Friday, March 9, 2012

Inclusion Doesn't Stop in the Classroom

Ideally, the inclusion of children with special needs should happen at all levels of school life both in the classroom and out. However, given the demands of the curriculum, the experience of the teacher and the philosophy of the school, meaningful inclusive opportunities may not exist in the classroom. If a child with special needs is faced with this situation, there are other areas of the school community where  inclusive opportunities can exist. Keep in mind however, that it may be up to the family to present these ideas to the school staff, as many schools are still learning ways in which inclusion can (and should) happen.  Here are some suggestions for opportunities for you child to be included in school life:

1. Lunchtime Clubs - chess, art, reading, and computer clubs are just some examples of the types of clubs schools offer during lunch or after school. 

2. School Plays and Productions - there are many roles and jobs for students to take in school productions either behind the scenes or on stage.

3. Choir/Band - some schools have their own music classes which offer activities outside of the music program, but districts sometimes offer them as well (which includes all the schools in area). Check with your child's school or district office for more information.

4. Sports Teams - school sports teams generally exist at lunchtime or after school. School districts may also offer district-wide sports teams.

5. School Helper  - students in older grades are often called upon to show leadership within the school. There may be a formal program in which students can participate in such as collecting attendance, making morning announcements, raising the flag, or helping with school assemblies. If a formal program is not in place, making suggestions doesn't hurt!

6. Science Fair - this may be already be a mandatory event for some classes, but if it isn't and your child has an interest in science, investigate ways in which he/she can participate.

7. Talent Show - again, there are many ways in which your child can participate whether he/she has a talent or working behind the stage.

8. Library Helper - librarians, pressured by cutbacks, usually appreciate any extra help or support in the library at lunchtime or at recess.

9. School Newspaper - the school newspaper or school newsletter offers a variety of jobs for students to do such as writing, editing, layout, illustrating, stapling and delivering.

10. Field Trips - in some instances, special education classes might not offer field trips to same locations as other classes. Ask your child's teacher or school administrator if your child can participate in a field trip in which you think would be a meaningful, educational experience. 

Asking the office staff, checking the school website and talking with other parents will also give you insight and information as to what is available for your child to participate in at school. Not only will these inclusive opportunities outside of the classroom benefit your child's social, emotional and intellectual development, it gives others the chance to learn and grow as well. Children and adults then begin to see one other as valuable and contributing members of the community.

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1 comment:

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