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Case Scenarios based onFamily-CenteredPractices

Question

Task: Assessment Task: Part A
Working in partnership with families constitutes a fundamental component of family-centred practices. In order to be inclusive early childhood professionals it is important to understand and be able to articulate the value of collaborative partnerships with families.

For this task, you are required to write a 750-word personal perspective on working in partnership with families.

Part B:
Students will have the opportunity to reflect on one of their centre's program practices, using the checklist table format in: Webster, A., & Forster, J. (2012). Participating and Belonging: Inclusion in Practice. Malvern, Victoria: ECII, Australia.

1. Provide a description of your Centre. DO NOT identify your centre.
2. Complete one program practice checklist of your choosing that will enable you to reflect on your Centre's inclusivity in this program practice area. Present this information in a table format. For each checklist item:

  • if you tick the YES box for a practice, provide two (2) examples of how your Centre currently does this.
  • if you tick the NO box for a practice, provide two (2) examples of actions that your Centre could take to become more inclusive in this program practice area.
  • if you tick the SOMETIMES box for a practice, provide two (2) examples of actions that your Centre could take to become fully inclusive in this program practice area.

3. Write a brief conclusion summarising your view of your Centre's inclusion practices in relation to the program area that you have chosen. Your conclusion should relate to what you have indicated in the completed checklist.

Part C:
CASE STUDY : NEVINE

Nevine is 3½ years old and has a diagnosis of cerebral palsy (diplegia). She has attended a family day care setting for the past year and will start at your early childhood centre in six months time.

Nevine walks using a Kaye Walker but when she is at home she prefers to crawl or cruise using the furniture. Nevine can communicate her needs very well. She speaks appropriately for her age and the home language is English. She has difficulty with some of her fine motor skills.

Nevine has a twin sister Hedi who does not have cerebral palsy who is is also coming to your centre. They have a younger brother Tarek who is just 12 months. Karim, the children’s father is an accountant who works full time in the city. Their mother Jamila is currently a stay-at-home mother but she trained as a dental nurse and hopes to return to this work part time when Tarek starts preschool. Both sets of grandparents live in the same suburb and the family have a large network of extended family members and friends.

Nevine and her family have been involved with their local early childhood intervention service since she was a baby. She has regular appointments with a physiotherapist, an occupational therapist, an early childhood special educator, and a paediatrician.

In order to prepare for Nevine and Hedi’s transition to your centre the early intervention service are scheduling an Individual Family Service Plan meeting. You have been invited to attend.

After reading the case study through carefully, respond to these questions / instructions:
1. Who might attend your chosen child's IFSP meeting, and why?
2. Briefly describe the IFSP process for your chosen child.
3. What might be two realistic goals that the parents have for your chosen child in the EC setting, as well as one realistic goal that the child's parents might have for their family in general?
4. What will you do as the early childhood educator to help the family achieve their two goals for their child? For each of the two goals describe what you will do to help the family achieve the goal.
5. What information and support might the parents want /need prior to their transition to your centre? What local community supports and resources might you be able to connect them with?

Answer

Family-centered practicesAssessment:
Part A

Perspective on working in collaborative partnership with the families
Importance of collaboration between parents and early-childhood educators and pivotal roles played by parents in children’s lives has been reflected in “Early Childhood Education Curriculum” guiding document, “Victorian Early Years Learning and Development Framework” and “National Quality Framework.” Collaboration with families can ensure effective development of children as it involves shared power of decision-making, shared goals about development, complementary contribution and expertise (Accqa.au, 2021). Most early-childhood professionals tend to support inclusivity in education as it allows them to become more flexible and skilled as compared to before by expanding their capability of providing multiple modes and forms of engagement.

Benefits of family centered practice

Figure 1: Benefits of family-centered practice

Families also realised importance of inclusivity in education and in most cases, they found it interesting when educators met them at end of every day and shared information regarding their children’s achievement in a day (Cologon, 2014, p. 108). On the other hand, educators also share information regarding ways families should support the development of their children in their homes through proper communication.

