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Having received ongoing funding from the NSW Department of Education as part of the Disability Inclusion Program, Learning Links’ Early Childhood team is proud to be part of the Sector Capacity Building (SCB) Program for a second year. The program is a free service for early childhood and care services across NSW with Learning Links allocated as one of the five providers, supporting 42 community preschools in the South Western Sydney region – this includes areas such as Bankstown, Fairfield, Liverpool, Camden, Campbelltown as well as the Southern Highlands .

The Sector Capacity Building program provides meaningful training and support to early childhood professionals to implement inclusive educational practices to better support children with disability and additional needs. Learning Links aims to work in partnership with each preschool to equip their teams with the knowledge, understanding, confidence and skills to enhance ongoing inclusion readiness and challenge outdated practices, so that all children have the opportunity to learn, develop and thrive.

Learning Links’ program is delivered by a passionate Early Childhood Teacher who has more than 20 years’ experience in the sector, most of which has been spent working to support children with additional needs. She works closely with Learning Links’ multidisciplinary team of early childhood professionals, speech pathologists and psychologists to develop high-quality training and resources to share with preschool partners. An Inclusion Hub has also been developed for knowledge sharing and easy access to resources and professional learning material.

Ongoing support for the 42 preschool partners is provided in several ways: 

  • Preschool visits that include consultation, modelling of strategies and mentoring of staff
  • Ongoing information on current practices in a range of areas, including emotional regulation, sensory processing, using visual aids and Key Word Sign, positive behaviour guidance, and understanding the impact of trauma
  • Development of individualised resources to meet the needs of each preschool and the children they support   
  • Webinars and training
  • Network meetings. 

In recent months, the development of  a new self-reflection tool has enabled Learning Links to support preschools to better identify their current strengths and areas to develop, and formulate meaningful short-term and long-term goals for the Sector Capacity Building Program that build upon what they have already learned and implemented. 

The impact of this vital funded program and support for professionals is evidenced by the positive feedback received:

“I want you to know just how thankful I am for the time, support and advice that you have not only provided to me, but the whole team. We are blessed to have you as a part of our team here at the preschool.”

“The support has really been personalised to our context. I have also really appreciated the consideration given to myself as a leader and felt really encouraged in my role.”

“The SCB program has provided many opportunities for our staff to increase skills and knowledge needed to work with additional needs children. Hence the children benefit from the program.”

With our own Preschool demonstrating a commitment to the inclusion of children of all abilities for over 30 years, Learning Links is thrilled to be able to share its knowledge and experience with other early education providers and to be playing this important role as a Sector Capacity Building provider in NSW.