Parents naturally want what is best for their child, particularly when it comes to education. If a parent is not very familiar with inclusive education or had a child in an inclusive school, they have many questions and concerns. While too numerous to list, here is the top 3 frequently asked questions about inclusive education:
Why isn’t there an inclusion program in my child’s school?
Inclusive education is not considered a program that can be offered by schools. Inclusive education is a philosophy that the entire school district must believe in and support. The belief that all children should have equal access to education must permeate through entire schools, not just one classroom. True inclusion should happen on the playground, at lunchtime, during school assemblies and on field trips. Students should also be able to transition from one inclusive school to another. To have one inclusive classroom in a school would defeat the purpose of true inclusion. It seems more like segregation, doesn’t it?
2. My daughter with special needs is currently in a self-contained class. Soon she will begin to go to the Grade 3 class for Music and PE. Is that inclusion?
A truly inclusive environment is one in which a child with different abilities is a fully active member of a general education classroom – not just for PE, Art or Music – but for all subjects. An inclusive school provides equal access to school routines and programs. Lunch and recess are together, students participate in assemblies, and extracurricular activities are timed to include as many children and families as possible. Inclusion is a way of interacting with one another, not a place to go to for an hour every day.
3. How can one teacher handle the different abilities in an inclusive class?
Teachers will always have differing ability levels in one class, whether it is inclusive or not. For example, not every child in a Grade One class is reading at the same level. All teachers are trained to provide work that is appropriate for a child’s level through an approach called differentiated learning. However, in an inclusive school, the classroom teacher and students benefit from extra help. Support services from school specialists and outside agencies are available to help the classroom teacher provide lessons for children with extra or special needs. In addition, paraprofessionals and co-teachers are placed in inclusive classrooms to provide more one-to-one assistance. In fact, all students in an inclusive class receive more attention because of the additional support.
For more information about inclusive education, please check out Nicole’s website, http://www.theinclusiveclass.com.