In the educational lexicon, inclusion is not a term, rather a philosophy that values and advocates for every child’s right to quality education and learning to develop their skills and realize their full potentials. Research over the past 40 years has demonstrated that inclusive education is associated with improved outcomes for children and students with disabilities. In early childhood (EC) education, inclusive education is in the best interest of all young children to improve their sense of belonging and membership, positive social relationships and friendships, and learning goals. As more EC programs, schools, and educational settings move toward including children with disabilities in general education settings, a need exists to better prepare EC professionals, most importantly EC leaders as gatekeepers of quality to better enhance and facilitate inclusive instructional opportunities for children with disabilities. This chapter focuses on EC leaders’ role in developing, adopting, and supporting inclusive education with recommendations to implement and sustain quality inclusive education practices in EC programs and settings.
Part of the book: Teacher Education in the 21st Century