As humans (big and small), Fundamental to our feeling of belonging, is knowing that we are ‘included’. Regardless of our age, religion, culture, race and gender, we all need to feel like we are a part of things. For children in Early Learning settings, that sense of inclusion can take many shapes but is summed up very well by Early Childhood Australia’s “Statement on the inclusion of children in early childhood education and care.”
Inclusion ensures that all children participate meaningfully while learning and interacting in programs that acknowledge each child’s strengths and interests, so that they are supported to be active members of their community. Inclusion is important for many reasons. It implements current thinking about child development; supports children’s rights; implements the legal standards for early childhood education and care; and is good professional practice. Inclusion fosters diversity and overcomes any barriers that might exist to ensure that every child experiences quality early childhood education and care.”
At Ruth Landau Harp we think of inclusion as an umbrella for ensuring best practice in a number of different quality areas including;
- Area 1 Educational program and practice. “Every child is consistently and actively supported to fully participate in the program”.
- Area 2 Children’s health and safety. “Each child’s health needs are consistently supported, promoted and encouraged.
- Area 3 Physical environments. “Facilities are designed or adapted to ensure active participation by every child in the service.”
- Area 5 Relationships with children. “responsive and meaningful interactions build trusting relationships which engage and support each child to feel secure, confident and included.”
- Area 6. Collaborative partnerships with families and communities. “Access and participation- Effective partnerships support children’s access, inclusion and participation in the program”.
We believe that true inclusion is not just about Equality but shifting the focus to Equity and providing all children with what they need to succeed as an individual, regardless of ability.
“We provide a space that is supportive, welcoming and inclusive, recognising each child as unique and individual. We recognise the value of equity and strive to provide every child with the tools and experiences that they need to succeed and to thrive.”(Ruth Landau Harp Centre Philosophy).
Research finds conclusively that;
Access to quality learning ( for all children) in the first 5 years closes equity gaps “The quality of experiences in these years lays the foundations for lifetime achievement and well-being.” Sourced from TheConversation.com
By partnering with families and outside agencies we are able to support every child to fully participate in our curriculum, ensuring that a sense of inclusion is felt by every child, family and staff member here at RLH.