Mikarie Child Care Centre has won the Building Inclusion award in the 2018 HESTA Early Childhood Education & Care Awards.
The Mikarie Child Care Centre was established by The Sylvanvale Foundation following extensive research showing the local community lacked adequate child care services for children with disabilities.
Overcoming this gap, The Mikarie Child Care Centre provides early childhood education and care for children with and without a disability in one setting. This makes the centre’s curriculum unique because it specifically caters to children of all abilities.
This inclusive approach to early childhood education and care includes teaching all children to key word sign and ensuring the centre is fully accessible by wheelchair.
Sylvanvale Chief Executive, Leanne Fretten, says Mikarie’s approach means that children develop in a high-quality educational setting that encourages acceptance and belonging.
“Mikarie was set up to offer an environment which helps each child to participate in as many activities as possible regardless of their ability by providing additional assistance and modifying activities,” Leanne says.
“The long day care centre is responsive to individual needs and respectful of diversity. It benefits all children and contributes to building the foundations of an inclusive society.
“Our service means that at an early age children learn that all people should be treated equally, they have the opportunity to build friendships with people with a disability and understand that we’re all the same.”
Receiving the award on behalf of Mikarie, Room Leader Cameron Evans said winning the award was the culmination of a lot of hard work and showcased the amazing professional skills of the Mikarie team.
“We do what we do every day to see the smiles on the children’s faces and to help them reach a personal goal,” Cameron said. “It might seem something simple like crawling or walking but these are huge milestones that we get to share with the children and their families.”
Leanne says Mikarie will use the prize money from proud Awards sponsors ME - the bank for you, to train educators on strategies to enhance inclusion.