Education, Useful tools
The importance of inclusion support in early learning
21 April, 2023
Children all have their own individual personalities and quirks, but some children need extra support to thrive. Here at Edge Early Learning, we make it our business to get to know each of our children and their needs so we can help every one of them to flourish.
The world is made up of all different people, so it makes sense that our childcare centres reflect that diversity. At Edge Early Learning, we are all for diversity in childcare and welcome children from different cultural and socio-economic backgrounds, as well as children with diverse needs. We have specially designed our learning programs with inclusive strategies to meet each child’s individual requirements.
What is inclusion in childcare?
We pride ourselves on creating an environment at each of our early learning centres where all children feel welcome, valued and supported. Educators are guided by our Inclusion Support Program to implement inclusive practice in childcare. At enrolment, we collect information about each child’s background, abilities and preferences, so we can make them feel comfortable with us right from the start. It’s also an opportunity for parents to flag any areas where children may need extra support. Where identified, educators develop an Inclusive Support Plan for a child which may, for example, include planning to ensure a child with a nut allergy is only offered nut-free food, or giving a child who has trouble concentrating more opportunities to run around and get their wriggles out. Other examples of inclusive practice in childcare could be installing a ramp for a child who uses a wheelchair or providing a quiet space for a child with sensory needs.
How inclusivity benefits everyone
While it is obvious that inclusion strategies in childcare improve the learning experience for children with extra needs, the benefits are gained by all the children. For example, research shows that inclusivity:
- Promotes learning and development: If an activity is beyond the level of a child, rather than exclude them, our educators may modify the activity, provide a visual example or give them extra time or different materials so they can engage with the same activity as the other children and share the opportunity to improve their skills.
- Gives a sense of belonging: Inclusive practice in childcare creates a sense of belonging by providing a safe and welcoming environment where every child feels valued and included.
- Creates respect for diversity: Inclusive environments respect and celebrate diversity among children and their families, providing a safe and welcoming space for everyone.
- Improves social relationships: In inclusive environments, children develop empathy for each other and learn to build relationships with peers who may be different from themselves.
Edge Early Learning implements inclusive practice in childcare to create an inclusive classroom. We do this by:
- Developing an inclusive policy: Our inclusive policy provides guidance to our educators on best practices to ensure all children are given the opportunity to be included and to succeed at their level.
- Creating an accessible environment: We ensure children of all different abilities can engage with their environments.
- Following a routine: A routine helps to promote a sense of security for all children.
Edge Early Learning’s commitment to inclusion
Edge Early Learning is committed to creating an inclusive environment so all our families can reap the social and learning benefits that childcare provides. We embrace and celebrate diversity, for example:
- Educators will ask children to bring in items from home that are unique to their culture or background and the group will learn about each other together.
- Chefs will ask families about their favourite cultural dishes and may add these to the menu for all children to sample and enjoy.
- Resources in our classrooms, including books and dolls, promote diversity by exposing children to all kinds of kids.
Parents are a huge influence in children’s lives and have a vital role in teaching inclusivity. Here are some of our simple tips.