Inclusive Practices

Inclusive Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC) services enable all children; children with a disability, from Cultural and Linguistically Diverse backgrounds, from refugee and humanitarian background and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children to access and participate successfully in children's services. The sense of belonging maximises learning opportunities, particularly learning English as a second language.

The provision of inclusive education and care is an indicator of quality. Universal ECEC programs that serve all children provide a stronger foundation for developmental outcomes. For an ECEC service, the knowledge from working with children from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander or Cultural and Linguistically Diverse backgrounds or refugee and humanitarian backgrounds or children with a disability has been found to benefit all children in education and care environments and result in higher quality.

Inclusion in early years and childcare is as much concerned with the participation of practitioners as with the involvement of children and young people. Participation implies playing, learning, and working in collaboration with others. It involves making choices about, and having a say in, what we do. More deeply, it is about being recognised, accepted and valued for ourselves. Developing inclusion involves reducing all forms of exclusion.1

Inclusion in education and care sector involves:

  • Increasing the participation of children and young people in, and reducing their exclusion from, the cultures, activities and communities of local settings.
  • Restructuring the cultures, policies and practices in settings so that they are responsive to the diversity of children/young people in the locality.
  • Valuing equally, all children, young people, parents/educators and practitioners.
  • Viewing the differences between children as resources to support play, learning and participation rather than as problems to be overcome.
  • Acknowledging the right of children to good quality education and childcare in their locality.
  • Making improvements for practitioners as well as for children.
  • Reducing barriers to play, learning and participation for all children not only those with impairments or those who are categorised as ‘having special educational needs’
  • Learning from attempts to overcome barriers for children whose play, learning and/or participation is a focus of concern, to make changes that benefit children more widely.
  • Emphasising the development of community and values, as well as achievements.
  • Fostering mutually sustaining relationships between settings and communities.
  • Recognising that inclusion in early education and childcare are aspects of inclusion in society.
  • Putting inclusive values into action.2

1&2 2006 CSIE. Booth, T, Ainscow, M and Kingston, D (2006) Index for Inclusion: developing play, learning and participation in early years and childcare.


CAERSU acknowledges the Traditional Owners of the land on which we work, those being the Gubbi Gubbi, Mununjali, Jagera, Yuggera, Ugarapul and Turrbal Peoples. We respect their spiritual relationship with their country and recognise that their cultural and heritage beliefs are still as important to the descendants of today.