise the children whilst the Educator works closely with Gee and other times to take the opportunity to take in the information being shared. This enables us to be able to pass on this information to other Educators who may find themselves in similar situations. Because the
coordination team are also taking part in the training and gaining knowledge, our project is sustainable and has the potential to be used in the future.

If you are reading this and feel like an Innovative Solutions Project is something you may benefit from, get in touch with your coordinator and enquire about it. These projects not only cover Autism, but they can also cover culture, bilingual services, specific needs and more.

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