According to ‘Quality Area 6” of National-Quality Standard, families must be given opportunities to get themselves involved in service-decisions and activities (Accqa.au, 2021). In genuine collaborations, educators and parents value their knowledge of children and educators encourage active involvement by children’s family for making decisions on planning for good quality results for children. Most early-childhood educators believe that high engagement by parents is necessary for improving parent-child relationship and also for improving children’s social and cognitive development. As cited by Kennedy (2016, p. 1), reimagining collaborations with families of children recognises that families are most significant people in children’s lives and hence, by empowering and encouraging children and their families early-childhood professionals can acknowledge parents as active right holders. As an early-childhood educator, one must be capable of knowing best ways of involving parents for ensuring that development is facilitated through a family-centered practice.

It is sometimes evident that through a family-centered educational practice during early-childhood development, educators are able to address specific needs of each child by communicating with parents regarding their behaviour and development in their homes and vice-versa. Collaboration allows children to develop understanding of ways most important persons of their lives are working together for their best interests that ensures their emotional well-being and fosters their interests to learn or achieve new things. Especially for differently abled children, it has been observed that educators’ involvement with parents of children has made children develop feelings of being valued (Cologon, 2014, p.95). It facilitates their social and emotional development in an educational setting.

In some cases, educators prioritise importance of engaging children’s families; however, they fail to understand the proper ways of engaging with children’s families due to which families often report that they have not been engaged actively in their children’s development in an early-childhood educational setting. For instance, it is essential to ask families or parents to communicate their priorities and goals for their children so that parents feel encouraged to involve actively in early-childhood development of their children. Moreover, educators often do not ask children’s families to communicate their priorities or share information regarding their children’s behaviour at home.

This becomes a barrier in involving parents in early-childhood development. Collaborative-nature of partnership reflects goal-driven and respectful cooperation between parents and educators. Educators need to set proper goals for early-childhood development of children through proper communication with their parents for cognitive and social-development of children considering their best interests. Family-centered practices encompass specific value, practices and principles for enhancing families’ capability of promoting and enhancing child development through collaboration and communication (Fordham & Johnston, 2014, p. 2).

It is essential to communicate in a frequent manner and coordinate information for involving parents actively in childhood development. In case of disabled children, educators’ initiative for involving children’s families made their children feel highly valued and opened eyes of children’s families to their future (Cologon, 2014, p. 108). This type of practice did not just encourage children to develop feelings of being accepted; however, also to develop feelings of being embraced. This family-centered practice got them actively involved in their own development. As an early-childhood educator, I have discovered mutual benefits of collaboration with parents of children in terms of effective decision-making for ensuring service effectiveness, feeling senses of satisfaction and so on. As opined by Pearson et al. (2014), inclusive education should be promoted in early-childhood educational settings. It is essential to make children understand ways they are similar or different to each-other and parent’s involvement in this type of education encourages them to develop sense of social-connection within their children.

Assessment 2: Part B
Introduction

Our early-childhood education centre is located in Lockridge, Australia. This centre is committed to providing quality services to children while encouraging active involvement of their parents. The centre places children’s well-being and development at the core of its support model. Its services include professional as well as social development of children, cognitive development of children through advanced online learning procedures and development programs for each child’s family to ensure a high level of engagement by parents of all children. This centre strongly adheres to “Victorian Early Years Learning and Development Framework and ensures well-being of children by ensuring their safety (Education.vic.gov.au, 2016).

Inclusion-Checklist

Physical environment

Yes

No

Sometimes

Action

The entrance to the service is welcoming and visibly reflects the services philosophy of inclusion

 

 

1. There is a clear signage on the wall of the door of entrance on which contents are written in clear English or local-community languages for providing information on center’s initiative for providing all children with equal access to quality education and services irrespective of their backgrounds, culture and disability status

2. As per Victorian framework of early-childhood education, disabled children must be included actively in mainstream education (Watson, 2018, p. 36). This centre has always focused on including differently abled children in mainstream education and looked for finding best ways of ensuring a convenient and easily accessible education by them. Many wheelchairs and walking frames have been placed beside the door of entrance for ensuring that education is not only children who are physically fit; however, also for differently abled children. The entry space is attractive that would attract children to get themselves educated in this centre. Beside the door some playing equipment is available which is accessible by all.

