What is an Inclusive Classroom?
The Joint Statement of the Division of Early Childhood (DEC) and the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) describes an inclusive classroom as having three components, including access, participation, and supports. As an educator, it is important to create an environment that provides opportunities for all children to access safe, reliable childcare, the opportunity to participate in the classroom in a meaningful way, and have supports in place to help children achieve developmental milestones.
There are general similarities that should be clear across all inclusive classrooms, these include:
- Opportunities for students to participate in all classroom activities
- Having a support system that meets individual needs for every student
- Making sure that every child is working towards and meeting their developmental goals
- Fostering an environment where children feel valued and that they are all equal participants in the classroom
- Adjusting the classroom to fit the needs of the individual, instead of expecting children to change
- A clear value being placed on inclusion and diversity
- Collaboration between parents and child care providers to ensure the best care is provided to the child