Early Childhood The inclusion principle: providing EC education for all children

The end of the teaching year is the prime time for us to reflect on and plan for inclusion and inclusive practices. Underpinning the Early Years Learning Framework (EYLF) and Victorian Early Years Learning and Development Framework (VEYLDF) is the requirement to provide opportunities for genuine participation and inclusion for children and their families. All children have the right to access high-quality education preschool programs.

We acknowledge the important role we play as a sector to provide a play-based curriculum, demonstrating responsiveness and adaptability to participating children. As the VEYLDF states, this should be based on children’s individual experiences and capabilities, and their “right to respectful treatment and the inclusion of their perspectives in decision making”.

Our collective advocacy and activism can enact change.

In the 2023 state budget, $18 million was allocated to expand supports to young children with disability, developmental delay, and additional needs. It is our responsibility as a sector to create learning environments that reflect the broad developmental continuum. We need to connect with other services, supports and colleagues to reflect on our practices and embed a deeper understanding of inclusive practices.

Our collective advocacy and activism can enact change. Many EC members have been writing or talking to their local MPs to highlight issues faced in our sector. Sometimes, families also get involved to share their personal narratives and talk about the changes they need.

We need to work collectively, and to share our stories and experiences, so we can win improvements and additional support for all children and their families.

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