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Inclusive Early Childhood Education and Care


Early childhood education and care (ECEC) involves more than preparing children for primary education ECEC should holistically develop the social, cognitive, emotional and physical needs of children to build a broad and strong foundation for lifelong wellbeing and learning. Early childhood is the period from birth to around eight years, which is a period where the children’s brains experience remarkable development and the environment or people can easily influence children at this stage (UNESCO, 2021). Therefore, educators and education officials should ensure inclusion to ensure that every child gets a solid educational foundation and a sense of belonging. Studies indicate that the number of children not enrolled to pre-school has decreased over the years. However, the exclusion is still a primary concern globally. Many experience exclusion due to socioeconomic status, language, ethnicity, refugee or displaced status, gender and geographical location (UNESCO, 2021). The Covid-19 pandemic has increased exclusion in the educational sector. This paper will discuss inclusive early childhood education care as discussed in the Think, Feel, Act document, how the knowledge is essential to an educator and how an educator can share the knowledge for professional learning.

Inclusive Early Childhood Education and Care

According to Underwood (2013), high-quality ECEC experiences are necessary to ensure all children have support to participate in their communities entirely. High-quality ECEC programs ensure that all children have opportunities to grow their social, cognitive, language and physical abilities. Inclusive early education entails more than placement into a program. It also includes developing children’s skills and abilities and active engagement in social interactions. High-quality inclusive programs should have three crucial elements. The elements include access, design and implementation and monitoring and assessment (Underwood, 2013). Governments and educational bodies have to develop policies that ensure inclusion in schools. Policies that ensure that every child, regardless of their socioeconomic status, abilities or gender, can attend any school can promote inclusion. Leadership and staff should also support inclusion. Inclusion goes beyond accepting all children in the classroom (Underwood, 2013). Educators must support inclusion to ensure that device ways to educate the diverse education, without others feeling left out. For example, if a teacher has a student who English is their second language. In that case, if the teacher supports inclusion, they might learn a few words from the child’s first language to make them feel like they belong. The teacher will also develop ways to use simple words that the child can understand. However, if the teacher does not support inclusion, they will teach all children the same way, and the child who English is the second language may feel left out and lag educationally.

Policies are essential to ensure inclusion in ECEC programs but are useless if the educational centers do not implement them. The centers require resources to ensure inclusion. Some of the vital physical resources for inclusive practice include specialized equipment and adaptive materials. The program should meet the needs of all children and families (Underwood, 2013). For example, a school has specialized equipment to help autistic children learn and does not have a path set aside for children in wheelchairs. In that case, one cannot refer to that ECEC program as inclusive. An inclusive should involve individualized planning that meets every child’s needs. Educators should share the individualized plans with specialists, parents, and the child to ensure that it meets the child’s needs. Therefore, educational centers can ask for the help of early intervention programs and other professionals to ensure inclusion while developing the plans. For example, educators can get training from cerebral palsy organizations on strategies to teach children with cerebral palsy. Educators can also work together with cultural representatives to tailor the syllabus to include the diverse cultures in the class and ensure that everybody feels like they belong. Therefore the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Children and Youth Services should allocate enough funds to help educational centers implement inclusion. Even if the schools are willing to provide inclusion but have no funds for the resources required, inclusive education cannot occur (Underwood, 2013). The problem that most educational sectors globally experience is the unequal distribution of foods, which lead to educational gaps. For example, in the United States, most African American schools receive fewer funds than schools with whites as the majority. Therefore, the schools with African American students as the majority cannot provide inclusive facilities for the schools.

The third crucial component of an inclusive ECEC program is monitoring and assessment. Implementing an inclusive ECEC program is not enough monitoring and assessment is necessary to evaluate the program’s success (Underwood, 2013). The assessment also helps in making changes as strategies evolve. Suppose when the program started, teaching children with autism was different from what specialists recommend today due to new research findings. In that case, the program will change the strategies to match the recent results. Early childhood programs help families get referrals for diagnostic assessment. Assessment and monitoring of ECEC programs allow more children to participate over time. Inclusive ECEC programs also help transition students from pre-school to primary schools (Underwood, 2013). Studies have indicated that inclusive education benefits students with additional needs and those with no additional requirements. Inclusion has increased in schools over the years. However, education officials and agencies need to do more to facilitate inclusion. A considerable percentage of exclusion still exists in early childhood education, and exclusion can severely affect children at this stage.

