Mother Duck childcare worker playing games with young children.

Mother Duck an inclusive place to “be you”

Did you know that Inclusion matters? Not just for children, but our families and the wider communities of which Mother Duck is a part of. Early Childhood Australia (2016) defines inclusion as “every child has access to, participates meaningfully in, and experiences positive outcomes from early childhood education and care programs” (p. 2).  At Mother Duck, we pride ourselves on creating an inclusive community, supporting the individual needs of all children, their families, educators, and the community.

Access

At Mother Duck, we acknowledge families as children’s first and most important teachers, establishing children’s social, cultural, and linguistic identities. Our services support a diversity-rich inclusive community where children and families are welcomed to share who they are and contribute to our learning community.

To ensure all children have access to supportive and appropriate learning opportunities, we first need to know our children and families. To do this we need to ask ourselves; What do we know about our children? What do we know from our relationships with the families? What can our children and families offer our community?

It is when these questions are answered, during the initial interactions upon enrolment and throughout their learning journey, then we can create a sense of belonging and tailor an inclusive environment where all children can thrive and succeed.

Along with our collaborative partnerships with families, our educating team may also work collaboratively with external services (Inclusion Support QLD and allied health professionals) to ensure all children have access to high-quality education and care.

Participation

When you walk into a Mother Duck community, you may notice that our environments offer a sense of peace, security, safety, and belonging; it may be some children and families’ second home. We don’t always know what is happening outside of the service, we don’t always know how the children’s mornings have been or what’s happening in their lives and how this may affect them. We cannot always control this; but what we can control is providing a warm, welcoming, safe space for children and their families, a place where children and families feel a sense of belonging, a safe haven to “be”.

Our environments are intentional and inclusive to support the individual needs of all children are supported to make decisions to reflect their learning needs; busy active spaces to challenge children’s motor development and provide opportunities for risky play to create confident and capable children and quiet spaces to allow children to retreat as they require.

Our environments offer opportunities for children to engage in peer-to-peer learning, supporting the development and expression of emotions, self-esteem, resilience, perseverance, and self-identity. Some key elements to foster inclusiveness within our environments may include:

  • Sensory exploration (Clay, mud, water, sand, tactile).
  • Sensory spaces (darken spaces for regulation).
  • Quiet and calming spaces.
  • ‘Nook’ spaces for children to retreat.
  • Physical spaces to challenge children’s development and encourage risky play.

At Mother Duck, our educators and teachers play a vital role in establishing inclusive practices, allowing participation within the curriculum. The first five years of a child’s life are described as the most important years, not only for their development but for establishing strong foundations and positive relationships for life-long learning.

It is during these years that families, educators, teachers, and other influential adults in children’s lives build strong, inclusive connections with them, supporting the development of positive self-identities and a sense of belonging to their community.

Through these relationships, children develop security, safety, and a sense of belonging; this need for security and belonging forms the foundations of children’s individual needs, development, and future learning.

Abraham Maslow’s ‘The Hierarchy of Needs’ theory highlights children’s basic need for safety, security, and belonging and suggests that if these needs are not satisfied, children may not reach their full potential. At Mother Duck, our relationships with children and families are foundational to our practices.  

Positive outcomes

Our educating teams acknowledge children’s right to access high-quality (and inclusive) education for life-long learning and support them to reach their full potential.

Our teams act in the best interest of children and apply a holistic and play-based approach to early childhood education, creating positive outcomes for children.

Foundation of our practices is our Image of Child; this is the way we view our work with and alongside children. Our services view all children as competent and capable teachers and learners, and our educating teams intentionally plan strategies to engage in meaningful and purposeful experiences to promote children’s natural desires for learning.

Our educators are responsive to children’s individual learning needs in their planning, adapting, and modifying the curriculum to allow all children to successfully participate and achieve their desired outcomes. Some key elements to foster inclusiveness within our educator practices may include:

  • Establishing secure relationships.
  • Small group opportunities.
  • Supporting children’s self-regulation.
  • Providing uninterrupted time to play and be.
  • Providing predictable and flexible rituals and traditions.
  • Scaffolding children learning.
  • Knowing our children and their individual needs and capabilities.

All children and their families deserve to belong and feel included in our community, and through our environments, relationships, and practices, our teams at Mother Duck strive to achieve this. Inclusion in early childhood education matters!


Quality Child Care at 10 Centres in The Greater Brisbane Region

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