“Inclusion is a process. That is to say, inclusion has to be seen as a never-ending search to find better ways of responding to diversity. It is about learning how to live with difference, and, learning how to learn from difference. In this way differences come to be seen more positively as a stimulus for fostering learning, amongst children and adults”. (Ainscow & Miles, 2009)p.2
Our kindergarten is a place of learning for all children. Since children bring with them their own kete of learning, knowledge, skills, cultural and social influences, their own characteristics, we as teachers are mindful of children being individual learners with a right to belong. Inclusion for us is not simply about “enrolment” and “presence”, it is about children’s participation and the unique contribution they make to our learning community. Participation for us is about the quality of their learning.
Our philosophy at Glamorgan Kindergarten states:
“We believe that children are citizens who are part of our community and as such have a right to a welcoming, safe, stimulating, affirming and challenging environment that allows them to develop at their own pace”
Our Early Childhood Curriculum, Te Whāriki, guides our practice.
“Te Whāriki is designed to be inclusive and appropriate for all children and anticipates that special needs will be met as children learn together in all kinds of early childhood education settings. The programmes of each centre will incorporate strategies to fully include children with special needs.” (Ministry of Education, 1996)p. 11
Our curriculum is based on four overarching principles: Relationships, Empowerment, Holistic Development, and Family and Community.
Inclusive practice begins with a belief that all children are capable and confident learners. Children with special needs may need additional processes in place to facilitate their participation.
At Glamorgan Kindergarten we work collaboratively with parents and other professionals to ensure that children with special needs are supported to participate, learn, develop, practice and form positive relationships.
How do we do this?
Building strong relationships with you, your family, whānau and child is central to our practice. We have an open door policy and invite you to talk, discuss, express concerns, celebrate successes, share your strategies, and enable us to gain an insight into your world. We spend time with your child and get to know his or her strengths and interests. We devote time during our weekly meetings to discuss your child’s learning journey. We document learning and participation through learning stories which will be placed in your child’s portfolio. You are invited to contribute to the portfolio as well.
Your child will be supported to participate in all aspects of the programme. We include consistent routines where children’s independence and self-care is encouraged. We also have plenty of time for play opportunities, where teachers work alongside children to scaffold and extend their learning. We model inclusive and affirming language which encourages other children to exhibit positive attitudes towards children who may need extra support in social situations. Our environment is set up so that children can freely explore and make choices. Should adaptations in the environment be necessary to accommodate your child’s ability to explore, we will do our best to provide that. In other words, we will be mindful of how we can remove barriers to learning and participation.
Individual Programmes (IP’s) are developed for your child in in partnership with you, teachers and key intervention professionals. These plans are reviewed and revised collaboratively.
Transitions into the kindergarten and later on to school are planned. They involve you and your family, your child, professionals working with your family and teachers.
Ministry of Education, N. Z. g. (1996). Te Whāriki. He Whāriki mātauranga mo ngā mōkopuna o Aotearoa. Early Childhood Curriculum. Wellington. New Zealand: Learning Media Limited.