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Nicole Eredics
BY Nicole Eredics
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4 Things No One Tells You About Inclusive Schools

There is quite a bit of research that has proven inclusive schools to be extremely beneficial to students of all abilities.  This research usually highlights several key areas in which students with special needs and typically developing students both benefit from inclusive environments.

Students in inclusive schools are known to form meaningful relationships, have the same learning opportunities and high academic expectations as one another, and learn to respect the diverse nature of humankind.

However, in addition to these very important, key benefits of inclusive education there are several that are not widely known about unless you have worked with or within an inclusive school. Here are some more benefits inclusive school systems that you may not know about:

1. Community

Inclusive schools are known to offer strong educational programs because of the need to reach all learners in the class. In addition, inclusive schools do an excellent job of supporting the social and emotional development of children.

This lesser known attribute is derived from the sense of community in an inclusive school. Since inclusive schools embrace its members despite ability, background or skill level, the members of these school communities enjoy the benefits of belonging, support and stability.

2. Collaborative

Inclusive schools not only include staff and students, but a wide variety of support personnel.  This support personnel helps develop and implement the goals and accommodations of learners with special needs.

Team members must meet, work together, share information and provide results with one another in order to ensure educational success. Students and parents benefit from this collaboration in many ways. For example, there is more than one professional assessing a child’s abilities, and there is vast array of knowledge that goes into program planning.

3. Creative

Inclusive schools are extremely creative. They are creative with their time, resources, staff allocations, scheduling and planning.  With the goal to include all students regardless of their ability level, there is a considerable amount of flexibility and accommodation in educational programming.

Teachers are constantly planning and looking for solutions to meet student needs.  This creativity creates a dynamic and energetic environment for all members of the school community.

4. Continuing Education

Inclusive schools stay informed of the latest developments in best educational practice in order to better the experiences of its students. Teachers and staff are often engaged in workshops and meetings to improve their professional knowledge.

Assistive technology, class materials, resources and new programs are explored and used to make the curriculum more accessible. Thus, the school community truly becomes an institution of learning where all its members actively participate in the education process.

Nicole Eredics

Written on August 20, 2014 by:

Nicole Eredics is an elementary teacher who has spent over 15 years working in inclusive classrooms. She is also a parent, advocate and education writer. Nicole is creator of the blog The Inclusive Class, where she regularly writes about inclusive education for teachers and parents. She can also be found on Twitter at @Inclusive_Class, Facebook at The Inclusive Class, and Pinterest.
  • ChezHelen

    Our local high school has so many options and resources that are just not available in small private schools. There are numerous clubs that meet during lunch or after school and a huge variety of arts options like photography, band, choir, ceramics, cooking, woodworking, mechanics and drama. High school life can be so much more than academic achievement and all three of my kids, not just my daughter with special needs, really enjoyed these options.

  • fcmichigan

    Helen, Glad to hear that your School provides such inclusive options and social activities for your child!

  • Leanne

    I feel that inclusive schools do a better job at educating all of the students because all children benefit from multiple modality learning. Even the student who “gets it” via a more traditional approach gains a deeper understanding when material is presented in a variety of ways.

    • One possibility for enriching every student’s experience in inclusive schools is to create ‘peer group’ discussions. When discussions are facilitated with a list of open-ended and wide-ranging questions, much can be learned by all participants… including the facilitators – IF the questions are designed with respect for what ALL the students are capable of bringing to discussions. Just 10-15 minutes of this type of exercise, a couple of times each week, can reveal surprising layers of insight from all participants. All. Ultimately, these experiences build ‘belonging,’ in the most natural and un-forced sense. We’re all ‘wired’ for empathy — for looking at the world through others’ eyes, and we’re most open to empathizing when there is zero pressure to do so. Peer group discussions can create those enriching opportunities.

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  • Mom of 3

    I agree with your points, but think I it is also important to acknowledge that particularly for our kids with special needs, one size does not fit all. There is value in a special education programs such as the BOCES program/Life skills that can sometimes meet some of the needs a more typical school setting can not. I have 2 children with Down syndrome, and one attends our local elementary school while the other attends a special education school. Both serve each child in different ways, and meet their current needs. I agree that there are great benefits for the staff and other children in the schools where children are included, but it is more important that we don’t put children in these programs at their own expense if they have proved to be the best fit. It should also be pointed out that not all schools do inclusion “well”. In the BOCES program, children are given so many more opportunities to participate in programs designed specifically for them. They are not expected to fit a mold that may not be the best for them.

    • fcmichigan

      Mom of 3,

      I think the author is not discounting the need for special programs. Nicole is trying to explain why schools that have an inclusive nature are the type of schools that will work hard to make sure every child succeeds.

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