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An Inclusive Approach to Early Education


1 Young children seldom have problems accepting children who are develop- mentally different.

© Ellen B. Senisi

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    They become skilled at grasping, holding on to, releasing, and manipulating ever more complex objects.

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    They become increasingly able to take care of their personal needs: toileting, dressing, eating.

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    They acquire their native language and use it in a variety of ways to get what they need (and prefer) from others in their environment.

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    They develop the ability to think, generate ideas, solve problems, make judgments, and inuence others.

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    They respond with increasingly sophisticated words and gestures when oth- ers speak to them or attempt to inuence them.

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    They discover ways of getting along with and interacting with others—those who are like themselves and those who are different. A quality early childhood program can assist all children in acquiring the

developmental skills just mentioned. The experience is of special benet to children with developmental disabilities or children at risk for developmen- tal problems. Each day, they will encounter a variety of challenging materials, equipment, and activities, planned and unplanned.

There will be interactions with all kinds of other children who serve as mod- els to imitate and to play with, children who will help and who will need help. There will be teachers who understand the regularities and irregularities of de- velopment and will assist every child in taking advantage of sensitive learning periods and teachable moments.

Sensitive periods

The majority of young children will acquire basic developmental skills on their own. Some of this learning, seems to come about more readily at particular

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