As early childhood professionals, we all aim to offer a warm, welcoming and high-quality Jewish educational environment that is responsive to the needs of children and their families.
In 2009, the Division for Early Childhood (DEC) and the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) issued a Joint Position Statement that gave a definition for early childhood inclusion. "Early childhood inclusion embodies the values, policies, and practices that support the right of every infant and young child and his or her family, regardless of ability, to participate in a broad range of activities and contexts as full members of families, communities, and society”.
In order to provide the most inclusive environment possible, we have to arm ourselves with many tools in our toolboxes. There are many resources available to educators that can assist in creating an environment that is responsive to children’s needs. As a network, we strengthen ourselves when we share our knowledge with each other.
Here are several resources that support inclusion in early childhood education:
- The Matan Institute (https://matankids.org)
- “Matan educates Jewish leaders, educators and communities, empowering them to create learning environments supportive of children with special needs, through training Institutes and consultations across North America.”
- They offer a wide range of webinars on relevant topics such as: Emotional Resilience for Inclusive Educators, Kosher Inclusion; Feeding Everyone in Your Program, Using Jewish Culture to Understand Autism and Inclusion and many more.
- Devereux Foundation (http://www.devereux.org)
- “Devereux Advanced Behavioral Health changes lives – by unlocking and nurturing human potential for people living with emotional, behavioral or cognitive differences.”
- They offer wonderful videos, training and webinars that provide invaluable support for educators. There is a social and emotional screening and online rating tool with families and classroom supports.
- Conscious Discipline (https://consciousdiscipline.com/about/)
- Offers support for Teachers, Administrators, Mental Health Professionals and Parents. Conscious Discipline is an evidence-based, trauma-informed approach.
- The website offers a book portal with social stories, videos, articles and access to their store.
- https://www.facebook.com/ConsciousDiscipline/ Like their Facebook page and receive posts likethis: “This week’s Conscious Commitment: “I am willing to use the D.N.A. Process when I enter a conflict situation this week.” Are you willing to commit?
What resources do you use to support teachers and families on best practices in meeting children where they are? Let us continue this conversation. Next week, look for these conversation starters on the member (Director and Teacher) list-servs…
- What resources do you use to support children and families?
- What are your struggles in supporting children and families?
- What screening/assessment tools do you use?
- What is your referral process?