Early Childhood Education experts agree that child care should be inclusive, but what does this look like in a home daycare?
In group care, all the educators are either Registered Early Childhood Educators (RECE) or in support roles. Most home child care providers are not trained RECE’s, and some have no formal training in the field; they do, however, have a love for children and a passion to help them develop to their full potential. Home child care providers are lifelong learners and take the training that they need to expand on their knowledge and enhance the quality of their early learning and care program.
In group care, there is more than one adult to assist with the children. There are cooks, cleaners, and assistant teachers to name a few. In home child care, the provider is on their own; they need to be the cook, cleaner and educator. They are the primary providers for all of the children in their care.
All children are unique and each one brings something to the program. Supporting a child with special needs can add a new dimension to care in the home. Older children can become helpers and learn about empathy. Younger children also develop new skills and attitudes based on the other children in care. The child with special needs becomes part of the group, making new friends and learning new skills. The provider has an opportunity to enhance their knowledge of child development and programming.
Over the past 15 years as a Home Child Care Consultant with Andrew Fleck Children’s Services, I have had the opportunity to witness the benefits of an inclusive home child care setting. Everyone, including myself has grown by engaging in a collaborative approach with a variety of professionals such as; Children’s Inclusions Support Services, Occupational Therapists, Speech Therapists, and Vision Consultants. This collaborative approach has increased my knowledge of children with special needs and the joys it brings!
The most successful cases of inclusion are where the provider works closely with the family, the Home Child Care Consultant and with CISS. As a team, we determine the needs of the child with special needs, the provider and the other children in care. This can mean extra support visits from a CISS Resource Consultant and in some cases the support of a Program Assistant (PA). This support is invaluable as it allows the provider to feel supported and helps them gain confidence in their abilities to meet the needs of all children.
Denise Chadala, RECE
Home Child Care Consultant
Andrew Fleck Children’s Services