Importance of Inclusive Education’s Knowledge to Educators

Inclusive education ensures that every child acquires quality education regardless of their condition. Early childhood is when the children’s brain is developing, and any situation can influence their attitude and behavior, which makes inclusive education at this stage more crucial. For example, a university student may be in a better position to hand exclusion due to their ethnicity compared to a pre-school student. According to Underwood (2013), educators should support inclusion for an inclusive ECEC program to be effective. Therefore educators should have knowledge of what inclusive education entails. As a future RECE, this knowledge on inclusive education and care will be essential for my career. I will develop teaching strategies for every student depending on their needs instead of using a unified approach. I will also work closely with my students’ parents to understand their needs to ensure that the education I provide will help all students. For example, suppose I have a student from a different culture. In that case, I will talk to the parents to learn more about the culture because children in pre-school may not be aware of what their culture entails, and wrong teachings can easily erode the little knowledge they have of their culture. The knowledge has given me an idea of the organization that can help me deal with certain students. For example, if I have a child with autism in my class, I may not know the teaching strategies and materials that I need to ensure effective learning. Receiving training and getting help may assist me in improving my techniques.

The knowledge about inclusive education has brought to light the ills of exclusion and the prevalence of exclusion globally and in the country. Without understanding, one may exclude a student without realizing or meaning to, but with knowledge of inclusive learning one knows what inclusion entails, and they may note when they are excluding students and develop solutions. The reason I chose this topic is that inclusion is crucial. At one point in their life, every person has felt excluded either by peers, family, or friends. Exclusion reduces self-esteem because one feels that one does not belong. Students in early childhood programs are young, and it would be unfortunate if they lose their self-esteem at a tender age. These children can also not handle rejection or exclusion because of their tender age. Their reaction to exclusion may be to hate school or have a bad attitude towards education, negatively affecting their educational achievement. Therefore inclusive education is crucial to avoid these ills.

Plan of Action for Professional Training

As stated earlier, inclusive education is essential because it gives every child an equal and quality education. However, collaborative engagement between educators is necessary for the success of ECEC programs. For example, if one teacher embraces inclusion and the other does not, the program fails. Studies indicate that the ills that one experiences tend to stick for longer than the good. Therefore, it is my duty to share the information I have learnt on inclusive education with my current classmates and future colleagues. The first step I will take will be to discuss with my classmates what the learning conditions in early childhood should contain. I will listen to their opinions carefully without interrupting them. Those discussions will help me draw conclusions about their general thinking about early childhood education. I will later ask them what they view inclusive education as, its benefits and challenges. Engagement is one foundation of how people learn (n.d, 2014). I choose engagement because it will be more effective than providing a lecture on what I have learned about inclusive education in my research.

First, if I do a presentation in front of the class, some of my classmates might feel that I am trying to outsmart them and not pay attention. However, engagement allows everybody to present their opinions, exchange ideas and brainstorm. I might find that I have gained some knowledge from the college that I did not when conducting the research. Engagement will also help us dig deeper to understand the topic much better. For example, if my classmates and I differ on a particular matter when holding the discussion, we might decide to do more research and gain more knowledge. However, I must express myself well to ensure the success of the information passage. I will not dismiss my classmates’ opinions because I am the one with the knowledge or treat them as if they do not know anything about the topic. I will make everyone feel that they belong to the discussion regardless of their different point of view. Just like in pre-schools, our class have diverse people. Therefore, I will explain inclusion depending on the person’s diversity. For example, an African American can understand exclusion due to ethnicity or socioeconomic than a white person. Therefore, I can explain inclusion using a child with learning disabilities to a white person because they will be in a better position to understand. I will also do the same for my future colleagues in case they are fully conversant with the idea of inclusive education in early childhood and care. Sharing this information is important because if all my classmates understand the concept, they will be able to practice it in the schools where they will work. They will also pass it to other early childhood educators, which will increase the rate of inclusion in schools. The increase in inclusion will reduce the educational gaps that exist.


Early childhood is when the child’s brain develops, and any condition can influence their behavior or attitude. Early childhood starts from birth to around eight years. Inclusive education in early childhood is crucial because it shapes the attitude of a child toward life and education. Access, design and implementation, monitoring and assessment are the three major components of a high-quality ECEC program. Polices must be in place to ensure inclusive education, but pre-schools have to implement them to be successful. Educators should support inclusion for a high-quality program because they are the ones who spend the most time with the children.


N.d (2014). How does Learning Happen? Ontario’s Pedagogy for the Early Years.

Underwood, K. (2013). Everyone is Welcome: Inclusive Early Childhood Education and Care. Think, Feel, Act.

United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. (2021). Inclusive Early Childhood Care and Education. United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization.


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