What does 'inclusion' mean in education and care?
To understand inclusion, we need to understand diversity. Diversity means our social, cultural and linguistic differences – including children’s learning styles, abilities, disabilities, gender, family circumstances and geographic location.
According to the EYLF, inclusion means taking these differences into account in curriculum decision-making, and striving to include every child holistically.
Here at the Victorian Inclusion Agency, we envision a future where all children can meaningfully and actively participate in an education and care service of their family’s choice in their community.
If you work at an eligible education and care service, you can access free inclusion support under the government’s Inclusion Support Program (ISP).
How does inclusion fit into the National Quality Framework (NQF)?
Inclusion is reflected in the guiding principles of the NQF, which states that ‘principles of equity, inclusion and diversity underlie this Law’. The rights of children, and the importance of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures are also written in the guiding principles.
Inclusion underpins each Quality Area. The words ‘every child’ are used 18 times through the National Quality Standards (NQS), implying that every child should have the same opportunities regardless of their age, gender, background or abilities.
In assessment and rating, authorised officers assess how well ‘each child is supported to participate in the program’. Open ACECQA’s Guide to the NQF.
What are the benefits of inclusion in education and care?
All children, parents and educators benefit from inclusive practice, because:
- Children who learn to celebrate diverse backgrounds, languages, abilities, family structures and life experiences will get along better
- All children are recognised as capable and competent learners. Inclusion takes into account each child’s unique strengths, rather than an one-size-fits-all approach
- Inclusive practice creates a culture of respect and belonging for all children.