The Canadian Research Centre on Inclusive Education, based at Western University, encourages collaborative investigation of inclusive practices and relevant theories. Its web page on understanding inclusive education answers many questions that people may have about classroom inclusion and explores the complexities of inclusion's history, challenges, and potential.
Inclusive education had its beginnings in Canada in the 1970s, prior to which children with special needs were not educated in their neighbourhood schools but were taken by bus to special education classrooms. These students began to be “mainstreamed” into typical classrooms at certain times, but as they were often treated like visitors rather than full members of the group, this was not true inclusion. Inclusive classrooms reflect the increasing inclusiveness of society and make inclusion a part of everyday life for younger generations.
Research supports that the quality of education in inclusive classrooms is equal or better to that provided in classrooms without students with special needs. However, teachers do need to have training in teaching diverse learners incorporated into their initial and continuing education. An inclusive school is a supportive environment in which positive relationships are fostered and children have opportunities to participate and develop self-esteem and a sense of competence.