What is Inclusive Practice in Early Years & Childcare Settings?

The term Inclusive practice refers to the belief that everyone has the right to access the same tools, resources, and environment.

It’s the attitude that everyone should learn and work together, despite any additional needs that are present. It’s about creating equal opportunities across the board so that everyone gets the chance to thrive.

Inclusive practice welcomes the ethos that everyone is unique, diversity is celebrated and everyone is included. It’s not about everyone being treated the same all of the time because this isn’t always possible.  It’s more about treating everyone with fairness and recognising individual needs.

School and childcare settings work very hard to have an environment rich in inclusive practice ideals. The EYFS states that every child is unique and this is celebrated by not creating barriers in learning.

Inclusive practice brings together different backgrounds, cultures, religions, special educational needs, disabilities, and children with English as an additional language.


What is Inclusive Practice in Early Years & Childcare?

Inclusive practice in early years and childcare settings is a method of ensuring everyone feels like they belong there.

It recognises that everyone works at a different pace, learns in different ways, and has varying abilities. By maintaining an environment where everyone is welcome, there is no risk of children, parents, or staff feeling discriminated against.

 Children should be able to learn without fear of stereotyping and their opinions should be valued. Most settings will have an inclusive practice policy which will include how all children and parents have equal opportunities.


How to Implement Inclusive Practises in Your Setting

It’s important that every child, whatever their differences, feels included in their environment. For this reason, settings should try to implement some simple measures that will ensure inclusiveness is being achieved.

  • All activities should reflect the needs of all the children in the setting so that no child is excluded. This may mean some modifications are needed but inclusive practice means letting everyone be involved.
  • Staff should be knowledgeable about each child’s background, beliefs, and special requirements. They should liaise open and honestly with the parents and carers to ensure complete transparency.
  • Planning should include a wide range of diverse content that will challenge children to see beyond their own lifestyles.
  • Resources should reflect an inclusive mindset at all times which can include books that don’t stereotype, toys that celebrate multicultural backgrounds, and songs that are sung worldwide.
  • Tap into the knowledge of your families from different cultures and backgrounds. Invite them in to chat with the children or to show and tell with some multicultural objects and clothing.
  • Multicultural toys and resources should not be stored in a box that is brought out occasionally. They should blend in with the day-to-day structure such as books in the book corner, chopsticks in the home corner, rain sticks in the musical instruments box and black dolls available.
  • Address any behaviour which isn’t showing acceptance of all. Children need to be learning from a young age that the world is made up of different people. Each person is a puzzle piece, they all fit and belong together.
  • Encourage children to challenge books with stereotypes and look to real life examples such as female firefighters and male nurses.
  • Ensure all children can access the resources – this may mean small changes in the setting will be required, eg wheelchair access.
  • Any communication handed out should be understood by all families. Most families that have English as an additional language are keen for their child to learn English in the setting.
  • Write an inclusive practice policy and share this will the staff and the families so that everyone understands your setting ethos and what you are striving for.

Equality & Diversity Legislation

The Equality Act 2010 encompasses the overarching principles of equality and diversity.

With regards to childcare settings, the EYFS underpins the Equality Act by echoing that everyone is entitled to the same experiences. Parents should have access to the EYFS too, which means they can be assured their child will be fully included.


Training Courses

There are many training courses that will be very beneficial in ensuring your setting offers an inclusive practice. These types of training will benefit all levels of childcare staff.

Safeguarding – Autism Awareness

Autism is generally better understood than it was 5 years ago but there is still lots to learn.

Dealing with autistic behaviours can be daunting, challenging, and exhausting so it’s really important staff and parents feel supported.

Getting an insight into an autistic mind can be very beneficial. Autism awareness courses are designed to do just that and will help children feel included and welcomed in the setting.


Equality and Diversity Training

Equality and diversity training will ensure every staff member is singing from the same hymn sheet when it comes to an inclusive practice.

This course takes a look at the Equality Act 2010, why it was passed and how it’s relevant today. This course takes a look at discrimination and how you can ensure your setting doesn’t discriminate.


Equality and Diversity for Teachers

This equality and diversity course for teachers recognises the role staff have in ensuring all children are celebrated.

It talks through the importance of treating all children and staff fairly and free from ridicule. Promoting equality, diversity and inclusion in education settings is a legal requirement. By staff completing this course, you are ensuring everyone is compliant with the equality legislation.

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