An interview with Jenny Finlay, Director at Borilla Kindergarten.
The learning is being implemented all the time. CPI has become embedded into our service. Child behaviours rarely escalate to violence. The number of critical incidents have decreased by a significant amount and staff wellbeing has improved immensely. It's a clear, consistent approach that is used by all at Borilla Kindergarten.
Dealing with complex behaviours
1. Can you give us a brief description of your organisation and the sector in which you work?
I am the Director of Borilla Kindergarten in Emerald, Queensland. We are a large and complex kindergarten catering for 120 children in the year prior to formal schooling. We are proud to be an inclusive kindergarten catering for numerous children with disabilities and those in “out of home” care. I manage 25 staff members in our community-based, not-for-profit kindergarten.
2. Describe the requirement or need. Where and why did you need assistance? What were, or are, you hoping to achieve?
A few years back our kindergarten staff were faced with ever increasing complex behaviours. These behaviours were escalating, and educators were concerned about their own safety as well as the safety of the children as the number of incidents was increasing and their behaviour was escalating and becoming dangerous.
There was also a concern that educators did not have a consistent approach when working with children displaying escalating behaviours. Educators expressed concerns about their wellbeing. It was decided that MAPA® (now CPI Safety Intervention™) would allow all educators to provide a safe and consistent approach when managing difficult behaviour in young children.
3. Why did you feel that CPI was best placed to meet this need?
One of our teachers had heard of CPI training programmes and after extensive research and investigation it was decided that CPI had one of the few courses that would provide our kindergarten with the framework we were seeking.
Reduction in dangerous behaviour
4. What did CPI do for you?
We are now in our fifth year of implementation following the CPI training. All our staff are now trained in this approach. Critical incidents with dangerous child behaviours (self harming or harming staff or other children) are now very rare as all educators have the skills and confidence to de-escalate situations.
5. Who took part the in training from your organisation?
Myself and the director became the Certified Instructors for our kindergarten. I then delivered the training to all our staff including the admin staff who work with parents. It is important this training is revisited on a regular basis and that all staff receive the training.
6. How was the training received? Were there any barriers or challenges? If so, how were these overcome?
The initial training did present a challenge as I had to travel to Brisbane to complete this as we are not located in the Brisbane Metropolitan area. Although there is an initial up-front cost to complete the training, the long term gain makes it well worth it. There are always challenges to train and update the training skills for all staff members, however with good planning and management these can be overcome.
7. Did the training meet your expectations? Were there any gaps?
The training has more than exceeded our expectations. Our service only focuses on teaching the child restraints. The new trauma-informed component of the training has filled the need we are seeking in this area.
8. What are your organisation’s plans for future implementation of what was learnt on the training?
Our staff continue to use the Safety Intervention™ escalation skills every day in our kindergarten.
Critical incidents decreased
9. Has any of the learning already been implemented? If so, what was the result?
The learning is being implemented all the time. CPI has become embedded into our service. Child behaviours rarely escalate to violence. The number of critical incidents (children attempting to abscond, self-harm or harm staff) have decreased by a significant amount (almost to the point where they are non-existent).
Staff are more confident when dealing with challenging situations because of the CPI training; they have a clear road map of what their response should be. Staff wellbeing has improved immensely because of this clear consistent approach that is used by all at Borilla Kindergarten.