Together We Grow Childcare & Learning Centre is committed to fostering a school environment that promotes and sustains high quality inclusive Early Childhood Education and Care. We provide opportunities for all children to develop their language, social, physical and cognitive abilities. All children, including those identified with special needs are welcomed and valued.
This policy provides direction to all staff, students and volunteers about the importance of inclusion and ways to best implement it.
The following principles guide all our services:
- Inclusive programs are quality programs
- We must be responsive to the needs of our community
- Children have the right to attend child care within the community of their choice
- Our programming should be reflective of the varying needs of our participants
- All children are welcome and bring value to our program
- Children are best supported through collaboration
- Parents are integral to a successful inclusion process
- Every child is an individual and is unique
- You place the person first and not the special need
- Everyone has the right to privacy and dignity
- Children learn best when they participate with others who have different goals and abilities
- Fair does not always mean everyone gets the same
- Good programming requires a dedicated staff who are flexible in their approach and who are provided with learning opportunities wherever possible
For all children to fully participate in education, care and community, they must have equal access to programs including Early Childhood Education programs. Children who, due to emotional, familial, physical, behavioural, developmental, cognitive, communicative or emotional factors, are at risk of not maximizing their potential. Special needs encompass children who require support and assistance with daily living, whether formally diagnosed or not, and whether a diagnosis is short- or long-term in nature.
Together We Grow Learning & Childcare Centre ensures that this Policy and Procedure is reviewed by staff, students, and volunteers prior to commencing employment, and annually thereafter. We also keep a written record of the review which is signed by the staff member, as well as by the person who made the review. This written record is kept on file for at least two (2) years from the time of entry. Training for all staff, students and volunteers will ensure: o Communication of policy and procedure components o Individual roles and expectations o Importance of inclusive practices o Successful placement for children with special needs. o Staff's ability to advocate for inclusion with all parents
Together We Grow Learning & Childcare Centre uses the Early Referral Identification Kit (ERIK) to determine whether a child between the ages of 6 months to 4 years old could benefit from early intervention services, speech-language serves, etc. This kit identifies developmental delays related to speech, language and early literacy (including motor speech, articulation, stuttering and voice disorders or delays), fine and gross motor skills, cognitive skills, social skills, feeding skills and sensory development. There is a checklist for the following age groups: 6 months, 9 months, 12 months, 18 months, 24 months, 30 months, 36 months, and 48 months. This tool is only used with parental consent.
Research suggests that one of the most critical aspects of effective inclusion practices is the attitude of practitioners. In order to optimize access, Together We Grow Learning & Childcare Centre liaises with Special Needs Resource Staff (i.e. early interventionists, speech language pathologists, etc) to create individualized programming for any child that may require it. Documented Individualized program planning (IPP) will be shared with ECE’s, ECA’s, parents, specialists and the child themselves to ensure it meets their needs.
Confidentiality is important to establish and maintain trusting and lasting relationships among parents/legal guardians and professionals. Confidentiality is the cornerstone to ensure that privileged information is accessible only to those authorized to have access. It acknowledges respect for an individual's right to privacy. Furthermore, it builds respect for human relationships in which personal information is shared and assumes that those who pledge to safeguard confidential information will do so.
Together We Grow Learning & Childcare Centre will foster partnerships by working collaboratively with parents and community supports in order to meet the needs of all children. The centre will, with the consent of the parent, enlist services from Special Needs Resourcing for children for whom they feel, or the parent feels, may need extra support.
Together We Grow staff, students and volunteers will ensure all families interested in admission to the child care program are dealt with in a fair and equitable manner. Admission Procedures are followed for all families, including sharing information on all related policies and procedures.
Transitions to school are a critical time for all children, but research suggests that transition issues are much more pronounced for children with identified special needs than other children (Janus et al., 2007; Lloyd, Irwin & Hertzman, 2009). In order to support children with special educational needs transitioning into schools, it is important to coordinate the sharing of information among early childhood services, schools and parents.
Together We Grow staff and resource consultants will be responsible for coordinating a smooth transition as they are an important source of information for the school system. The IPP will be used to transfer essential information to the school system. This will ensure that all information documented and known to date about the child is transferred to appropriate school staff.
If the program is having difficulty meeting the child’s needs, the program will ensure:
- All families asked to withdraw from child care program are dealt with in a fair and equitable manner
- Notice of withdrawal is consistent with the Withdrawal Policy of the program and is the same for all families. It should include written notice of withdrawal, documentation of meetings and discussions with special needs support staff when appropriate
- Reasonable care has been taken in assessing the child's needs, including the program's ability to support those needs
- Special needs resources and other outside agency support have been exhausted prior to notice of withdrawal.
The following existing policies and manuals further support this document:
- Accessibility Policy for the Customer Service Standard under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disability Act (AODA) – Together We Grow Learning & Childcare Center (2015)
- TWG Program Statement - Together We Grow Learning & Childcare Center (2016)
- Early Referral Intervention Toolkit (E.R.I.K.)
- Child Care Early Years Act (CCEYA)
Together We Grow Learning & Childcare Center will review its Inclusion/Access & Equity Policy and procedures regularly to ensure it is current with respect to language and legislation.
The policy will be reviewed and signed off by current staff and volunteers.