The WA Inclusion Agency (WAIA) delivers the Inclusion Support Program in Western Australia. It is a free government-funded initiative providing assistance to all eligible early childhood education and care (ECEC) services to be confident and capable of including all children.
What Is Inclusion?
Inclusion occurs when early childhood education and care services, families and other professionals work in partnership to make informed and thoughtful decisions relating to curriculum, care and support for children. All children have a right to be included and feel a sense of belonging and the Early Years Learning Framework (EYLF) recognises that all children should have equitable access to resources and participation, and opportunities to demonstrate their learning and value difference.
Inclusion looks like:
- Children playing and having fun together;
- Children being listened to and communicated with;
- Educators respecting and valuing all children;
- Children participating, being involved and making decisions;
- Educators making modifying environments and making changes to their practices.
Who Can The WA Inclusion Agency Help?
ECEC services who have been approved by the department of Education, Skills and Employment for the provision of Child Care Subsidy (CCS) are eligible for support from WA Inclusion Agency. Access to some elements of the Inclusion Support Program require additional criteria.
Eligible ECEC services are:
- Centre Based Day Care
- Outside School Hours Care (including before, after and Vacation care)
- Family Day Care
All children benefit from inclusion, and children who have opportunities to interact and participate in an inclusive setting are more likely to achieve better outcomes both socially and academically.
While there is no national definition of 'additional needs', a range of risk factors may lead children with particular characteristics to be vulnerable to suboptimal learning and life outcomes and need specific considerations or adaptions to fully participate in ECECs.
Additional needs may arise for:
- Children who have a disability
- Children from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds
- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children
- Children from a refugee or humanitarian background
- Children with serious medical or health condition/s including mental health
- Children with learning, language or speech delays
- Children presenting with challenging (or disruptive) behaviours
- Children presenting with trauma related behaviours
- Children at risk of not meeting developmental targets
Children who the ECEC is seeking to include through support from the Inclusion Support Program must meet the eligibility requirements for the Child Care Subsidy.