Everyone Is Welcome: Inclusive Early Childhood Education and Care
Supporting all children to fully participate in their communities requires high quality Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC) experiences. High quality inclusive ECEC programs have three key components: they are accessible to all children and their families; they are designed and carried out with consideration for the unique needs of each child; and they include ongoing evaluation of programs to ensure full participation (Underwood & Frankel, 2012). In high quality ECEC programs all children have opportunities to develop their language, social, physical and cognitive abilities. Inclusive early education is not just about placement in a program, but also active participation in social interactions and the development of children’s abilities and skills. Children at a range of developmental levels, including children identified with special needs in the ECEC service system, should be welcomed as valued members of the community by supporting active participation in all early childhood settings (Underwood, Valeo & Wood, 2012).