Inclusive Child Care

Young girl sitting on the floor in a play area with a blue ball in her hands.

“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.”

Early Childhood Inclusion Position Statement PDF, National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) and Division for Early Childhood (DEC)

Inclusive child care means including children with diverse needs and abilities. This can include children with disabilities and developmental delays, children with complex health care needs, children learning a second language and children with challenging behaviors. IdahoSTARS supports the right of every young child to have access to quality child care with the necessary supports to fully participate in the child care setting. For this reason, IdahoSTARS incorporates early childhood inclusion as a necessary component of quality.

Benefits of Inclusion

For child care providers, inclusion provides opportunities for:

  • Developing an understanding of individual needs
  • Learning to value and appreciate individual differences
  • Growing in experience, skills, and confidence
  • Discovering community resources
  • Demonstrating equal opportunities and rights for all
  • Building partnerships through collaboration
  • Strengthening the professional reputation of child care professionals
Young girl in white shirt with Baby Girl spelled out.


Inclusion and the Law

According to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) child care programs are considered public facilities, therefore, all children and families should have equal access to child care. IdahoSTARS can support providers with making reasonable accommodations to their policies and practices to include children with disabilities and other diverse needs.


How to Support Inclusion

To best support inclusion, all child care providers are encouraged to:

  • Attend training related to inclusion of children with diverse abilities (See the IdahoSTARS training calendar for opportunities)
  • Connect families to resources and outside agencies as necessary
  • Growing in experience, skills, and confidence
  • Track children's development
  • Participate in the Children with Diverse Abilities Standard of the Quality Rating and Improvement System