I had to share these great snaps of my final day of training with Region 20 in San Antonio, Texas.
I was able to work with Jenice Dames (early childhood educator extraordinaire) to coach teachers in growing their inclusive preschool models.
Here is a snap of me with Jenice. Can you guess what we are thinking about here?
And here is a shot of some of the wonderful teachers involved in the project. Does this seem like a fun bunch of educators or what?
It was somewhat unusual for me to get to work on early childhood and preschool inclusion for an extended period of time as most of my work has been in K-12. It was so enjoyable and so inspiring. We saw programs that were blended Head Start classrooms, “push-in” daycare settings, and inclusive school district preschools. One thing that became clear is that where there is a will, there is a way, if you don’t have district preschool, work with Head Start. Don’t have Head Start? Work with a daycare. Don’t have a daycare? Open a faculty daycare! There are many ways to create schools for all- even in the early years.
One of the reasons I was so thrilled to work with these teachers is that they have such influence on the families of their students and set the tone for expectations for the child’s school career. We have all heard stories of families being told to lower or adjust their expectations for their child. These teachers were not only working with families to set high expectations, but they were working to educate families about inclusion. So from the earliest days, many of these families will experience inclusive schooling and see it as the norm. Families who experience high quality inclusive preschool are likely to advocate for the same type of learning experience in subsequent years. Inclusive preschool naturally leads to inclusive kindergarten.
Thank you to all the teachers of young children who not get their students into inclusive learning environments early on, but demonstrate to the child’s future educators that inclusion is not only appropriate for their students, but that it has already been effective in the preschool years.
I am sharing a few posts/resources on the topic for those who might be interested in learning more: