An Inclusive Approach to Early Education
do not walk until late childhood may have continuing problems. They may n e v e r g e t g o o d a t a c t i v i t i e s t h a t i n v o l v e s u s t a i n e d r u n n i n g , j u m p i n g , a n d
climbing. Even more serious, they may have missed other critical aspects of early learning during the sensorimotor stage when cognitive development and motor activity are so interdependent.
For teachers in an inclusive setting, another concept of developmental signi- cance is that of teachable moments. These are points in time when a child is highly motivated and better able to acquire a particular skill such as walking, riding a tricycle, or learning to count. All children, including those with severe disabilities, have many such teachable moments every day. They occur during daily routines and activities. It is important that teachers recognize these oppor- tunities and make sure they lead to developmentally appropriate learning expe- riences. Teachers also can help parents understand the signicance of teachable moments and guide them in recognizing these moments and nding ways of responding. The inclusive classroom is an especially suitable place for parents to observe teachers and try out various ways of working with their child.
points in time, perhaps associated with critical pe- riods, when a child is highly motivated and better able to acquire a particular skill.
The infant who is blind and getting ready to learn to walk is an illustration of a teachable moment. First, though, think about developmental sequences and the sighted infant. Walking usually is preceded by a period of just stand- ing, then holding on to furniture, and nally cruising about. Most infants do this spontaneously; no teaching is necessary, and no special arrangements are needed.
On his or her own, the baby who cannot see may barely progress beyond the standing stage. The baby seems to sense that it might be too risky to step out. What is needed is someone who recognizes pulling-to-stand as a teachable
1 Throughout the day, all children have teachable moments.
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