Discussion: Including Every Child
Research and practice in the field of early childhood increasingly supports the full inclusion of young children within early childhood environments. Until 2009, the field lacked a national definition for inclusion, which resulted in vast disparity among programs and practices. This disparity was further exacerbated by the historical segregation between the fields of early childhood general and special education.
The joint position statement on inclusion developed by the Division of Early Childhood of the Council of Exceptional Children (DEC) and the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) was released in 2009 and changed both the lack of a national definition as well as some aspects of this historical segregation. Consider the following definition included in the statement:
Early childhood inclusion embodies the values, policies, and practices that support the right of every infant and young child and his or her family, regardless of ability, to participate in a broad range of activities and contexts as full members of families, communities, and society. The desired results of inclusive experiences for children with and without 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. The defining features of inclusion that can be used to identify high quality early childhood programs and services are access, participation, and supports.
Reflect on the required resources provided for this Discussion, as well as the media segments featuring conversations with Drs. Amy Santos and Johnna Darragh.
- The research-based benefits of inclusion, access, participation, and support strategies—all required for successful inclusion to occur
- The unique strengths and challenges of children who are culturally and linguistically diverse in terms of assuring their full access, participation, and support within early childhood classrooms and communities
- Potential benefits and obstacles to including every child within early childhood classroom environments
With all of these thoughts in mind:
By Wednesday of Week 6:
- Ways in which you believe the DEC/NAEYC joint position statement on inclusion contributes to the field
- A brief summary of the research synthesis points for inclusion and how a focus on access, participation, and supports can be extended to support the belonging and participation of every child, including those who are culturally, linguistically, and ability diverse
- What you perceive to be the benefits of and obstacles to ensuring that every child is included within early childhood programs