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What inclusive practices should dominate early childhood programs to accommodate and support all students? In today’s post, we’ll take you through 12 inclusive practices with the strongest research base to support young children in inclusive programs.
Where do these practices “come from”? They are the core of the Inclusive Classroom Profile (ICP ™), a field-proven observation tool for classrooms that cater to children ages 2-5. Today’s publication, cited and adapted from the ICP handbook, introduces you to the 12 practices and gives you real-world examples. You will see how each key practice, from conflict resolution to the transition between activities, contributes to a successful high-quality inclusion in the early childhood education classroom.
Examples Of Teaching Strategies In Early Childhood Education
Kindergarten teacher Kelly observes that Tara, a 4-year-old girl with cerebral palsy, uses a walker to walk from the corner of the block to the art area during free play time. Kelly expressly asks Tara’s friends on the corner of the block to clean the alley next to the corner by pulling out some toys so that Tara can access the space independently.
Teaching Strategies Early Learning Platform
Peter is a 3-year-old boy who is non-verbal and has developmental delays. During circle time, Kelly’s teacher invites another student, Andrew, to model for Peter the movement of a song he enjoys performing with his friends. Seeing Andrew use his hands to form song movements is an effective way to help Peter imitate, learn, and execute song movements independently.
Kelly joins Martha, a 4-year-old girl recently diagnosed with autism, during her free time. Kelly uses the visual activity controller in the role-playing area to help Martha represent the steps needed to cook her friends’ meals.
Kelly watches two kids in the yard fighting over a new toy. He invited the two children to consider more positive ways so that they could both enjoy the new toy. One of the two children involved in the conflict has difficulty communicating with expressive language, so Kelly invites the children to look at some pictures that illustrate possible alternative solutions. With Kelly’s facilitation, the two children decided to take turns using the new toy paying attention to the alarm clock that would indicate when to give the toy to each other.
When a child asked Kelly why other children used different types of spoons during snack time, Kelly replied that children can use different spoons as they grow up and learn to eat different foods. He taught all the children the many sizes of spoons available to them. Kelly shows examples of how younger children may need larger or softer spoons and shows how some spoons may be easier to hold for some children.
Teaching Styles: Different Teaching Methods & Strategies
When 4-year-old Charlie seems reluctant to play outside because of the throne he has heard this morning, Kelly reads a picture book with Charlie about storms. When they finished reading the book, Kelly modeled on Charlie all the different things she could do if she didn’t feel comfortable outside in the yard. Reading with Kelly and follow-up conversations helped Charlie feel better and encouraged him to join his friends in the yard.
Kelly taught Martha, the helper of the day, how to use the available snack symbols to help Andy, a child with communication difficulties, choose his snacks. As Martha walks around the table verbally asking each child to choose between two snacks, she uses two picture cards to help Andy choose.
During a small group art activity where children use brushes to paint the leaves they collect outdoors, Kelly offers hand-to-hand assistance for Louisa, a child with fine motor coordination difficulties, to paint the leaves with her fingers. The second part of the activity was to cut paper to form various shapes, and Louisa worked on one of her individual goals which was to sort the different shapes with her classmates.
Kelly used a soft musical tone to signal the end of the transition with the rest of the group. Sam, however, needs extra support for the transition between activities. Kelly and her classmates created an illustrated program to do with Sam, who found it helpful to see visual symbols of upcoming activities before each routine ended.
Play Based Learning: The Concept Of Kids Learning By Playing
Kelly saw Chris, a child with developmental delays, work hard to solve number puzzles during free play time. Kelly asked him how he was trying to figure out how to put the pieces together. When Chris explained his strategy, Kelly said, “I can see that you are working very hard and that your strategy seems to be very useful.” Kelly invites Chris to share her strategy with her colleagues during circle time.
Each child has a communication book where families and teachers can exchange daily messages, including personal notes. Kelly also uses email every day to communicate with her family. At the end of the day, class staff post messages about the day’s activities and children’s experiences on the blackboard outside of class to share with families. The Kelly program also provides support to staff to attend intervention planning meetings with service providers and families.
To exchange information about children’s progress with families, the program actively encourages families to participate regularly in progress meetings and share children’s progress reports that are parent-friendly and sensitive to the family’s cultural and linguistic diversity. The Kelly Program also uses a system to identify family priorities, concerns, and resources to help meet children’s needs.
Kelly notes Maya’s involvement during story time to monitor her engagement after a recent embedded activity they began implementing a few weeks ago to support her understanding of the facts of the story. In her notes, Kelly noted that it was helpful for Maya to use story props to represent a story before and during the repetition of a story. She also points out that Maya may need more encouragement from an adult to help her relate the events of a story.
Top 10 Evidence Based Teaching Strategies Infographic
Do I like today’s post? Learn more about measuring 12 key inclusion practices with the Inclusive Classroom Profile (ICP ™) by Elena P. Soukakou, Ph.D. It is a powerful tool for evaluating your program’s current inclusive practices, establishing a baseline with which to measure future progress, and guiding your program’s future improvement efforts. Here you can see webinars, download case studies and appointments and much more:
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Early Childhood Education Teaching Strategies
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Key Practices For High Quality Early Childhood Inclusion
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