At Punchbowl Preschool, we welcome all children and families and value the contributions that each unique individual brings. We work from a strengths-based view. We know that exclusion negatively impacts students with a disability but there are two pedagogical and practice challenges that exist at the classroom and school level hindering inclusive early childhood education.
1. In Australia, 24.2% of students with disability are enrolled in segregated education and another 15.5% in ‘mainstream’ schools are separated from their peers (Cologon, 2019).
2. The Early Years Learning Framework (EYLF) represents the national foundation for quality teaching and learning of children in all early childhood education and care settings; however, the EYLF is not comprehensively applied to all children in early intervention (EI).
We are very excited to be working in partnership with Western Sydney University on a project aimed at building greater inclusion between our mainstream and Early Intervention preschool classes. We will be participating in an action research project in an effort to improve teaching practice and student learning and wellbeing outcomes.
During our action research, we will be involved in undertaking cycles of planning, implementing, data collection and reﬂection to determine the eﬀectiveness of our initiative and inform improvements. We will be using the EYLF to drive the curriculum and provide a shared language between mainstream and Early Intervention educators.
Early Intervention and mainstream educators will be supported by researchers from Western Sydney University (WSU) and the focus of our project is on embedding:
1. Universal Design for Learning (UDL) –focused on the inclusive design of the whole learning environment for all students, including the removal of physical and structural barriers and the provision of multiple and varied formats for instruction and learning. UDL will be applied to create an inclusive play-based environment between the mainstream and EI through modiﬁcations to planning, structure and processes.
2. Co-teaching – by building on UDL and our existing eﬀorts, and focusing on applying eﬀective strategies between mainstream and Early Intervention educators. These strategies include shared planning time, ﬂexibility, deﬁned roles and responsibilities, communication.
This is a wonderful time for all of our preschool classes and I encourage you all to follow our progress on this webpage as we undertake this very important work.