“Inclusion and participation are essential to human dignity and to the enjoyment and exercise of human rights. Within the field of education this is reflected in the development of strategies that seek to bring about a genuine equalisation of opportunity.”
The Salamanca World Statement (UNESCO 1994:11) – signed by 92 governments (see p. 64 of Special Ed. Needs, Inclusion and Diversity by Frederickson, N & Cline, Tony (2002)
‘Diversity’ refers to diverse nature of society for example in terms of social class, gender, family status, minority groups and the majority group. The Early Years Foundation Stage framework emphasises the importance of identifying each child’s sense of identity and promoting a positive sense of pride in each child’s family origins.
‘Equality’ refers to the importance of recognising different individual needs and of ensuring equity in terms of access, participation and benefits for all children and their families. Lack of access causes:
•Stereotyping and discrimination
•Lack of inclusion
•Lack of respect
•Lack of confidence
Equality is therefore not about treating people the ‘same’.
All children should be seen as individuals in terms of their learning and development needs. An inclusive approach to education and care means that difference is recognised and celebrated, and that professionals identify and meet any associated needs through their provision. The task for anyone working with young children and their families is to engage with the physical and emotional needs of young children, bearing in mind the child’s racial, religious, cultural background and beliefs.
An inclusive approach is built on respect. It is important that practitioners develop respectful relationships with children and their families because of...