It was almost a month ago that the ECIA (Early Childhood Intervention Association) NSW chapter conference was held in Sydney. It was great to meet so many teachers across the state working in Early Intervention programs, preschools and long day care settings. These professionals are all working tirelessly to ensure that all children get the opportunity to attend childcare and reap the benefits that early childhood programs can provide.
For some kids going to the local preschool or childcare centre is a a fairly straight forward exercise (that is when your name gets to the top of the waiting list!). Once the tears of leaving mum and dad subside most kids will get on with the fun of learning and making friends. Parents can then relax, get back into work and start planning playdates and birthday parties to welcome new friends.
For kids with additional needs making the leap from the security of home to childcare or preschool can be especially daunting (more often for parents I suspect!). There may be extra tears, a little more time and some extra attention needed to make the journey more comfortable. When arriving at the destination (some parents can’t believe they have ever made it there ….alive) the kindness of other parents and the support of all staff within the centre is a big step in feeling welcome and included.
Don’t underestimate the power of a smile, or an invitation to play after preschool – you may just have made a parent’s year