Children are able to move around freely and independently within indoor and outdoor spaces

 

 

1. Outdoor areas of the centre are tidy and allow students to move freely without getting injured. Play area is generally free from any type of obstacle that could cause children to fall and get injured. There is a cleaning staff that is responsible for keeping outdoor areas clean and tidy for ensuring removal of any obstacle or debris that could cause potential harm to children. However, in the corner of playground there is a large hole; which can be unsafe for children. Hence, it is essential to fill that area with cement. Until and unless proper work is done for filling the hole, main responsibility of an educator will be to ensure safety and security of children by keeping them under close supervision (Tongeet al. 2019, p. 38). However, he or she will let children move freely in outdoor area without interference.

2. Indoor area of this centre is generally clean; however, sometimes, children often throw the toys and other equipment on floor after playing and this can cause other children to get injured if their legs get stuck in any of the equipment. Therefore, it is vital for an educator to take responsibility of supervising children while they are playing and providing them with proper training on importance of keeping toys and other equipment in proper places (shelves) after playing with these in an encouraging manner. Children should be provided training on ways of staying safe (Bento & Dias, 2017, p. 159). Clear labels on shelves are necessary for encouraging children to keep their toys into shelves after playing that will ensure each-other’s safety in indoor area.

Physical barriers that limit the participation of children are removed, e.g. there is space between activities for a wheelchair or walking frame.

 

 

1. Outdoor play space is essential for promotion of children’s well-being and development (Brussoniet al. 2017, p. 1). Fir this removal of physical barriers from outdoor play areas is essential for encouraging children to participate actively in outdoor activities. There is enough space in all areas such as corridors, entry areas and classrooms for ensuring that wheelchairs could be moved freely in these areas. Apart from this, playground has adequate grass for ensuring children’s safety even if they fall on playground while playing. However, grasses are not extremely tall or dense that could have obstructed proper movement of wheelchairs or walking frames.

2. Corridors have a high level of illumination for ensuring that students with vision impairments can safely move in that area without getting injured. There are wall-fitted shelves for making free spaces available for children to encourage them to participate in playing indoor games with others.

The children are involved in decisions about set-up of the physical environment, to promote independent exploration and learning through play.

 

 

1. Children are not allowed to make decisions regarding design of physical environment as in most cases; educators determine best way of designing a physical environment that would encourage children’s learning through play. Educators often communicate with parents of each child regarding ways of designing physical environment in an encouraging way to promote learning through play. However, for developing an inclusive framework, children should be encouraged to engage in decision-making for setting up physical environment for understanding critical design features (Daly-Smith et al. 2018, p. 2). They should be asked for providing their views on existing physical environment of the centre and also recommend ways of designing this environment for addressing their specific needs.

2. Educators will present different best options for interesting play in front of children and will ask for their opinions regarding which equipment will be most appropriate for satisfying them. Teacher would also communicate purpose of each equipment in terms of ensuring fun and effective learning based upon which children will be allowed to make decision regarding their implementation. Teachers would also allow children with disabilities to make decision regarding design of physical environment and will ask them about the difficulties they face while accessing play equipment for further improvement in set-up of center’s physical environment. They would be allowed to draw layout of physical environment in their preferred way.

Children access quiet spaces when needed

 

 

1. This centre has always focused on ensuring mental, emotional as well as physical well-being of children including toddlers and infants. Toddlers and infants often get exhausted while participating in activities in the immediate environment and they need calm and quiet place for taking some rest. This center has designed a cozy area for ensuring comfort of children when they are exhausted. There are pillows, bean-bag chairs, beds and noise-reducing headphones for children that could help them to take control over their emotions and mental state again after a strenuous activity as quiet workspaces can enhance their capability of self regulation (Kariippanonet al. 2018, p. 10).

