I have chosen to discuss the inclusive educational provision of the nursery setting. Inclusive education is a vast subject and the term ‘inclusive education’ is used to cover all children in the education setting. The Foundation Stage Curriculum Guidance states that; “no child should be excluded or disadvantaged because of ethnicity, culture or religion, home language, family background, special educational needs, disability, gender or ability”. (QCA/DfEE, 2000, pg. 11).
My nursery’s equal opportunities policy states that, “nursery staff are encouraged to challenge stereo-typical and racist attitudes. That they will actively promote positive cultural images in both general attitudes and creative activities, ensuring that all the children, regardless of their cultural or religious influences, are seen as valuable members of society”. (Nursery School Policy, 2004). We do not have a separate policy for children with learning difficulties or disabilities. It is included in the main policy that children of all abilities are welcome and will be treated as equal.
In our setting all teachers are encouraged to demonstrate on a day to day basis that they positively value and respect children of all religions, cultures, language, disability, ethnic origins and different abilities. All children are positively encouraged to participate in all activities whether male or female. Practioners carefully select the toys and equipment, with all the children in mind, so enabling all children to participate. Books are chosen to meet all abilities and ages and to reflect many different lifestyles that children may come across. The displays aim to show and reflect positive images and encompass different cultures.
Displays are regularly changed with inclusitivity in mind. The Foundation Stage Curriculum guidance suggests that inclusive practice should include, “opportunities to extend children’s knowledge and self-esteem, a flexible approach to supporting children’s difficulties and materials that positively reflect diversity and are free from discrimination or stereo-typing. (QCA, DfEE, 2000, pg. 17,18). A key implication that is taken into account when planning activities in any of the six areas of the curriculum, is the importance of supporting inclusive practice.
Study Topic 2, draws attention to the DfEE’S statement that “inclusion is about providing equal opportunities for all children and promoting the practice that will make it reality” (DfEE,1999) The Open University, Study Topic 2, 2004, pg. 6). I understand the importance of practioners to audit provisions and resources on a regular basis. This was highlighted in a recent audit. The main practitioner had discovered that even though care was taken to ensure that the provisions for Inclusive education were available at all times to staff for children, often these resources were not being used and were left in their designated cupboard.
During the start of the audit, I was made aware that the home corner only depicted Indian culture and had not included other cultures or races from around the world and, therefore, was not inclusive. To make the home corner more inclusive there is a need to encompass all cultures that are indigenous to the nursery and not just depict one culture. Also we possessed only 3 pairs of left handed scissors but we have eight children who are left handed. Therefore five children are already disadvantaged when any ‘cutting’ activity takes place as there are insufficient resources to include all of the children.
It is easy to address this issue by purchasing five pairs of left handed scissors. For future practice, perhaps on a fortnightly basis the number of right/left handed scissors should be checked in relation to the children on role. Also the sensory area didn’t have sufficient equipment for the children with special needs. After carrying out the audit, the sensory area was one of the areas that was highlighted as an immediate cause for concern, as the resources that were available were extremely limited and not reflecting inclusive practice.
During the later stage of the audit we discovered other resources, such as dressing up clothes and food utensils of different cultures e. g. :- chopsticks. There were other items that were still in wrappers that had never been used and other items in boxes. There was a variety of items that could have been used to change the home corner to involve more cultures with a variety of clothes and toys. We also found beads, pasta shapes and a variety of bean bags filled with a variety of different fillings, stuffing, beans and one made with a crinkle material. We also found two bowls of pot-puurri .
These items could be used in the sensory area. The beads and pasta could be used to make sensory trays; the bean bags for sensory chairs and the pot-puurri for a new sensory experience for all the children. If these items had been utilised the sensory area would not have been such an area for concern. However work still needs to be done to ensure that it meets the needs for all children Study Topic 13 discusses “that creating areas which are suitable for children with special needs or impairments will benefit all children in the setting”, (The Open University, Study topic 13, 2004, pg.
14). The practitioner was surprised at how many provisions had been tucked away, and, without the use of regular audits, would almost certainly have been forgotten about. A successful inclusive setting relies on the practitioners ability to develop and implement inclusive practices within that setting. In TMA03 I discussed a vegetable cutting activity in which I supported the children through the use of scaffolding. In the reader, it defines scaffolding as, “support that is contingent upon the learners need for assistance”.
(Devereux and Miller, pg10). Through careful observation throughout the activity, I was able to give the correct amount of support to each child and then decrease the amount to allow more independent learning. I consider this activity to be supporting inclusive practice as I provided support to a child with a difficulty with fine motor coordination. When assisting this child to cut a potato, I placed my hand over her hand and guided the child then gradually reduced the amount of guidance until she was cutting the potato independently.