Inclusion Self-Reflection

Note: The Inclusion Self-Reflection survey is long, as it is a reflection. Plan to allow approximately 30 minutes to complete the questions.

What is the purpose of the Early Childhood Inclusion Self Reflection?

This Inclusion Self-Reflection is for adults working directly with young children ages birth through eight to review current classroom inclusive practices and to create goals for improvement. This will help teachers and programs identify current policies and practices that support children with and without disabilities to be successful in the classroom. Every child has unique characteristics and develops within the context of her or his family, culture, and community (Idaho’s Early Learning Guidelines Introduction, 2008). The diversity and variation that exists among young children includes but is not limited to, religion, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, family culture, family structure, gender, abilities and communities. This self-reflection considers how individual needs are met.

Why Inclusion?

Inclusion means inviting all children and families to participate in a child care program and intentionally planning for ways to help every child and family to be successful, whether or not that child has an identified disability. An inclusive child care program has the same characteristics as any high quality child care program. “In an inclusive program, children with and without disabilities participate in the same routines and play experiences” (Child Care Plus+, 2008).

What role does individualization play?

Child care providers in high quality programs recognize children as unique individuals and know that every child has strengths, challenges and diverse interests. Providers who strive for the highest quality child care will continuously observe the children in their care and work with families to gain developmental information about each child. The information is then used to continually make changes to curriculum (such as routines, activities and the environment) for each child to successfully participate. If a child requires additional support, an inclusive program knows where to refer families and how to provide the support and training child care providers might need. It is all about children and families having a sense of belonging and meeting each child’s developmental needs!

What is the purpose of the Early Childhood Inclusion Self-Reflection?

This Inclusion Self-Reflection is for adults working directly with young children ages birth through eight to review current classroom inclusive practices and to create goals for improvement. This will help teachers and programs identify current policies and practices that support children with and without disabilities to be successful in the classroom. Every child has unique characteristics and develops within the context of her or his family, culture, and community (Idaho’s Early Learning Guidelines Introduction, 2008). The diversity and variation that exists among young children includes but is not limited to, religion, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, family culture, family structure, gender, abilities and communities. This self-reflection considers how individual needs are met.

The Early Childhood Inclusion Self-Reflection asks the teacher/caregiver to reflect on five major areas and is based on national standards for excellence for inclusive settings:

  1. Planning for and Supporting Participation: Adults intentionally promote belonging, participation, and engagement of children with and without disabilities among peers in inclusive settings. Children need learning opportunities which support their unique needs in the inclusive classroom. The rate of development and learning varies and is not the same for every child of the same age. Children with differing abilities and talent, with or at risk for, developmental delays may require special attention and adaptations in the classroom to support the child’s active involvement in learning and the environment.
  2. Determining Child Strengths, Interests and Needs: Children are active learners who learn through interactions and relationships with people and objects in their world. “Experiences through play, shared knowledge, curiosity and a sense of wonder are foundations for children’s learning” (Idaho Early Learning Guidelines Introduction, p. 10, 2008).
  3. Classroom Activities and Access: Specific behaviors of the adults in the classroom will encourage or discourage participation of each child in the classroom. These behaviors promote developmentally appropriate or “best” practices such as when adults use interactive play and learning with all children in the classroom. Adults pay attention to children’s differing dispositions, abilities and experiences and understand that learning is best done when all children have equal access to high quality early learning experiences. “Providing access to a wide range of learning opportunities, activities, settings, and environments is a defining feature of high quality early childhood inclusion” (NAEYC Draft Inclusion Statement, 2008).
  4. Family and Community Involvement: Parents are the child’s most important teacher as they best understand their child. Development and learning are rooted in culture and are supported by the family. “The child’s language, knowledge, traditions, and family expectations are the primary influences on development. Learning is enriched by stable, nurturing relationships within the family and community” (Idaho Early Learning Guidelines Introduction p. 11, 2008).
  5. Administrative Support: Inclusion is best supported when child care administrators/owners are invested in inclusive practices, receive training in inclusive practice and support all adults interacting with the children.