2. Mild lightning in this area makes it a perfect space for children to calm themselves. For disabled children there are wheelchairs.

Indoor/outdoor spaces provide quality learning experiences with a range of natural and processed materials.

 

 

1. There are printed reading materials designed in an attractive manner for improving vocabulary of children and for differently abled children there are systems of digital text materials, audio learning systems, and large printed materials for ensuring effective learning by all.

2. Deep-level learning can be ensured by ensuring mental well-being of children (Storli& Hansen Sandseter, 2019, p. 67). For this, there are some small trees within classrooms and children are instructed to nurture them through which they learn about plant life-cycle as well as it ensures their mental satisfaction.

Table 1: Inclusion Checklist
(Source: Webster & Forster, 2012, p. 111)

Conclusion
Finally, it can be concluded that my centre is effective and well-equipped for ensuring proper development of children belonging to all ages and all backgrounds. It supports a high level of inclusion by encouraging children belonging to all backgrounds and disability status to engage in play and learning. Educators are always there to ensure safety of each child in classroom. However, there should be increased monitoring and supervision in outdoor areas to ensure security of children especially for those who have some sort of disability. Outdoor areas should be monitored properly for reducing chances of accidents. An educator should take responsibility of children when they would play in outdoor areas to prevent incidents of fall or other major injury. Besides that, it is also essential to encourage immense involvement of physically disabled students in decision-making regarding way of designing physical environment for their convenience.

Assessment 2: Part C
1. People who should be present in IFSP meeting for Nevine Nevine’s mother Jamila, Hedi, Nevine and a service coordinator will be present in IFSP meeting for Nevine. Service coordinator will be required to ask for history of Nevine when she was in family-day-care setting to her mother Jamila. Based upon this information service coordinator and Jamila would set learning and development goals for learning in a collaborative manner for her best interest. Service-coordinator will present best IFSP model in front of Nevine’s mother for ensuring service efficiency (Movahedazarhouligh, 2021, p. 7)). Through IFSP program, service-coordinator will represent specific requirements and goals of Nevine and will also communicate her family’s needs in relation with Nevine and Hedi.

2. IFSP process for Nevine
At the initial stage, service-provider will communicate importance of collaboration with family and parents for ensuring effective learning and development. Inclusive education involves family structure-model (Okelyet al. 2017, p. 8). Service-coordinator will present a family-centered practice-model of education and learning in front of Jamila to make her understand ways active engagement by family is necessary for facilitating development of children. In next stage, Service-coordinator will ask Nevine’s mother about current development level of her child in terms of psycho-social development, cognitive development and physical development. In this stage, Jamila cannot act passively as shared goal is to determine best possible way of developing Navene’s learning. Nevine’s mother needs to share information about her behaviour with her sister and ways Hedi behaves with Nevine. Based upon this information, Service-coordinator will set social-development goal of Nevine and Hedi will communicate this goal with Jamila. Jamilawill also be informed regarding resources such as personal-response devices that will be used for developing cognitive ability of Nevine.

Coordinator will make Jamila aware of importance of parents to involve actively in development of Nevine when she is at home. It will require Jamila to monitor behaviour and development of Nevine at home. Most importantly, coordinator would informJamila about availability of an interim-IFSP for addressing concerns of Nevine in an effective manner (Health.gov, 2017). For initiation of this process, coordinator will be responsible for communicating fee structure of interim IFSP and will obtain written consent from Jamila before starting this process.

Benefits of family centered practice

Figure 2: An effective IFSP meeting plan

Jamilawill be asked for presenting her queries regarding service features and tenures. Service coordinator will provide Jamila with a written form describing features of this service and fee structure to ensure transparency. Hedi’s development goals should also be communicated with Jamila which can include emotional attachment development, cognitive development and social development so that Hedi can treat Nevine properly which can be possible through an inclusive approach. Jamilawill be instructed to encourage Nevine to connect with other members of families as part of an initiative to develop social and emotional skills of Nevine.

