Helping children with individual needs
It took one little boy to motivate Julianne Pearson and her team at Goodstart Kincumber to learn more, do better and think outside the box when it came to inclusion.
Centre director Julianne Pearson was approached to enrol a little boy, aged three years old, about five years ago.
“This particular little boy didn’t have his own family and had lived with multiple foster families throughout his short life and he had no sense of belonging,” she said.
“I was really fortunate to meet this amazing child because he taught me that everyone has a right to feel like they belong and he changed the way the team at Goodstart Kincumber think about our role and how we can help children with individual needs.”
Working closely with Goodstart’s Social Inclusion team means that Goodstart Kincumber had access to a range of resources and industry experts to help them support vulnerable children.
“Upon enrolling this little boy we had Goodstart’s Social Inclusion team’s immediate support,” Ms Pearson said.
“They set up conference calls between us and their team and they arranged for experts including a child and family practitioner to provide us with training in how to work with children facing trauma background.
“The training we have all received has been invaluable and has helped us understand different behaviours and what they can tell us about children and what they might need from us,” she said.
It has since become known in the district that Julianne and her team have the skills and can offer support to children from vulnerable or traumatic backgrounds.
Since her first experience helping a child from a traumatic background feel a sense of belonging, Ms Pearson said she has been committed to being involved in all aspects of their life within Goodstart Kincumber.
“Every child deserves to have their individual needs met so I try to be as hands on as possible and always available to listen and assist my staff to support these children,” she said.
“Whether that be debriefing in staff meetings, being flexible and tagging in to help if a child is having a particularly bad day, or seeking the answers to questions we might have.
“I am fortunate that all the educators at Goodstart Kincumber are such dedicated champions of inclusion as well.
“We all thrive on new knowledge and know if we don’t have the answers we can always call on Goodstart’s Social Inclusion team because they are always available and can help us source what we need.”
Social inclusion national lead Penny Markham said the ambition was to have an inclusion champion in every Goodstart centre in Australia.
“Our people carry so much knowledge and passion for inclusion and we want to support their work and help them spread their knowledge so many more children benefit,” Ms Markham said.