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Going the Extra Mile to Ensure Everyone is Included

17 October 2023

Kidspace Caloundra is an Outside of School Hours Care (OSHC) service on the Sunshine Coast that offers Before School, After School, Vacation and Saturday Care. They have over 1100 children enrolled in the service and up to 100 children attend each session. The service charters two fifty-seater buses each day to transport the children to eight local schools and then bring them back to the service in the afternoon.

The service was receiving feedback from families that although the schools in the local area had OSHC programs, they were finding it difficult to find care for their children with additional needs. This was having an impact on the ability of families to work. One of these families had three school-aged boys. Two of the brothers had their enrolment accepted at the school’s OSHC program but the family was told the program could not meet the needs of their third son, Nolan. The family collected Nolan each day at 3pm which impacted on their work and Nolan was upset that he couldn’t be with his brothers.

Kevan and Lynne, owners of Kidspace Caloundra worked closely with their Inclusion Professional to identify the barriers to including Nolan at the service. Together they arranged for Specialist Equipment to be put into place to support Nolan to access and participate in the program. This included a mobile floor hoist and sling, an electric change table and an adaptive swing. They accessed Immediate Time Limited funding for an additional educator which allowed all the educators to spend time with Nolan, learn about his interests, become confident with his care needs, and build a trusting relationship with him. Kevan collaborated with the bus company to obtain a low-set bus from Gladstone and together they made further modifications to the bus to accommodate a wheelchair so Nolan could be collected from school and brought to the service. This bus is now affectionately referred to as ‘Nolan’s bus’ by the community.

Nolan now spends his afternoons with his brothers at Kidspace. He has also made some new friends and his parents are able to continue to work. Recently, Nolan began attending the service’s Vacation Care program and recently he joined his friends on an excursion to Aussie World. The community has embraced Kidspace Caloundra and the service has a lengthy waiting list and a high number of children with additional needs attending each day. The Inclusion Professional continues to work with the service to support their inclusive practices, recently creating a sensory room where children can take themselves to self-regulate when needed. The service is currently completing an Innovative Solutions application which will support educators better understand the impacts of trauma on a child’s developing brain and to build their confidence in supporting a large cohort of children with challenging behaviours.

If you would like support to reflect and plan for reasonable adjustments for children in your service, you can contact your Inclusion Professional.