3. Realistics goals of parents
From Nevine’s case, it is evident that Navine is able to speak properly. She uses Kaye walker for walking; however, she prefers to move by crawling or cruising using furniture. However, she is suffering from a lack of fine-motor skills. Therefore, her family might have two realistic goals such as:

  • In ECE setting, Nevine will be able to develop her fine-motor skills such as writing, drawing, colouring
  • In ECE setting Nevine will be capable of developing her cognitive ability

For family, Nevine’s parents might have a goal that every members of family will accept Nevine as a normal child and would treat her in same way as they treat Tarek or Hedi.

4. Action for helping family of Nevine and Hedi to achieve their goals

First goal involves development of Nevine’s fine motor-skills. For achieving this goal, early-childhood educator needs to prepare a proper plan including specific strategies and resources to be used for developing fine-motor skills of Nevine. At first step, Nevineshould be introduced with some playing materials such as building blocks and puzzles. Proper monitoring will be done for identifying area of interest of Nevine and Nevine will be provided with any of these resources. She will be encouraged to play with these and initially, a facilitator will help her to hold those materials properly. A progress monitoring will be done on a weekly basis for tracking progress of Nevine in terms of fine-motor skill development (Bartlett et al. 2018, p. 872). Besides that, playing dough can be given for stimulating her interest to move her fingers. Educator will communicate with Jamila regarding importance of encouraging her child to move her fingers by providing her with a pencil and asking her to write by herself. This will help in developing Nevine’s writing skills and other fine-motor skills through a collaborative effort. Jamilawill also be communicated regarding importance of encouraging Hedi to support her sister Nevine to play with her when playing constructive games. In educational center, all physical barriers will be removed for encouraging Nevine to move freely using her Kaye Walker.

For effective achievement of second goal educator should provide Nevine with resources such as abacus for developing her counting ability. It will further require her to move her fingers through the columns and rows that would help in developing fine-motor skills as well. Coordinator will make Jamila aware of “Acceptance and Commitment Therapy” for developing their skills of treating Nevine in a proper way (Novaket al. 2020, p. 12). Through this, parents will be made informed regarding ways of developing cognitive skill of Nevine by reading books in front of her. Through an inclusive approach educator will encourage other children to play games such as puzzles and group discussion with Nevine and it will eventually streamline Nevine’s interest to learn new things.

5. Information to be provided to parents
A transition-policy would be there and it would be given to parents of Nevine and Hedi to get proper information regarding steps that would be involved in development of their children. Local community representatives will be involved in IFSP meeting for sharing valuable information with Nevine’s mother.

Bibliography
Accqa.au, (2021).BUILDING PARTNERSHIPS WITH FAMILIES.Retrieved on 5th October 2021 from https://www.acecqa.gov.au/sites/default/files/acecqa/files/QualityInformationSheets/QualityArea6/ QualityArea6BuildingPartnershipsWithFamilies.pdf Bartlett, D. J., McCoy, S. W., Chiarello, L. A., Avery, L., Galuppi, B., & On Track Study Team. (2018). A collaborative approach to decision making through developmental monitoring to provide individualized services for children with cerebral palsy.Physical therapy, 98(10), 865-875.https://doi.org/10.1093/ptj/pzy081

Bento, G., & Dias, G. (2017).The importance of outdoor play for young children's healthy development.Porto biomedical journal, 2(5), 157-160.https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pbj.2017.03.003

Brussoni, M., Ishikawa, T., Brunelle, S., & Herrington, S. (2017).Landscapes for play: Effects of an intervention to promote nature-based risky play in early childhood centres. Journal of Environmental Psychology, 54, 139-150.http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jenvp.2017.11.001

Cologon, K. (2014). “Not just being accepted but embraced”: Family perspectives on inclusion. In K. Cologon (Ed.). Inclusive education in the early years.Right from the start. (pp. 91-114). Melbourne, Victoria: Oxford University Press.

