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Collaborating with Early Start Australia to support children’s outcomes

A new national collaboration and partnership between Affinity Education Group and (ESA) will provide vital educator training and offer Australian families access to therapy support, screening programs, and information about best practice early childhood intervention strategies. 

“Affinity Education Group is committed to supporting our educators to create a more inclusive and supportive environment for all children, including those with complex needs,” said Dr Lesley Jones, Head of Education and Pedagogy. 

The partnership between Affinity and ESA will include three key strategies: 

  • Online learning vignettes for early childhood educators – a series of training videos with key themes aligned to the Early Years Learning Framework on topics including complex disability, trauma informed care, sensory and emotional regulation, creating neurodevelopmental inclusive services, managing challenging behaviours and early education environments.  
  • Face to face workshops and in-centre coaching and mentoring to build capabilities and strategies directly with educators working with children with complex needs. 
  • Referral pathway and dedicated customer care team for families seeking information about services available for their child. 

James Meldrum, Head of Engagement at Early Start Australia, said the partnership elements were founded on a thorough understanding of the importance of early childhood educators in early intervention.  

“We know how many families look to educators for guidance when they think their children may need some additional support, and additionally, we know how challenging that support can be for educators who are not experienced in these areas, so this partnership will address the needs of both groups,” he said. 

“Our passionate and experienced teams of therapists will work with children and their families to help them achieve their growth and development goals through communication, motor, cognitive, social and emotional skills.” 

Early Start Australia provides therapy support for children neurodevelopmental disorders, developmental delay, or disability, including those on the autism spectrum. 

“A critical gap we are filling through this partnership is the ability for our early childhood education centres to support families as they navigate the complex funding and support systems available here in Australia,” explained Dr Lesley Jones. 

“We don’t expect our Centre Managers, educators or teachers to be experts in these systems, and now they will be able to refer families directly on to the Early Start Australia customer care team, who are liaising and working closely with government funding programs.” 

“Ultimately, we want to tailor our early education experience to the unique needs of every child, so they can realise their full potential.”