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‘Confidence and Wellbeing For All’ –

Flexible Professional Development and Coaching Package

Early Childhood Outreach has been supporting educators in Early Childhood settings since 2019 through the School Readiness Funding program in Victoria, Kindy Uplift in Queensland and Innovative Solutions funding across the country. We will travel to any location and have a range of flexible online services.

Many young children struggle with self-regulation of their emotions, stimulation level, and behaviour. This is especially the case for those who have experienced trauma or who have developmental delays including communication delays and Neurodivergence.

Many educators report that they do not feel confident in accurately matching their expectations and support strategies to the current abilities and interests of the children in their care. This package of Professional Development is designed to build their capacity and confidence in this area.

In order for educators to increase wellbeing of the children in their care, and develop their own confidence in supporting them, it is important that they build a strong understanding of the child’s current skills, interests, challenges and connection to culture and family as highlighted in the EYLF Assessment for Learning Practice Principle. There is a range of assessment and recording practices which educators use to achieve this. One of these is Early Childhood Outreach’s ‘All About Me’ template- it is used in many of these presentations.

Once the educators have a deep understanding of the child, they can support the child’s confidence and wellbeing through communication, relationships, support to remain regulated, engagement with friends and activities, and self-esteem through the ability to make appropriate behaviour choices.

Educators will feel that their own confidence and wellbeing is enhanced when they build their knowledge and experience to support the children in these areas.

Families’ confidence and wellbeing will also be enhanced when they feel that their input is valued by the educators and that they are truly working in a supportive partnership together.

The 2024/25 training package will include all of the following 7 presentations, which educators can choose from, to create their own tailored package, depending on their own priorities for Professional Development:

TRAINING

‘All About ‘All About Me’’ ( This introductory presentation is accessible free online)

Considers each area of the ‘All About Me’ document- Family Connections, Communication, Interests and Play skills, Emotional and Sensory Regulation, Self Care Skills, Background Information and Goals; how to observe and document these areas with the family and others working with the child, and how to share and plan goals and strategies together.

‘Sensory Processing and the A SECRET framework’

Explains our eight sensory systems, and how our responses to them impact our emotional and sensory regulation levels. Highlights the challenges in EC settings for children who have strong reactions to sensory input and need support to regulate themselves.  Practical strategies and opportunities for reflection are offered.

Also introduces the A SECRET framework – the invention of Dr Lucy-Jane Miller of the STAR institute for Sensory Processing, Colorado. (The original version of this presentation was the result of a collaboration between STAR and Early Childhood Outreach). The framework is used to collate and record strategies for a particular goal.  Fictional case studies are used to illustrate the practical use of the framework. The importance of having a detailed overview of the children’s current abilities and interests before completing an A SECRET framework is highlighted, and the All About Me is shown as an example of this.

‘Autism – seeing the big picture’

This presentation explores Sensory, Cognitive, Social, Rigidity, Communication and Engagement/Play as six key areas which may impact Autistic children and adults in varying ways. We explore ways to see the world through the perspective of someone with Autism, increase the supports available and reduce demands to maximise confidence, wellbeing and success for all involved.

Educators build their understanding of key terminology within the Autism field. This then builds their confidence to discuss concerns and strategies with families and therapists, who may all have a wider knowledge of the subject.

Fictional case studies are included. These give the educators an opportunity to realise that they do have the knowledge and confidence to plan strategies, or know where to get further support if they need it.

Almost every Early Childhood setting includes children who have already, or may in future, receive a diagnosis of Autism. Building the capacity of educators to understand the perspective of those with Autism in their care, builds the success and confidence for educators, families and children. The on-demand version of this training includes interviews with an Autistic educator and parent about her lived experience in EC settings.

 

‘Supporting Communication’

Based on speech therapy practice, and the Hanen programs, this presentation explores the importance of communicating effectively with children by matching their style and level, and scaffolding the child’s skills in this area. Basic communication stages, motivators and purposes are defined. A range of supporting strategies are introduced including visuals, Key Word Signs and communication temptations. These can be used for any child with almost any communication delay, regardless of its cause. Fictional case studies are included to offer opportunities for educators to brainstorm together.