Daly-Smith, A. J., Zwolinsky, S., McKenna, J., Tomporowski, P. D., Defeyter, M. A., & Manley, A. (2018). Systematic review of acute physically active learning and classroom movement breaks on children’s physical activity, cognition, academic performance and classroom behaviour: understanding critical design features. BMJ open sport & exercise medicine, 4(1), e000341. https://doi.org/10.1136/ bmjsem-2018-000341

Education.vic.gov.au (2016).VICTORIAN EARLY YEARS LEARNING AND DEVELOPMENT FRAMEWORK, Retrieved on 5th October 2021 from https://www.education.vic.gov.au/Documents/childhood/providers/edcare/veyldframework.pdf

Fordham, L., & Johnston, C. (2014). Family-centred practice for inclusive earlyyears education. In K. Cologon (Ed.).Inclusive education in the early years.Right from the start. (pp. 171-188). Melbourne, Victoria: Oxford University Press.

Health.gov (2017).Early Intervention Program Guidance Document Individualized Family Service Plans.Retrieved on 5th October 2021 from https://www.health.ny.gov/community/infants_children/early_intervention/docs/ifsp_guidance.pdf

Kariippanon, K. E., Cliff, D. P., Lancaster, S. L., Okely, A. D., & Parrish, A. M. (2018). Perceived interplay between flexible learning spaces and teaching, learning and student wellbeing. Family-centered practices Learning Environments Research, 21(3), 301-320.https://doi.org/10.1007/s10984-017-9254-9

Kennedy, A. (2016). Re-imagining family partnerships: Shifting practice from a focus on disadvantage to engagement and empowerment. In H. Sukkar, C. J. Dunst, & J. Kirkby (Eds.).Early Childhood Intervention: Working with families of young children with special needs. (pp. 96 – 109). Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge.

Movahedazarhouligh, S. (2021).Quality Inclusion of Young Children with Disabilities: Taking a Stance to Support Early Childhood Leaders. In Teacher Education in the 21st Century-Emerging Skills for a Changing World. IntechOpen. https://doi.org/10.5772/intechopen.96511

Novak, I., Morgan, C., Fahey, M., Finch-Edmondson, M., Galea, C., Hines, A., ...&Badawi, N. (2020). State of the evidence traffic lights 2019: systematic review of interventions for preventing and treating children with cerebral palsy.Current neurology and neuroscience reports, 20(2), 1-21.https://doi.org/10.1007/s11910-020-1022-z

Okely, A. D., Ghersi, D., Hesketh, K. D., Santos, R., Loughran, S. P., Cliff, D. P., ... & Tremblay, M. S. (2017). A collaborative approach to adopting/adapting guidelines-The Australian 24-Hour Movement Guidelines for the early years (Birth to 5 years): an integration of physical activity, sedentary behavior, and sleep.BMC public health, 17(5), 167-190.https://doi.org/10.1186/s12889-017-4867-6

Pearson, E., Mohamad, H., &Zainal, Z. (2014).Cultural and linguistic diversity in the early years.Implications for inclusion and inclusive practice.In K. Cologon (Ed.).Inclusive education in the early years.Right from the start. (pp. 115-132).Melbourne, Victoria: Oxford University Press.

Storli, R., & Hansen Sandseter, E. B. (2019). Children's play, well-being and involvement: how children play indoors and outdoors in Norwegian early childhood education and care institutions. International Journal of Play, 8(1), 65-78. https://doi.org/10.1080/21594937.2019.1580338

Tonge, K. L., Jones, R. A., &Okely, A. D. (2019). Quality interactions in early childhood education and care center outdoor environments. Early Childhood Education Journal, 47(1), 31-41. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10643-018-0913-y Watson, K. (2018). Interrogating the ‘normal’in the ‘inclusive’early childhood classroom: Silence, taboo and the ‘elephant in the room’. In The Palgrave handbook of disabled children’s childhood studies (pp. 141-157). London, UK: Palgrave Macmillan, London.

Webster, A., & Forster, J. (2012). Participating and Belonging: Inclusion in Practice. Malvern, Victoria: ECII, Australia.

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