Kindergarten inclusion for children with disabilities

Support packages for funded kindergartens to support participation of children with disabilities, high support and complex medical needs.

The support from the Kindergarten Inclusion Support (KIS) packages is in addition to the existing resources available to the kindergarten staff and may not provide full coverage of all costs.

Short term assistance support

A trial support program funded to operate during the 2018 and 2019 kindergarten years. The program expands the number of children eligible for support under the KIS program.

The program assists kindergartens to plan and provide for the inclusion of children with a diagnosed disability or developmental delay.

Support will contribute to the implementation of a short-tem inclusion action plan for up to 10 weeks. There is a maximum amount of $2,850 available for each child. Support can be in two areas:

Program practice support

to assist in planning and implementation of an inclusive program that is responsive to an individual child’s learning and development needs.

Specialist consultancy and training

for early childhood educators to participate in specific training to gain understanding of the child’s needs or specialist consultancy to meet the individual needs of the child with a disability (e.g. adjustments, adaptations and modifications of the kindergarten program).

Following the approval of the application, the kindergarten will purchase the necessary supports and, upon presentation of an invoice and proof that the service has been delivered, will be reimbursed for the approve funds.

Apply

More information/ contacts

Contact the Administering Organisation, Uniting Victoria/Tasmania Ltd on

Disability and complex medical needs support

KIS disability and complex medical needs packages are specifically focused on enhancing the kindergarten’s capacity to provide an inclusive program for children with a disability and high ongoing support needs.

Disability packages - eligibility and application forms

Complex medical needs - eligibility and application forms

More information/ contacts

Contact the regional advisory group convenor for your area:

South Western Victoria Region

LGAs: Greater Geelong,  Colac-Otway, Corangamite, Glenelg, Moyne, Southern Grampians, Surf Coast, Queenscliffe and Rural City of Warrnambool, contact:

KIS Program
Gateways Support Services
10-12 Albert Street, Geelong West, 3218
Tel (03) 5221 2984

LGAs: Brimbank, Hobsons Bay, Maribyrnong, Melbourne, Melton, Moonee Valley and Wyndham, contact:

KIS Program
Lentara Uniting Care
PO Box 3217, Broadmeadows, 3047
Tel (03) 9351 3600

LGAs: City of Ballarat, Rural City of Ararat, Golden Plains, Hepburn, Moorabool and Pyrenees, contact:

KIS Program
Pinarc Disability Support
PO Box 1841, Bakery Hill Business Centre, Ballarat, 3354
Tel (03) 5329 1300

LGAs: Rural City of Horsham, Hindmarsh, Northern Grampians,  West Wimmera and Yarriambiak, contact:

KIS Program
Wimmera Uniting Care
PO Box 3402, Horsham 3410
Tel (03) 5382 6789

South Eastern Victoria Region

LGAs: Bass Coast, Baw Baw, East Gippsland, Latrobe, South Gippsland, Wellington, contact:

KIS Program
Department of Education and Training
PO Box 381, Moe 3825
Tel (03) 5127 0400

LGAs: Bayside, Cardinia, Casey, Frankston, Glen Eira, Greater Dandenong, Kingston, Mornington, Port Phillip, Stonnington, contact:

KIS Program
Yooralla
PO Box 5435, Cranbourne, 3977
Tel (03) 5990 9640

North Western Victoria Region

LGAs: Buloke, Campaspe, Central Goldfields, Gannawarra, Greater Bendigo, Loddon, Macedon Ranges, Mildura, Mount Alexander, Swan Hill, contact:

KIS Program
Department of Education and Training
PO Box 442, Bendigo, 3552
Tel (03) 5440 3111

LGAs: Banyule, Darebin, Hume, Moreland, Nillumbik, Whittlesea, Yarra, contact:

KIS Program
Lentara Uniting Care
PO Box 3217, Broadmeadows, 3047
Tel (03) 9351 3600

North Eastern Victoria Region

LGAs: Alpine, Benalla, Shepparton, Indigo, Mansfield, Mitchell, Moira, Murrindindi, Strathbogie, Towong, Wangaratta, Wodonga, contact:

KIS Program
SCOPE - Ovens Murray and Goulburn Region (East)
PO Box 128, Benalla, 3672
Tel (03) 5762 7121

LGAs: Boroondara, Whitehorse, Knox, Manningham, Maroondah, Monash, Yarra Ranges, contact:

KIS Program
Connections
PO Box 354, Ringwood 3134
Tel (03) 9871 0215

Preschool field officer program

All Victorian state funded kindergarten programs are eligible to receive Preschool field officers (PSFO) services to support the access and participation of children with additional needs in a kindergarten program.

The PSFO program defines children with additional needs as children in a funded kindergarten program presenting with developmental concerns.

