The Catalyst has been on a seasonal hiatus of sorts, sort of too busy to write about what's been going on. And so much is going on, it's rather a pity not to document it. I pledge to write more, if anybody is still reading!
Concordia University here in Saint Paul (a joint venture between the Center for Inclusive Childcare and Concordia), and I completed some attendant course work, which required me to think about inclusion, and write about it. Of course, inclusion was already on my radar, and I wound-up at the Institute precisely because I'm interested in supporting the increasing number of special needs students that are enrolling here at Dodge Nature Preschool. But putting my experiences and thoughts about diversity and inclusion in the classroom into words was a great excersise and I wound-up even more committed to the mission of inclusion. So, while this is a bit of a cheat, I'm going to crib from my own paper right here in the blog.
Dodge, our theory of inclusion, includes the notion that children have rights. They have the right to express themselves, to get their needs met and to be treated with dignity and respect (the natural world, all of its flora and fauna, basically has the same rights too). We also believe in and practice the theory of “you can’t say you can’t play.” Children may not practice exclusion at school. Although the practice of exclusion seems to be a sort of developmental milestone, kids and teachers must work hard here to prevent any peer from being or feeling "left out." Our approach is to discourage exclusion and to help children find ways to include and incorporate peers in all play and all tasks. This is challenging work.