Early childhood inclusion embodies the values, policies, and practices that support the right of every infant and young child and his or her family, regardless of ability, to participate in a broad range of activities and contexts as full members of our society.
The desired results of inclusive experiences for children, with and without disabilities, and their families include: a sense of belonging and membership, positive social relationships and friendships, and development and learning to reach their full potential. The defining features of inclusion that can be used to identify high quality early childhood programs and services are access, participation, and supports. (DEC/NAEYC, “Early Childhood Inclusion” 2)
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) prohibits child care programs from discriminating against children, employees, or parents based on the fact that the person has a disability. The ADA requires a program to make reasonable accommodations to be able to enroll, employ, or give access to a person with a disability. Only programs operated by religious organizations are exempt from ADA regulations.
To learn more about inclusion and how early learning settings can provide inclusive care for children or to find resources and services available at the state or national level, visit Bright from the Start: Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning Quest for Quality Inclusion.