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Virtual Kit: Early Childhood Inclusion in Child Care: Building a Foundation of Understanding

Meme: Inclusive is not simply about physical proximity. It is about intentionally planning for the success of all students.Kit QT

Inclusion is not simply about physical proximity. It is about intentionally planning for the success of all students. thinkinclusive.us

This popular meme underscores the complex issue of inclusion of children with special needs in child care programs and other early childhood learning environments.  Estimates indicate that approximately 15% of children in the United States, ages birth-17, have developmental delays (Rosenberg, Zhang & Robinson, 2008; Boyle et. al., 2011) or a disability. However, research also indicates that very young children with special needs are less frequently cared for in formal child care settings than their typically-developing peers (Booth & Kelly, 1998).  It is important, as we continue to evolve the definition of inclusion in our nation, that child care providers understand the principles of inclusion, and that they also know where to turn to access resources for support in their task to provide developmentally appropriate environments, activities and relationships for ALL children.

This virtual kit contains useful information about inclusion, including position statements & policies, what inclusion looks like in practice, how to prepare your child care program to welcome children with special needs, and additional resources.

What Are The Foundations For Inclusion?

DEC/NAEYC Joint Position Statement on Early Childhood Inclusion

US Department of Health and Human Services & US Department of Education Policy Statement on Inclusion of Children with Disabilities in Early Childhood Programs

Know the Law about ADA

Show Me Now – I Need It Tomorrow

Brief Summary: Fact Sheet of Research on Preschool Inclusion

Special Quest video:  Just Do It!

Special Quest video:  Preschool Inclusion: Samantha 

More Special Quest Videos (Download and watch on your computer)

Including Samuel: A Documentary by Dan Habib (Available from the KITS Early Childhood Resource Center)

How Do I Do It?

Extension services provide many resources for learning how to welcome children with special needs into your child care center or family child care home.  Visit these pages for more information and to explore more topics related to caring for children with special needs:

Child Care for Children with Special Needs

What Is Inclusive Child Care?

Adapting the Child Care Environment for Children with Special Needs

Talking With and About Children with Special Needs

The Dance of Partnership

What Does This Look Like In Practice? (I Have A Little More Time To Read About This)

Think Inclusive Resources

CSEFEL What Works Brief

Strengthening Partnerships to Support Babies with Special Needs (Video)

Inclusive Practices in Early Childhood Annotated List of Resources

Recorded 2016 National Inclusion Webinar Series

Early Intervention and School Readiness for Infants and Toddlers with Special Needs (Video)

Facebook Pages

Think Inclusive

Including Samuel—A Documentary by Dan Habib

What Courses Does KCCTO Offer?

Advancing the Vision of Inclusion (3 KDHE credit hours)

This course will provide individuals with the research and policy statements associated with inclusion of infants, toddlers, and preschoolers. Specifically, participants will be able to identify legal foundations for inclusion in early childhood programs and specific guidance related to the rights of children, families, and professionals in your program. Lastly, participants will have a basic understanding of the components and benefits of a high quality inclusion program.

Play: Problems and Interventions (10 KDHE credit hours)

This course teaches how to recognize children who have play problems; how play problems limit the development of skills that lay the foundation for academic learning; six behavior patterns that signal children need help; a process for helping children observe, reflect, and intervene; and how teachers can use direct support, curriculum activities, and peers to help a child develop play skills.

(KCCTO classes are offered online.  To inquire about a specific class, contact the KCCTO office 785-532-7197 or visit KCCTO.org)

What Resources Does The ECRC Have?

Visual Materials

Bekken, L., Ducey, D., & Knapp-Philo, J. (2007). Including infants and toddlers with disabilities: Special Quest Multimedia Training Library. Rohnert Park, CA: Sanoma State University.

High/Scope. (2005). High/Scope for children with special needs: A developmental approach. High/Scope Press. Ypsilanti, MI.

Written Materials

Barton, E., & Smith, B. (2015). The preschool inclusion toolbox: How to build and lead a high-quality program. Baltimore, MD: Brookes Publishing.

Fialka, J. (2012). Parents and professionals partnering for children with disabilities: A dance that matters. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press.

Kemple, K.M. (2004). Let’s be friends: Peer competence and social inclusion in early childhood programs. New York, NY: Teachers College Press.

Moore, L. (2003). Inclusion: Strategies for working with young children. A resource guide for teachers, childcare providers, and parents. Peytral Publications, Inc.

Richardson-Gibbs, A.M., & Klein, M.D. (2014). Making preschool inclusion work: Strategies for supporting children, teachers, and programs. Baltimore, MD: Brookes Publishing.

To request these resources, or to explore other topics available from the Early Childhood Resource Center, visit www.kskits.org under the Early Childhood Resource Center tab.

How Can I Get Training On This Topic ?

Visit these links to collaborative training calendars:

KITS Collaborative Training Calendar

KCCTO Training Calendar

Or these additional State and National Resources

What If I Still Need Help?

You may request technical assistance from the KCCTO-KITS Infant Toddler Network Specialists by calling the KCCTO office at 800-227-3578.

If You Thought This Kit Was Helpful, You Might Also Like…

Becoming an Evidence-Based Practitioner in Early Intervention/Early Childhood Special Education

Developmentally Appropriate Practice Virtual Kit

Developmentally Appropriate Practice TA Packet

Creating Environments to Support Positive Behavior TA Packet


Please take a minute to complete a brief survey to let us know what you think about this virtual kit, and what other topics you would like to see addressed in the future.  https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/CV5QJSV


Booth, C.A., & Kelly, J.F. (1998). Child-care characteristics of infants with and without special needs: Comparisons and concerns. Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 13(4), 603-621.

Boyle, C. A., Boulet, S., Schieve, L. A., Cohen, R. A., Blumberg, S. J., Yeargin-Allsopp, M., Visser, S., & Kogan, M. D. (2011). Trends in the prevalence of developmental disabilities in US children, 1997-2008. Pediatrics, 127(6), 1034-1042.

Rosenburg, S.A., Zhang, D., & Robinson, C.C. (2008). Prevalence of developmental delays and participation in early intervention services for young children. Pediatrics, 121(6), 1503-1509.


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