- The STaR (Special Teaching and Research) Association was established in December 2001 by a group of parents and professionals passionate about inclusive education.
- It grew out of the Early Years Initiative, which educated 3-6 year old children with disabilities and typically developing preschoolers together at Macquarie University Special Education Centre (MUSEC). Ten years’s operation and research under the direction of Dr Coral Kemp showed benefits of this model for all children.
- The first ‘community’ STaR site in 2002 was Meadowbank Multipurpose Learning Centre, with six children with special needs enrolled for two days per week. By 2004, 10 children were enrolled across five days per week. Families fundraised to supplement the 10% government funding.
- From 2005 STaR was one of just 26 organisations Australia-wide to be funded in the Early Childhood Invest to Grow initiative under the federal government’s Stronger Families and Communities Strategy. The STaR Project spread to 12 childcare centres across the Sydney metropolitan area.
- STaR’s family support program was established following a one-off grant from the Westmead Children’s Hospital in March 2005 to assist carers of children with special needs. This program continues in parallel with the Childcare Support Program.
- STaR was approved for inclusion on the service providers panel for the Helping Children with Autism package (2008) and Better Start Initiative (2011), funded by the Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs. STaR is the lead agency for a multi-disciplinary consortium of professionals who provide a range of services for families of young children with eligible disabilities.
- STaR’s Gifted Program was established in 2010 to support the special learning needs of children aged 2-5 with very advanced development.
- The Outreach program was established in 2011 to provide support to children with disabilities in childcare centres and preschools that are not affiliated with STaR.
- Private sponsorship allowed STaR to support two childcare centres with significant populations of Aboriginal children in the Blacktown area.
Our first STaR children 2002