 

‘Understand the child, understand the challenging behaviour’

Reflects on Dr Ross Greene’s observation that ‘Children will do well if they can’ (The Explosive Child, 2014) and builds on his Collaborative approach. Explores the communication purposes of challenging behaviour, and acknowledges that the child often uses challenging behaviour to replace a ‘lagging skill’, which will need to be taught if the behaviour is to change. The links between emotional dysregulation and challenging behaviour are also explored.

A Collaborative Behaviour Support Plan template is introduced, discussed and completed during a fictional case study. The All About Me document is highlighted as a way to identify any ‘lagging skills’ for the child, as well as strengths and interests which could be used to engage and motivate the child. Educators are encouraged to reflect on their current ways of documenting behaviour support strategies.

 

‘Difficult conversations – finding ways to collaborate with families’

Reflects on the sometimes-differing perspectives of educators and families to possible developmental delays or challenging behaviours in a child. This presentation was created after many conversations with educators, who all struggled when they felt that they and the family were ‘not on the same page’.

Highlights understanding and respecting each other’s perspective as the key factors for success. Valuing each other’s input, experience and knowledge is vital to successful collaboration, whether this is with families, colleagues or visiting therapists.

Explores the barriers to and possibilities of collaboration between educators, therapists and families. Highlights the importance of shared understanding of child’s abilities, strengths, challenges and interests, as outlined in the All About Me. Offers practical strategies to build respectful and trusting relationships with parents.

Explores the referral pathways for NDIS Early Childhood Approach to build educators’ understanding of the processes involved in aiding families to access further support for their child.

A fictional case study helps educators see the possibilities and parallels with their own practice.

‘Observing and supporting play’

Children play in a range of different ways according to their age, neurotype, interests, play skills and experience of play. There may be an enormous range of abilities within one group of Preschool aged children.  Educators may find it difficult to offer experiences which are accessible to all the children.  This presentation explores social and complexity levels of play, and how to observe, document support and develop these. We consider ways to offer supports and extensions, so that all children can confidently access all parts of the program.

 

COACHING

When combined with training, a coaching package promotes consistent approaches across a centre, and supports educators to build their confidence in supporting engagement, communication, emotional wellbeing and behaviour for all children.

Each package is tailored for a specific centre, but Early Childhood Outreach recommends the following format for support, based on experience of success in the past:

  • At least 2 hours in each Kindergarten group for the initial visit. During this time, the coach will observe the current interactions between all educators and children, the layout and content of the program, any behaviour/ communication support strategies currently in place, and the routines and transitions in the setting. In multi-room settings, the coach will also meet with the centre Director/ Educational Leader to discuss the current challenges within the centre.

  • Initial reflection session for each team. Usually approximately an hour long, and held during non-contact times, this session is used to reflect on the priorities for each team and offer strategies, based on the coach’s observations and the educators’ skills and concerns.

  • Subsequent coaching visits. Time spent by the coach in the rooms with the educators and children to practise the strategies learned during training / reflection and embed them into each individual setting and group of children. Usually approximately 1.5 hours per group per visit. The number and frequency of subsequent coaching visits will depend on the level of confidence and skills of the educators at the beginning of the package, and will be agreed before a quote is provided.

  • Mentoring / reflection time. A key component of the success of the package is to allow sufficient time with educators to reflect on their new practice, how they are feeling about it, and whether they need any further information or resources in order to maximise success. At least one hour per subsequent coaching visit, for individual educators, leadership teams, care setting teams, or whole staff groups, as identified by the centre. This mentoring can take place after hours, or during the day, if there are sufficient staff to release educators. It can be completed face to face, or online via Zoom or Teams.

 

Next steps

Before contacting us to request a quote, please consider the following questions:

  • Which training presentations best match the needs and skills of our team / our centre?

  • How does our team learn best – face to face live training, online via Zoom, or pre-recorded on-demand, or a combination?

  • How many educators would we like to receive the training?

  • Will we do training in the evening after the centre closes, or on a specific training day during the week or at the weekend, or in the educator’s planning time (on-demand training only)

  • How many coaching visits, and over what time span, will work best for us?

  • Can we share travel costs with other centres in our area?

 

The package is flexible, as one, several or all of the training presentations can be requested by a team. They may also choose between face to face presentations, Zoom sessions for their team, or online On-demand pre-recorded content, or a combination of all these options.

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