With around half of all humanitarian arrivals to Australia aged less than 18 years and a high proportion of these young children - Early Childhood Education Teachers at TAFE NSW are skilling the next generation of childcare workers in trauma-informed care, ensuring children from Refugee backgrounds are less at risk of re-traumatisation.
Western Sydney plays a major role in the settlement of humanitarian arrivals in Australia, of the 44,082 refugees and humanitarian entrants settled in NSW between 2006 and 2016, up to three-quarters of these refugees initially settled in Greater Western Sydney .
TAFE NSW Early Childhood Education teacher Manik Gadre delivered professional development training on trauma-informed care to teachers from across the Western Sydney region, and said early childhood education and care services can play a significant role in helping refugee children and families cope with the transition of resettlement.
“Families from refugee backgrounds face many challenges associated with settling into a new community, and often Australia’s early childhood support system is totally unfamiliar.
“While these children possess enormous resilience and strength, the experiences of repeated and prolonged exposure to trauma means educators need to be equipped with strategies specific to the needs of refugee children coping with cultural transition,” Ms Gadre said.
With over 16 years’ experience in the Early Childhood Education industry, Ms Gadre has worked with organisations across all sectors; including The Smith Family, Woodville Alliance, Koorana Child & Family Services and the NSW Department of Communities and Justice on their Brighter Futures Program.
Throughout her time in the industry, Ms Gadre has been a passionate advocate for the rights of children and families from diverse backgrounds, an awareness she hopes to pass onto up-and-coming Early Childhood Educators studying at TAFE NSW.
“Rather than suggesting educators take on the role of psychologists, I encourage students and colleagues to approach care from a trauma-informed lens.
“This includes building trust with children and families, acknowledging a child’s strengths such as listening skills, sports, reading, or helping with tasks, and being aware when planning activities that some children from refugee backgrounds may be sensitive to loud noises or music.
“By acknowledging diversity in our Early Childhood Education training, TAFE NSW produces work ready graduates that are equipped with best practice skills and knowledge to support all children in their workplace.”
Current students will continue to study the Bachelor of Early Childhood Education at TAFE NSW this term using web conferencing technology. This type of connected learning supports social distancing, while enabling students to progress their studies.
TAFE NSW has adopted connected learning as a new mode of delivery because it supports social distancing during COVID-19 and allows students to be connected to their teacher. In many cases, this still supports students to demonstrate their competency in their courses.
To learn more about Early Childhood Education and Care courses on offer at TAFE NSW, visit www.tafensw.edu.au or call 131 601.
Media contact: Kellie Dillon, TAFE NSW Media Officer, 0408 006 866, firstname.lastname@example.org
 The Australian Refugee Health Practice Guide, Foundation House.
 South Western Sydney Local Health District – NSW Refugee Service.