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Learning Materials for Children of All Abilities

by Kirsten Haugen
January/February 2005
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Article Link: https://www.childcareexchange.com/article/learning-materials-for-children-of-all-abilities/5016145/

Three young children play with bright wooden puzzles. Paola traces her fingers over and around a bumpy tree shape, as she searches for its spot. Mackenzie grabs the knob on the final piece of a truck puzzle, twists it into place and says, "Let's do it again, Mason!" And grinning broadly, Mason spills all the pieces out again, for the tenth time! Not much would surprise you about this joyful activity, except perhaps to learn that Paola is legally blind, and Mason, who has cerebral palsy, struggles to control his hands and arms. And while the puzzles are common enough, they were deliberately chosen, thoughtfully adapted, and creatively used to foster play and learning among the widest possible range of children.

A planned approach

A conscious approach to choosing, adapting, and using learning materials can make early childhood programs more welcoming and successful for all children, including children with disabilities. Take a closer look at the puzzles Paola, Mackenzie, and Mason were using. The bright colors and interesting textures draw all children in, while providing an essential means for Paola to enjoy and solve the puzzles. The large knobs on the truck puzzle are helpful to Mason as he develops ...

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