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Inclusion at SDN Paddington

In the first week of my final Early Childhood degree practicum at SDN Paddington, I’ve had the pleasure of observing the beautiful relationships and interactions the Pelican room educators have with their children.

The educators are responsive, warm, thoughtful, and promote confidence and independence in each and every child. As part of the Pelican room, a child named Tilly, who has cerebral palsy, attends once a week. On arrival, Tilly takes only a few moments to settle and familiarise herself with the familiar faces of educators and friends in the Pelican room. Tilly’s day is set out with her unique interests and needs in mind. Drawing, reading, categorising bottle tops by size, playing with friends, constructing small block buildings and having warm, supportive relationships with educators is all part of her usual morning in the Pelican room.

Child painting at easel

Having studied approaches to inclusive classrooms, I could identify the subtle changes to the environment that balanced both Tilly’s unique needs and her ever increasing independence. I observed this this afternoon in Tilly’s painting experience and her interactions with Pelican educator Taki. The set up of the experience included paper at the top of the easel, paint in glass jars at the side, fine and thick brushes, and was positioned in a nook for her to feel comfortable in her seat whilst a friend painted on the other side of the easel. Not only did the set up cater to her needs and love of painting, but it challenged her reach, balance, manipulate and select brushes, and further develop her hand and arm muscle control and movement.

Tilly showed engagement and enjoyment as she painted independently. When Tilly had completed, Taki engaged with her in discussion about her painting using verbal and non-verbal communication means including facial expression, gestures, pointing,  and waiting, to allow Tilly to communicate her ideas and achievement in her work.

Image of childs' painting

Watching this painting experience allowed me to observe first-hand the way that inclusive practice facilitates meaningful and individual learning experiences. I am delighted to be learning from and working alongside dedicated Early Childhood Educators here at SDN Paddington who have adopted inclusive practice as a natural element of the environment and their interactions with Children.

Written by Elisse Maree Kinley

Fourth year student completing a Bachelor of Education (Early Childhood) at the University of Sydney.

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