One of the biggest decisions every parent must do is to select which preschool their child would be attending. Preschool-aged children usually have separation anxiety from the parents as it is a big step for a child to be outside of his or her comfort zone. This is why it is very critical to choose an environment for our children especially if it’s their first time to be away from home. Regardless of the list of preschools, we believe that placing them in an inclusive environment would be most beneficial to them. Keep reading to find out why.
What is an inclusive preschool environment?
This is where children with or without disabilities share the same space. This is where everyone is accepted and supported to feel capable and safe. This is where teachers collaborate in meeting the individual needs of the children. Most importantly, this is where children would recognize their similarities and accept the differences among themselves.
Inclusion benefits all. Below are the 3 good reasons why inclusive environment is the best for your child:
- Teachers cater to different learning styles.
Every child has unique learning style. Some may understand better when pictures are shown (visual learners), some may learn faster through a song (auditory), some are more recognize the letters of the alphabet more when they trace and feel it (tactile) or some may memorize a poem through hand gestures and movements (kinaesthetic). Learning can be facilitated better when all of these are considered. In an inclusive environment, specialized instruction is used that can cater to the needs of all children. Activities and lessons are designed depending on their pace and style of learning. Assessment of learning can also be modified as it is not just measured through pen and paper. In addition to that, in an inclusive classroom, teachers often break the class into small groups and teach them based on their specific learning needs.
- Positive attitudes are developed.
In an inclusive environment, children usually develop a positive image of themselves and a healthy attitude about each other’s differences. This is where children can act like a role model to any child, with or without disabilities. For an instance, when a typically-developing child is paired up with a child with special needs, they would learn how to respect each other and would learn how to compromise with each other. Both are given a chance to observe, and accept, that people are different. And yet, these differences also make each of us unique and special. These positive attitudes would provide positive long term effect, until they grow old in the future.
- Develops friendship and learn how to interact with others.
We have seen numerous friendships formed in our centre. It melts our hearts every time the barriers among the children are eliminated. We would see our typically developing kids helping and playing with our kids with special needs. It is just a wonderful scenario how these young children can build friendship despite their differences. During our day-to-day routine activities, children learn how to interact with each other. Our children know who needs help in closing the bag, they know who needs extra help climbing the stairs and even know who cannot eat peanuts. All the small details matters to them.
There was this one time a student said, “Teacher, don’t use the hand dryer! Child X does not like the loud sound He might cry.” This just implies that the children acknowledge and care for each other. This is where children start to accept that some people need to use wheelchairs, some use hearing aids, some may use their arms and legs in different ways and some may look unique. Being different is okay. Important this is that child is loved and treated equally.