Children covered under PSFO program

Developmental concerns may be associated with any area of a children’s development, from language delays or challenging behaviours through to children with multiple disabilities.

Children must be attending or about to commence a funded kindergarten program for the kindergarten to receive PSFO support. The target group is also inclusive of children in receipt of Early Start kindergarten funding who are attending a kindergarten program delivered by a degree qualified early childhood educator.

If a child’s development is already supported by an early childhood intervention service it is expected that the kindergarten educator will seek inclusion support from this provider, not the PSFO.

The PSFO role

The primary role of the PSFO is to engage with the early childhood educator, not to work one on one with children. The support role may include:

  • provision of information and resources, and identification of adaptations, strategies and experiences to inform programming for a child with additional needs
  • supporting a kindergarten educator’s identification of a child with additional needs through contributing to the assessment of the child’s capabilities as well as their learning and development needs
  • supporting a kindergarten educator’s confidence and capacity to respond to a parent’s concerns regarding their child’s development
  • provision of planning support that respects, acknowledges and complements the educator’s expertise in supporting children’s learning and development
  • coaching of an educator to assist with planning and implementation of an inclusive kindergarten program that supports a child with additional needs
  • building professional partnerships and collaborative relationships with kindergarten educators
  • modelling of specific skills, suggestions and strategies with educators
  • assistance to an educator to embed child specific teaching and learning approaches and opportunities into the everyday kindergarten environment
  • identification of referral pathways and facilitation of linkages for families to the range of child and family supports, including more specialised assessment and services where indicated.

This capacity building approach of early childhood educators is also referred to as a ‘with and through others’ approach and recognises that those who are with the child the most will have a greater impact on the child’s development.

Qualifications and capabilities of the PSFO

PSFOs should be a degree qualified early childhood educator with experience in delivering high quality inclusive kindergarten programs and have the following capabilities:

  • a practical and theoretical knowledge of both program planning and program delivery in kindergarten settings
  • an understanding and ability to apply the practice principles and child outcomes of the Victorian early years learning and development framework (VEYLDF) in their PSFO role
  • a strong understanding of typical and atypical child development as well as the potential impact of additional needs on a child’s learning, wellbeing and development
  • strong interpersonal and communication skills
  • a sound understanding of program strategies and adaptations to support children’s learning
  • expertise and knowledge of specialist referral networks that bridge the gap between kindergarten and specialist services
  • a strong understanding of inclusive practice to support responsiveness to the diverse needs of all children in the context of kindergarten programs
  • an understanding of the impact of trauma and disadvantage on a child’s development and the importance of relationships in fostering a child’s learning and development
  • an understanding of how to facilitate change and experience with capacity building strategies including collaboration, consultation and coaching
  • a demonstrated ability to work in collaborative partnerships with other professionals, build and manage a diverse range of networks and form positive working relationships with early childhood professionals
  • a demonstrated knowledge and understanding of the barriers and enablers of inclusion in kindergarten settings
  • experience in responding to the diversity of children, families and educators including recognising and building on strengths.

PSFO addresses by region

South Western Victoria

Gateway Support Services
10-12 Albert Street, Geelong West, 3218
Phone: 5221 2984

Gateway Support Services
50 Thompson Street, Hamilton, 3300
Phone: 5571 9114

Wimmera Uniting
PO Box 442, Horsham, 3402
Phone: 5382 6789

Pinarc Disability Support
PO Box 1841, Mail Centre, Ballarat, 3354
Phone: 5333 4721

Brimbank City Council
PO Box 70, Sunshine, 3020
Phone: 9249 4210

Shire of Melton
PO Box 21, Melton, 3337
Phone: 9747 7257

Wyndham City Council
PO Box 197, Werribee, 3030
Phone: 9742 8199

Moonee Valley City Council
PO Box 126, Moonee Ponds, 3039
Phone: 9243 1052

Lentara Uniting
PO Box 4, North Melbourne, 3051
Phone: 0417 318 569

Hobsons Bay City Council
PO Box 21, altona, 3018
Phone: 9932 1000

North Eastern Victoria

Knox City Council
511 Burwood Highway, Wantirna South, 3152
Phone: 9298 8328

Manningham City Council
699 Doncaster Road, Doncaster, 3108
Phone: 9840 9333

Shire of Yarra Ranges
PO Box 105, Lilydale, 3140
Phone: 1300 368 333

City of Monash
PO Box 1, Glen Waverley, 3150
Phone: 9518 3549

City of Boroondara
Private Bag 1, Camberwell, 3124
Phone: 9278 4444

Uniting Connections
PO Box 354, Ringwood, 3134
Phone: 9871 0221

Scope (Victoria)
PO Box 128, Benalla, 3672
Phone: 5762 7121

Wangaratta Upper Murray Family Care
PO Box 389, Wangaratta, 3677
Phone: 5720 0000

