The impact of an environment on early childhood education is immense. When it comes to preschool education, an inclusive classroom fosters a connection to the student, excitement about learning, and an awareness of social and emotional needs. Here are a few more reasons why inclusion in the classroom is important and how you can support this environment at your own child care center.
Benefits of an Inclusive Classroom
There are a variety of benefits to promoting inclusion in the classroom at your child care center. Not only will it benefit your students, but it benefits their parents and your teachers too! That’s why we put together a list of the top three benefits of an inclusive classroom and tips for creating that environment in your own child care center.
Benefits to Children
An inclusive classroom has been shown to help children gain a sense of belonging. When children feel a sense of belonging, it in turn increases their self-esteem, independence and can foster leadership skills. Ensuring that each preschooler is having their needs met will help them thrive as they get older, and prepare them to move to kindergarten and beyond.
Benefits to Parents & Families
As parents drop their children off for preschool, they are leaving them in your care with hope that you will help them thrive with your expertise. Children learn valuable lessons at school and take those lessons home with them. Having open communication with parents and alerting them to their child’s unique needs each day in class will show them your commitment to their child.
Benefits to Teachers
You know that each student has specific needs and as you interact with them on a daily basis, you learn more and more about their personalities. By using what you have learned to pivot your teaching methods, your students are benefitting and you are becoming a better teacher! Share what you’ve learned with your fellow teachers and they will do the same in return.
Tips for Creating an Inclusive Classroom
Observe and Assess
Since you are in the classroom each day, you can tell when a student isn’t progressing as quickly as they should. By utilizing resources provided by your child care center and your own instincts, you can draw conclusions about the best next step for addressing concerns about the environment in the classroom and how changes will help your students.
Most of the time, making modifications to the actual classroom can be beneficial. Whether you bring in sensory objects, create a cozy corner, or modify how information is presented (verbal, visual, or tactile) make sure to communicate with the administrators and the student’s parents.
Using a child care center management software makes communication with parents easy! See how Jackrabbit Care can help you increase your parent experience.
Make Changes for the Student
Different children learn in different ways. Some prefer verbal communication, some prefer visual queues, and some are hands-on learners. By understanding which type of learning your students prefer allows you to change the curriculum around their learning style. Create small groups that cater to different types of learning styles, levels of learning, and different activities.
Sometimes, students require additional support such as speech or physical therapy. It is important that teachers, parents, and therapists are all on the same page when it comes to the student’s needs and providing opportunities for inclusion in the classroom. Preschool is an easy age to accommodate special needs and ensure the student feels involved.
Create a Routine
Certain times of the day can be a bit chaotic at a childcare center. During morning and afternoon drop-off and pick-up, you have to be on your best game as you juggle student check-in and check-out. A perfect way to support each student’s needs is by creating a beginning and end-of-day routine.
Starting your day with unpacking and a small activity helps students feel at ease. Ending your day with packing up and another activity such as reading a book makes waiting for parent pick up a stress-free activity.
Promoting an inclusive classroom may seem difficult, but you are already in tune with your students’ needs. All that needs to be done is a few small changes.
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