Creating Inclusive Environments and Learning Experiences for Infants and Toddlers
As caregivers, we know firsthand the challenges of meeting children’s and families’ needs in early learning and child care environments. This chapter addresses how we can include all infants and toddlers by nurturing a sense of belonging and maximizing all children’s developmental potential.
Many programs provide inclusive care, where children with disabilities are included with their peers who are developing typically. Furthermore, Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF) reauthorization regulations include children with disabilities as a priority category for child care services (Child Care and Development Fund, 45 C.F.R. § 98.46 (2016).
Infant and toddler caregivers may be involved with families at the time when children’s disabilities and developmental concerns are first identified, and as interventions begin. This process can be emotional for families, but child care providers can offer valuable insight and be supportive partners. They can play a key role by working with children, families, and other professionals in the early intervention process. A caregiver who actively participates in children’s development, learning, and growth supports families in important ways.
This chapter of the Infant/Toddler Resource Guide explores inclusive practices for infants and toddlers with identified or suspected disabilities or other special needs. It focuses on the following topics:
- Inclusion as part of early intervention for infants and toddlers
- Creating inclusive environments and learning experiences for infants and toddlers
- Building relationships with families of children with special needs
We invite you to use this information as a source of inspiration and guidance in your work.
Child Care and Development Fund, 45 C.F.R. § 98.46 (2016). https://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2016-09-30/pdf/2016-22986.pdf
Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act of 2004, 20 U.S.C. § 1400. (2004). Retrieved from http://idea.ed.gov/part-c/downloads/IDEA-Statute.pdf