The Preschool Field Officer (PSFO) program is a targeted and time-limited capacity-building program. All Victorian funded kindergarten programs are eligible to receive PSFO service to support the access, inclusion and participation of children with additional needs in a kindergarten program.
This includes children enrolled in Four-Year-Old Kindergarten, funded Three-Year-Old Kindergarten and Early Start Kindergarten.
Funded kindergarten programs are provided in a variety of settings including children’s centres, long day care centres, community kindergartens, independent schools and some government schools.
Preschool field officers (PSFOs) use a locally responsive approach that includes consultative support, resourcing and practical advice to assist early childhood educators.
PSFOs also assist early childhood educators to link families into supports and services available for children with developmental concerns and broader child and family supports.
Children with additional needs
The PSFO program defines children with additional needs as children presenting with developmental concerns. Developmental concerns may be associated with any area of children’s development, from language delays or challenging behaviours through to children with multiple disabilities.
Children with additional needs resulting from trauma are also eligible for a PSFO referral.
If a child’s development is supported by a or early childhood intervention continuity of support provider, it is expected that the early childhood educator in consultation with the family will seek support from this provider in the first instance.
Early childhood intervention professionals can provide strategies that support the child to participate meaningfully in learning experiences with their peers that are consistent with strategies being implemented across other settings where the child spends their time.
The PSFO role
PSFOs work within the context of the kindergarten program. The PSFO works with the early childhood educators to enhance their capacity and confidence in providing an inclusive program that is responsive to the needs of all children. The PSFO does not deliver direct intervention to a child within the kindergarten program.
The role of the PSFO is to support, guide and coach early childhood educators to provide high quality programs that support the inclusion of children with additional needs.
Support to educators may include:
- provision of information and resources, and identification of adaptations, strategies and experiences to inform programming for a child with additional needs
- identification of a child with additional needs through contributing to the assessment of the child’s capabilities as well as their learning and development needs
- supporting early childhood educator’s confidence and capacity to respond to a parent’s concerns regarding their child’s development
- provision of planning support that respects, acknowledges and complements the educator’s expertise in supporting children’s learning and development
- coaching of an educator to assist with planning and implementation of an inclusive kindergarten program that supports a child with additional needs
- building professional partnerships and collaborative relationships with educators
- modelling of specific skills, suggestions and strategies with educators
- assistance to embed child specific teaching and learning approaches and opportunities into the everyday kindergarten environment
- identification of referral pathways and facilitation of linkages for families to the range of child and family supports, including more specialised assessment and services, when required.
PSFO addresses by region
South Western Victoria
North Eastern Victoria
North Western Victoria
South Eastern Victoria
Reviewed 31 August 2023