Early Learning and Inclusion
Inclusion is the right of all individuals to participate actively in all aspects of community life (i.e. school, child care, recreational activities, et cetera). According to the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) and the Division for Early Childhood (DEC), "The desired results of inclusive experiences for children with disabilities and their families include a sense of belonging and membership, positive social relationships and friendships, and development and learning to reach their full potential," (DEC & NAEYC 2009).
"Inclusion is NOT about placing a child with a disability in a classroom or a school. That is only a tiny piece of the puzzle. Rather, inclusion is about how we deal with diversity, how we deal with difference...How else can we explain the emotions unleashed by the presence of a tiny child in a wheelchair or the presence of a teenager with down syndrome in a local school...Inclusion does not mean we are all the same. Inclusion does not mean we all agree. Rather, inclusion celebrates our diversity and differences with respect and gratitude. The greater our diversity, the richer our capacity to create new visions....If we exclude people, we are programming them for the fight of their lives - to get in and to belong." (Forest & Pearpoint, n.d.).
DEC/NAEYC 2009 Position Statement
• Division of Early Childhood (DEC) & National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) Joint Position Statement on Early Childhood Inclusion
• Creating Choice Boards (pdf)
Administrators and Inclusion
• An Early Care Administrator’s Guide to Inclusion (pdf)
• Early Developments Special Edition: Inclusion in Child Care Centers (pdf)
• Why Program Quality Matters (pdf)
Adaptations and Accomodations
The video workshops below demonstrate how to adapt materials and routines for children in your program:
• Adapting Play Materials Workshop
• Adapting Classroom Toys Workshop
• Adapting Music Circle Workshop
Some children may benefit from an individual schedule to ease the transition from one activity to another:
• Creating an Individualized Schedule (pdf)
• Individualized Schedule Icons (pdf)
The purpose of a choice board is to provide the child with a visual representation of an object/ activity to increase comprehension and communication skills. It is very useful for children who have limited vocabulary. Choice boards can be created using actual objects or pictures. When teaching a child to use the choice board, you should begin with only two choices at time, preferably with the most preferred object/activity and one that is least preferred. This will allow the child to make the cause/effect connection: "I point to ____, I get ____."
• Teaching A Child to Make a Choice (pdf)
• Choice Board Icons (pdf)
• Song Board Adaptation (pdf)
• Song Board Icons (pdf)
The general layout and feel of your classroom is one of the first things you should focus on when thinking about including all children.
• Classroom Layout Tips (pdf)
• Creating a Positive Environment (pdf)
• Circle Time Adaptations Tip Sheet (pdf)
Ideas to adapt other daily tasks:
• Getting Dressed Tip Sheet (pdf)
• Getting Dressed Story (pdf)
• Mealtime Accomodations (pdf)
• Putting on a Jacket Tip Sheet (pdf)
• Special Diets Tip Sheet (pdf)
• Specialized Equipment Tip Sheet (pdf)
• Toileting Independence Tip Sheet (pdf)
• Additional Adaptation Resources (pdf)
Social-Emotional Development / Challenging Behavior
The video workshops below will provide a basic understanding of why children may exhibit a certain behavior and how we can help them change the negative behavior into a positive behavior!
• Understanding Behavior Workshop - Part I
• Understanding Behavior Workshop - Part II
Below is a story about a child who has a hard time leaving the playground. It illustrates useful strategies to change undesired behavioral responses.
• Sample Story (pdf)
• General Behavior Strategies Tip Sheet (pdf)
• Encouraging Positive Behaviors Tip Sheet (pdf)
The video workshops below provide additional strategies and insight to help children in their social/emotional development.
• Reinforcement Workshop
• Giving Instructions Workshop
• Sharing and Turn Taking Workshop
• Playing to Learn Workshop
• Sensory Stimulation Activities Workshop
It is important for children to recognize their feelings and learn better ways to respond to their emotions.
• Teaching Your Child to Identify & Express Emotions (pdf)
• Teaching Your Child to Cooperate with Requests (pdf)
• Sample Story (pdf)
• Identifying Skills to Teach (pdf)
• List of Children’s Books to Support Social Emotional Development (pdf)
Social stories are an excellent way to help a child learn new social skills (for example, the appropriate way to ask for a toy) and/or to prepare for an important transition (i.e., changing schools). Social stories can be individualized or created for an entire group of children.
• Creating Social Stories (pdf)
• Sample Social Story: I Can be a Super Friend (ppt)
Communication & Language Development
The video workshops below will teach you how to use visuals to increase communication and language!
• Visual Communication Workshop
• Giving Directions Workshop
Additional information to understand how children communicate:
• Teaching a Child to Ask a Friend to Play (pdf)
• Definition of Speech & Language Terms (pdf)
• Checklist of Communication Functions (pdf)
A Child Centered Approach for Families and Educators
(some resources are available in Spanish)
• Creating an Information Binder for Your Child (pdf)
• Creating a Child-School Communication Book (pdf)
• Is Your Child’s School Inclusive? (pdf)
• Is Your Child’s School Inclusive? (Spanish) (pdf)
• Inclusive Classrooms (pdf)
• Inclusive Classrooms (Spanish) (pdf)
• Speaking up and working with others to include your child (pdf)
• Speaking up and working with others to include your child (Spanish) (pdf)