When parents hear the word “inclusion,” they most frequently think of classroom settings where both special education students and their peers are included. However, inclusion is a concept that should be seen in more than just the typical school classroom. It should be a part of every area of education, including those special times and days that are exciting parts of every child’s school year. Here are a few things that parents should look for if they are searching for a school that truly values inclusion.
Field trips are a fun part of education for every child, especially for elementary school children who love to learn about the world around them in a hands-on way. Field trips should be designed as much as possible so that students can travel together and take part in the same experiences. Parents can often help as field trip volunteers.
Special education students who show an interest in sports should not feel as if they have been excluded. Even if they do not make it onto the school’s teams, they should be able to participate in special school-wide sports days.
Assemblies can be boisterous and noisy, making them difficult for some. However, by keeping the activity organized, children who deal with over-stimulation may be able to continue taking part. Schools should provide special seating and other accommodations to allow students to participate in this important, community-building activity.
Lunch and recess give all students chances to connect with their peers in special ways. Teachers may need to consider changing the amount of time, seating choices, activities and interaction offered during these times to make them as good as possible for all who are involved.
Science fairs and other special activities should be as readily available to special needs children as they are to those who are at the top of their classes. These days can help special needs students develop burgeoning skills, discover new talents and interests and join a healthy competition.