Be Different, Stay Unique-Implementing Inclusion in Pre-schools

As the days are progressing, all systems and people are moving towards creating equitable and diverse environments in all dimensions. In schools, inclusion ensures that all children regardless of their abilities, backgrounds, or learning styles, receive quality education and feel a sense of belonging. To put the topic of discussion in perspective, inclusive education is an approach that acknowledges and embraces diversity and provides equal opportunities for development in the same educational setting within the student body.

    • Creating a culture of inclusion starts at the kindergarten level with awareness and support from the entire preschool community, including teachers, staff, parents, and students. 
    • To cater to the diverse needs of children, preschools should develop Individualised Learning Plans (ILPs). These plans consider a child's strengths and weaknesses and provide targeted support to help them achieve their full potential including modifications to the curriculum, specialised instruction, or additional resources to address specific needs.
    • The curriculum and teaching methods in preschools should be flexible and adaptable to meet the unique learning needs of each child. 
    • Creating a physical environment that is accessible and welcoming to children with various abilities helps too. In addition, providing sensory-rich materials, like sensory tables or textured toys, can benefit children with sensory processing disorders.
    • Educators are most crucial in creating an inclusive school culture. Preschools should invest in professional development opportunities that train teachers in inclusive teaching practices, behavioural management, and strategies for accommodating different learning styles so that they can collaborate and share best practices.
    • Peer support is a valuable aspect of inclusive education. Preschools can encourage peer interaction by fostering an environment of empathy, understanding, and cooperation. “Why be a star when you can make a constellation?”–Mariam Kaba 
    • Involving parents and caregivers is essential to the success of inclusive education. Preschools should maintain open lines of communication with families, engage them in the decision-making process, and seek their input on individualised learning plans. A strong partnership between parents and educators can help ensure that a child's unique needs are met both at school and at home.

    Implementing inclusive education in preschools is a commitment to creating a diverse and equitable learning environment that benefits all children. Inclusive education is not just a pedagogical approach; it is a reflection of a society that values diversity, equity, and the potential of every child. When inclusivity becomes the culture of preschools, it makes it more natural and achievable for all the stakeholders in the further years of schooling.

    You have a responsibility to make inclusion a daily thought, so we can get rid of the word ‘inclusion.’”

    –Theodore Melfi