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Early Years


Early Years Program


The Giant Steps Early Years Program caters for children aged 3.5 to 5 years with a diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder. The program is designed to provide highly individualised and targeted support for children and their families with a core focus on working collaboratively with parents to develop foundation skills for children as they prepare to transition to school.

As part of the Early Years Program, teachers work alongside speech therapists, occupational therapists and music therapists in a transdisciplinary model to collaborate, plan, develop and implement a range of group experiences. These activities are based on best practice in early childhood early intervention, autism and education. This highly collaborative approach allows us to deliver rich and diverse programs within a supportive learning environment designed to support engagement and development of skills across a broad range of experiences. Programs are heavily differentiated to develop knowledge and independence as well as support the unique social, physical and emotional needs of each child.

The Early Years Program promotes a strengths-based approach and aims to support each child to build skills in:

  • Developing relationships and rapport as a solid foundation for building social engagement and connection with adults and peers
  • Supporting the development of all aspects of communication including social communication, comprehension, and expressive communication
  • Supporting each child to develop increasing independence within activities of daily living including mealtimes, managing self and belongs, and toileting
  • Building independence within school routines to support each child to successfully access group based educational settings and prepare for the transition to school
  • Developing a broader range of functional play skills to support self-occupation and relationships with peers

A typical day in the Giant Steps Early Years Program may include the following activities:

  • Outdoor play experiences focused on supporting motor skills and emotional regulation

  • Small groups focused on a variety of learning areas to support the development of foundation skills, knowledge and independence in preparation for the transition to school

  • Activities of daily living including developing hand washing, toileting and mealtimes routines

  • Music and occupational therapy groups

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With a strong family-centred focus, the Early Years Program strives to work in collaboration with each family to identify key learning goals for every child. Additionally, the Early Years team works alongside families in a holistic way to address identified priority areas and build family capacity within the home and wider community setting.

Supporting children and families across their natural settings seeks to promote each child’s independence and the inclusion of daily routines both at home and within the community. The support provided within these environments promotes opportunities for children to engage, participate and practise skills across different settings, leading to a greater sense of independence and belonging.

Sarah Rawlins

Co-Director Primary

Sarah holds a Master of Special Education, University of Newcastle, Bachelor of Education (Music Education), University of Sydney and a Graduate Certificate in Music Therapy.

Sarah is the Co-Director of Primary and has been working in the field of Special Education for over 15 years with a special interest in Early Childhood early intervention. She has worked closely with both families and mainstream Early Childhood education and care settings to foster and support successful partnerships and collaborative teams around the child and family.  Additionally, she has provided training and support to mainstream settings to build capacity and develop quality inclusive practices to support the inclusion of all children within Early Childhood settings.


Select a team


Select a team

With a strong family-centred focus, the Early Years Program strives to work in collaboration with each family.

Please support Giant Steps through a tax deductible donation and help change the lives of children and adults on the autism spectrum.