Embracing our different strengths
An active and happy child, Christina attends Uniting Frederick Street Preschool in Bexley. Christina has autism, which means she can sometimes find attachments to new routines difficult and interactions with other children directly, can be seldom.
Christina’s mother Nadea sits in the sun and thinks back to when Christina first started at preschool. “She did have separation anxiety at the beginning. But she’s been here a year now – and she absolutely loves her carers!”
The Uniting Frederick Street Preschool has a long history of inclusion, with other children also requiring exceptional care to cater for special needs. The preschool is also rich in diversity, reflecting the multiculturalism in the local area. There are 26 different cultures represented in the 80 children who attend.
Christina’s background is Lebanese, and although she doesn’t speak, she is completely bilingual understanding instructions and conversations in both Arabic and English. Her family is very close. She has two older brothers aged 10 and 11.
Carer, Helle says, “Christina is so excited, she is a bubbly little girl who loves her rugby ball and takes it wherever she goes. She loves playing with her two older brothers. Since coming here she paints, plays with water and is quite compliant in group activities, more so than she was before.”
During story time Christina takes her chair and sits down ready to listen. The carer reads out a book about herbs and explains their use. Christina is attentive, but then looks away.
Even though her attention shifts quite a few times during the story, she remains seated, understanding that it is what’s expected at that time.
The staff are extremely dedicated to their work, and in particular each child they care for. “Some staff have been here for over 20 years,” says Helle.
“Christina pays attention to things she wants to. She goes along with the routine now more than she used to. She would have to be held or hugged by a carer. But now she understands and likes it.
She’s very happy to play on the trampoline and likes being around the other children,” Helle explains.
The centre has a few children with special needs and it is remarkable to see how everything just hums together naturally. It’s not an easy task for these very dedicated carers, but the results are fantastic. A group of fabulous parents also work in partnership with the preschool. It really is a beautiful cosmopolitan mix of people. As it should be.
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To find out more about our early learning programs call our Customer Service team on 1800 864 846 or email email@example.com. We'd love to hear from you.