“What is Inclusive Child Care?” this article published by the eXtension Alliance for Better Childcare, in the US, aptly answers its title question and presents the benefits of supporting inclusivity in childcare facilities and other early childhood education settings.
Inclusive childcare enhances the lives of children with special needs and of all children in a group. Time spent in childcare provides children with opportunities to make friends, practice social skills, try new activities, teach and learn from others, and build relationships with caring adults other than their parents. In inclusive environments, children can learn to appreciate and accept people’s differences, preparing them to be part of an inclusive society as adults. Early experiences with diverse peers can shape future attitudes. Children learn from the behaviour of adults around them at all times, not only during direct teaching, so how they see childcare providers treat children with different abilities will affect how they treat others in the future.
Childcare providers, like teachers, are better able to create inclusive environments when they have training, support from administrators, and opportunities to collaborate with other professionals and specialists. Childcare providers can make the places they work into spaces where everyone is invited to participate in all activities and all are treated with kindness and respect. They can help children have honest conversations about disabilities as well as facilitate interactions and play between children who may have difficulty communicating with each other.