Wodonga Upper Murray Family Care
PO Box 725, Wodonga, 3690
Phone: (02) 6055 8000

North Western Victoria

St Lukes Anglicare
PO Box 315, Bendigo, 3552
Phone: 5440 1100 and 5440 1111

St Lukes Anglicare
PO Box 137, Kyneton, 3444
Phone: 5422 6052

St Lukes Anglicare
PO Box 1147, Echuca, 3564
Phone: 5482 0910

Mallee Family Care
PO Box 1870, Mildura, 3502
Phone: 5023 5966

Noah's Ark Murray Early Intervention Service
64 Pye Street, Swan Hill, 3585
Phone: 5032 2351

City of Moreland
Locked Bag 10, Moreland, 3058
Phone: 9240 2333
Fax: 9240 1252

City of Yarra
PO Box 168, Richmond, 3121
Phone: 9205 5441

Darebin City Council
8a Newcastle Street, Thornbury, 3071
Phone: 8470 8100

City of Hume
Pascoe Vale Road, Broadmeadows, 3047
Phone: 9205 2537

Lentara Uniting (Nillumbik, Banyule, Whittlesea)
C/O St Andrews Uniting Church Kindergarten, Corner Rattray and Mountain View Roads, Montmorency, 3094
Phone: Nillumbik 0417 315 687, Banyule 0417 312 348, Whittlesea 0417 311 688

South Eastern Victoria

South Gippsland Shire Council
Locked Bag 4, Leongatha, 3953
Phone: 5662 9205

Latrobe City Council
PO Box 264, Morwell, 3840
Phone: 1300 367 700

Uniting Gippsland
PO Box 1454, Bairnsdale, 3875
Phone: 5152 9600

City of Casey
PO Box 1000, Narre Warren 3805
Phone: 9705 5200

Uniting Connections
274 High Street, Windsor, 3181
Phone: 9521 5666

City of Greater Dandenong
PO Box 200, Dandenong, 3175
Phone: 8571 1814 and 8571 1817

Uniting Connections
PO Box 2964, Cheltenham, 3192
Phone: 9584 4884

Uniting Connections
PO Box 638, Mornington, 3931
Phone: 5977 0423

Cardinia Shire Council
PO Box 7, Pakenham, 3810
Phone: 1300 787 624

Baw Baw Shire Council
PO Box 304, Warragul, 3820
Phone: 5624 2540

Inclusion at your kindergarten

Inclusive programs provide for each child’s interests and abilities, across all the learning and development outcomes identified in the Victorian Early Years Learning and Development Framework (VEYLDF).

A team approach

To effectively deliver a kindergarten program that is inclusive of all children, all staff must be involved. Your management team should actively support and promote this approach through philosophy, policies and procedures.

Inclusive teams:

  • include everyone working to support the child and family
  • work together to deliver an inclusive program for all children that focuses on each child’s abilities and interests
  • demonstrate high expectations for all children in the program
  • implement inclusive practice in every day programming
  • provide opportunities for all children to meaningfully participate in all aspects of the program
  • have open and ongoing constructive communication between staff members, and with families and kindergarten management
  • share information and express their ideas and are willing to learn from each other’s varied expertise
  • show flexibility in the way they deliver programs
  • build relationships within the team and with families and children to develop a warmth and trust.
Benefits for children with a disability
  • educators actively plan for the learning and development of the child supporting children to learn alongside their peers as a member of the community
  • the child is supported to develop secure relationships, which encourages them to learn and actively participate in the group
  • warm and trusting relationships with staff allow the child to develop a strong sense of self, friendships with others in the group and a sense of belonging to the group and the broader community.
Benefits for all children in the program

As children develop a more knowledgeable sense of self they learn to work collaboratively with others and offer care, empathy and respect. A whole of team approach to inclusion also fosters an appreciation of diversity within the kindergarten environment and the broader community. All children are supported to:

  • recognise that disability is not the only element of diversity
  • understand and respect other forms of diversity; including, differences in each other, their families and cultures
  • develop an appreciation of similarities between each other as well as differences.
Benefits for families

A team approach to inclusion support families to:

  • feel welcome and a part of the kindergarten and broader community
  • develop meaningful relationships with all kindergarten staff and feel confident that every staff member  understands their child’s interests, abilities and support needs
  • to trust and value each other’s contributions, with each sharing insights and decision making around their child’s learning and development.

It is also important for families that their child feels a sense of belonging in the program, has developed friendships, and has the opportunity to engage in the full range of learning and development activities offered to all children in the program.

Benefits for educators

In taking a team approach to inclusion, the educators:

  • have the capacity to respond to the individual needs of all children in the kindergarten program
  • develop meaningful relationships with all children informing their ability to respond to their individual interests, abilities and needs
  • work in an environment where they feel respected and valued as a contributing member of the team.

More information