Inclusion support

Our inclusion support program offers that extra support and help for your child at kindergarten.

Our 3 and 4 year old kindergarten programs are inclusive and open to all children. Our teaching teams provide children of all abilities, genuine opportunities to access and participate in kindergarten and promote a sense of belonging and respect for diversity.

You can access support for children by working with our Access to Early Learning (AEL) or Preschool Field Officer (PSFO) programs.

Support can be accessed before your child starts kindergarten, as well as during your child's time at kindergarten.

Our Programs

  • Both the AEL and PSFO programs are funded by the State Government and are designed to support the capacity of parents and teachers to meet the needs of children of all abilities
  • Both the AEL and PSFO programs are free to access
  • Both the AEL and PSFO programs require a referral.

What does the AEL program provide?

  • AEL is a free program.
  • Families who engage with our AEL program are supported with:
    • in-home learning experiences
    • connecting families to kindergarten programs
    • parent-teacher conversations
    • teacher mentoring
  • parents can opt-in to engage with the support.

Who receives AEL program support?

Children referred via specialist services (eg: Enhanced Maternal Child Health, Child Protection, Child FIRST and/or Family Services). Please speak to your EMCH nurse/ Family Support worker/ Child FIRST worker or Child Protection worker or contact our AEL Facilitator for referral information. 

The Victorian Department of Education and Training has more information about the AEL program.

What does the PSFO program provide?

  • there is no cost to the kindergarten program or families for the PSFO service
  • the PSFO can provide a range of support, including:
    • discussions about your child’s learning and development
    • kindergarten program strategies and resources
    • teacher mentoring
    • identifying where to get additional support 
    • PSFOs use a locally responsive approach that includes consultative support, resourcing and practical advice to assist kindergarten teachers
    • PSFOs also assist kindergartens to link families into supports and services available for children with developmental concerns and broader child and family supports  
    • these supports could be services such as speech pathology, occupational therapy, paediatrics and more.

Who receives PSFO support?

The PSFO program defines children with additional needs as children in a funded kindergarten program presenting with developmental concerns.

Developmental concerns may be associated with any area of a child’s growth and development, from language delay or challenging behaviours through to multiple disabilities.

  • the PSFO program is available to all State funded 3 and 4-year-old children across the City of Yarra
  • support via referral from kindergarten teachers, Maternal Child Health nurses and/or parents.

How to get support

Before your child starts kindergarten

If you feel your child needs some support the year before they attend kindergarten, please download and complete the form below:

Inclusion support referral form (PDF) 

Submit the form to us via email [email protected]

The best time to apply is from October to December the year before your child begins kindergarten.

While your child is at kindergarten

We also provide support for children who are currently attending a kindergarten program.

You can:

1. Talk to the teacher

If you are concerned about your child's development, the first step is to have a discussion with your child's kindergarten teacher.

The teacher can provide advice and may encourage you to seek support from our PSFO.

2. Request help from our PSFO

To request help from our PSFO, you and your child's kindergarten teacher must submit a INSERT PSFO REFERRAL FORM pdf.

The PSFO will contact you after receiving your referral to arrange a phone consultation.

3. Arrange a phone consultation

Due to COVID-19, the PSFO is currently providing remote support/consultations.

Once your referral is received, the PSFO will be in touch to arrange a phone consultation with you and with the kindergarten teacher at a mutually convenient time.

4. During this consultation, the PSFO will:

  • discuss your child’s strengths and challenges
  • discuss your child’s learning and development needs.

Provide information

Based on information shared, the PSFO will recommend pathways for additional support services in a report that you and the kindergarten teacher can refer back to.

Second year of 4-year-old kindergarten

If the kindergarten teacher observes your child demonstrating development and/or learning delays in at least two key outcome areas, your child may be eligible for a second year of 4-year-old kindergarten.  

If your child is eligible for a second year of 4-year-old kindergarten, it is important to discuss your options with the PSFO and kindergarten teacher.

The PSFO and kindergarten teacher are available to support you in your decision of whether your child may benefit from a second year of 4-year-old kindergarten.

The Victorian Department of Education and Training has more information about eligibility for a second year of kindergarten.