Let’s sit and think, what does inclusion for all actually mean for us as parents, educators even sports coaches and friends.
As a parent and educator inclusion to me is allowing every child be part of the activities, in a safe supported environment. Educating my child it is ok for people to have different beliefs, look individual as we all are and should be. Allowing each child to grow and develop to the best of their individual abilities.
As a friend this is accepting differences between each other and building friendship on experiences, interests and circumstances.
There are many ways we can provide inclusion in the classroom, with a class of 20-24 is this possible I ask you? Research has shown it is with the right fundamental programs, resources and motivation from schools starting in the early years.
There is a brilliant article by Inclusive School Network called “Together we learn better: Inclusive schools benefit all children”
They discuss, this process must incorporate fundamental change in the way a school community supports and addresses the individual needs of each child. As such, effective models of inclusive education not only benefit students with disabilities, but also create an environment in which every student, including those who do not have disabilities, has the opportunity to flourish.
Inclusive School Network (ISN) research shows the benefits are not only for the students, educators, parents, community and culture of a school. Here are a few they have identified by ISN
Differentiated instruction increases student engagement
One of the most important principles of inclusive education is that no two learners are alike, and so inclusive schools place great importance on creating opportunities for students to learn and be assessed in a variety of ways (visual, auditory, kinesthetic, etc.) when designing instruction.
Academic supports help each student access the full curriculum
In this age of accountability and high-stakes testing, it is important for educators to ensure that every student is addressing the appropriate standards and objectives across the curriculum. As such, inclusive schools provide academic supports (flexible pacing and grouping, reading and literacy specialists, tutoring, etc.) that create a supportive environment for all learners.
Behavioral supports help maintain a positive learning environment for everyone
Another important factor in effective inclusive education is the implementation of consistent behavioral supports throughout the learning environment. This consistency is essential for the success of students with emotional or behavioral disabilities in the general education environment, but school-wide behavioral supports also help to establish high expectations throughout the school community as a whole.
Respect for diversity creates a welcoming environment for all
Inclusive education for students with disabilities can only be successful when those students feel that they are truly a part of the school community.
Inclusive practices make effective use of a school’s resources
Not only does that model of special education in a separate setting deprive students with disabilities of interaction with their peers and full access to the curriculum, it can also involve duplicate systems and resources that are costly for schools to maintain.
Inclusive school communities are so important especially when we live with so many cultures, religions and varying abilities in our community. Not just where our family live as expats away from family and bringing up third culture kids, globally the world is so small lets make it inclusive.
Let’s advocate to build a more inclusive community including our education system. Celebrate the differences in our community, set the example for your children by creating an inclusive culture in your home, school and community.
ISN have downloads for resources to help build an inclusive school environment, have developed questionnaires all parents should read and consider before deciding on a school. To read the full articles and information from Inclusive school network go to http://inclusiveschools.org/about-isn/ .