WHAT DOES THE ADDITIONAL EDUCATOR DO?
The additional educator is employed as an extra member of the team, to share the daily team responsibilities to ensure that all children can access and participate in all aspects of the program. This shared responsibility means that while the additional educator may have some involvement with a child with ongoing high support needs, they work with all children in the care environment. The same is true for all staff. The role of the additional educator will therefore look very similar to that of other educators in the service.
WHAT IS THE SERVICE’S RESPONSIBILITY?
You will need to ensure that the additional educator is employed according to the appropriate industrial laws and that Inclusion Development Funds are used for approved purposes. You will also need to keep relevant records and submit claim forms within specified time-frames. These will be outlined with your original funding approval information. It is important that all educators, including the additional educator, have an opportunity to discuss and clarify everybody’s daily roles and responsibilities in enacting the Strategic Inclusion Plan. This will avoid confusion and misunderstanding and ensure a team approach to promoting inclusive practice.
SOMETIMES A FAMILY EXPECTS THE ADDITIONAL EDUCATOR TO WORK ONLY WITH THEIR CHILD. WHAT DO I SAY?
All families want the best for their child, just as you want the best for all of the children in your service. This is a great way to start the conversation, identifying your shared goals and making a commitment to working together to achieve them. One way to overcome the issue of differing expectations is to talk with families about expectations right from the start. Talk with families at enrolment about your philosophy and policies, including those that relate to inclusion. This raises the opportunity to talk about the benefits of inclusion for all children, acknowledging that how you respond to individual children and families might look different, according to their specific needs and preferences. If they are still unsure, ask families to share with you more about their concerns so that you can identify the best way to address them. Create a culture where asking questions is valued and encouraged—for families and educators.