Inclusive Childcare: Skye's Story

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Six year old Skye is full of fun and loves to be in amongst the action. She makes friends wherever she goes, she loves music, swimming and hanging out with her mates. Skye was born with a genetic disorder that is so rare, she is one of a kind in the whole world.

In 2019, four year old Skye pioneered the inclusive early childhood education program developed by Xavier in partnership with Catholic Early EdCare.

As a toddler Skye’s parents Vanessa and Owen were concerned about her outgrowing her very early childhood education centres. Their hope for her was that she could attend a Kindergarten program where she could participate, have fun and be educated alongside her peers.

Vanessa and Owen knew that this wouldn’t be easy. Skye needed one-on-one support for her feeding, medication management and other health needs. They would need to find a Kindergarten that would welcome Skye and ensure that Skye had the right health support from a trained support person while she was at Kindergarten.

Skye already received in-home support from Xavier. The timing was perfect when Xavier approached Vanessa and Owen about the inclusive childcare pilot program. Asked if they would like to take part, they jumped at the chance.  Skye attended St Cecilia’s Kindergarten, a Catholic Early EdCare centre with one-on-one support from her Xavier Support Worker Melissa.

Melissa received training from Xavier Registered Nurses and Occupational Therapists to ensure Skye received the high quality care that she needed. Each day, Melissa would take care of Skye’s tube feeding, administer her medication, support with toileting and help to move Skye around St Cecelia’s by operating Skye’s hoist, hi-lo chair and outdoor pram.

Spending two days a week at St Cecilia’s, Skye really flourished and became part of their little community. Educationally and socially, Vanessa and Owen believe that Skye’s time at St Cecilia’s was the best preparation she could have had for primary school. Vanessa adds “Skye made the most incredible friends at St Cecilia’s and in fact so did I!” Even now as a big girl in Prep, Skye and Vanessa still catch up with their Kindy friends for play dates and one of Skye’s favourite things is having high tea with her Kindy bestie.

Vanessa says “St Cecilia’s was just such an incredible experience for Skye and for us as a family. At the start of the journey, we weren’t quite sure what was going to be possible but we couldn’t have hoped for a better start to Skye’s education.  To watch Skye make friends and have so much fun, it was amazing to see. We have very happy memories of St Cecelia’s and we’re so grateful to Xavier and Catholic Early EdCare.”

Watch Skye’s story here