Inclusion in the early years

Inclusion in the early years, simply stated, is about educating and supporting individuals with and without disabilities together in the same early childhood/afterschool environment. In an early childhood/afterschool inclusive program, the strengths and challenges of all children are observed and documented. They are then used to develop goals and individual plans for children requiring more activities, or additional methods than the programming currently being offered. Inclusion can be thought of as the practice of fully enabling all children to participate actively and meaningfully in any environment. Inclusion means rights for all.

Your child has the right to access, fully participate in, and be supported in any and all early learning and childcare programs, regardless of ability or additional need.

Your child has the right to meaningfully participate in all program activities and to be accommodated for when attending field trips and any/all other opportunities provided to their peers.

Your child has the right to be fully supported while attending early learning. There should be positive collaboration with community partners, outside agencies, and other professionals to ensure a positive and inclusive learning experience for all. All children deserve not just a space, but a place where individual needs are met and they are welcomed and respected.

It is no longer a question in New Brunswick as to whether, as professionals in early learning and childcare/afterschool programs, they offer inclusive practices and services, but rather a question about how they do so. Inclusive practices and services are a foundation of high-quality early learning and childcare/afterschool programs. They are not an “add-on”, but part of an essential belief that all children can contribute and need to develop as contributing members of society.

Genuinely inclusive programs respect the contribution of families and include them in every aspect of planning and goal-setting for their child. The inclusion of families in these aspects sets the tone for powerful relationship-building between families and staff.

For additional information on the Focus On Inclusion Program, which works to support early learning and childcare centres to enhance their inclusive practices throughout the province, please contact:

Kristi Ewart, B.Ed

Manager of Early Learning & Inclusive Childcare/Directrice de l’apprentissage inclusif de la petite enfance

800 Hanwell Rd.

Fredericton, NB

E3B 2R7

kewart@nbacl.nb.ca

Tel/Tél : 506.444.2402

Toll Free/Sans frais : 1.866.622.2548

Fax/Téléc : 506.453.4422

www.nbacl.nb.ca