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Inclusiveness in Action

by Linda Crisalli
September/October 2016
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Article Link: http://www.childcareexchange.com/article/inclusiveness-in-action/5023146/

I have spent the past four decades working with, and on behalf of, young children and their families. Over the years, there have been many changes in the field of Early Learning and Care; most have been good. We have come a long way in our knowledge about how young children learn and develop, and how best to support them. Our standards for best practice have expanded and evolved, as have our attitudes. Now we understand the importance of culturally sensitive, anti-bias practices. We strive to make our programs welcoming and inclusive. We value diversity. We teach children that differences should be respected, honored, and celebrated. We should be very proud of what we have accomplished.

When we think of diversity and inclusion, the first things that come to mind typically are race, ethnicity, religion, and gender. It is important to recognize that including children with disabilities in our early learning programs is also a diversity issue. We are making progress, albeit slowly, in our attitudes and policies for working with children with special needs, challenging behavior, medical conditions and/or developmental delays. Years ago, most programs wouldn’t even consider enrolling a child who had a disability or behavior problem. Children with challenging ...

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