abstract / mission / goals

Abstract

The success of inclusion depends on everyone realizing that it involves more than children "just being there." Inclusion refers to the full and active participation of young children with disabilities in programs with typically developing children. For thirty years, research findings and public policies have promoted preschool inclusion as an important element in producing positive outcomes for young children with disabilities and their families (Guralnick, 2001; Smith & Rapport, 2001; Strain, McGee & Kohler, 2001). Head Start has a longstanding commitment to making enrollment opportunities available to children with disabilities.

The Head Start Center for Inclusion will systematically address existing barriers to effective inclusion and increase the competence, confidence and effectiveness of personnel in Head Start programs to include children with disabilities. We are taking the most current research in including children with disabilities as well as the current research on professional development/knowledge utilization and moving it into authentic everyday practice by:

  • providing information, materials, training and innovative web-based learning opportunities on family centered support and evidence-based instructional strategies;
  • implementing innovative professional development in local Head Start programs -supported both in person and via ground-breaking technology;
  • documenting factors in real Head Start programs that lead to the adoption, fidelity, implementation and sustainability of effective inclusion practices through extensive field testing;
  • coordinating with OHS-sponsored training and technical assistance providers to provide ongoing consultation on effective practices to Head Start programs across the country; and
  • disseminating all project work to every Head Start program in the nation.

Project faculty, advisory board and key consultants represent leaders in the field of ECSE engaged in preschool inclusion research for nearly thirty years. We have been involved in national research projects on preschool inclusion, and supporting young children with challenging behavior funded by OSEP and Head Start. We are developers of models of inclusion, and have written books, manuscripts and training materials on evidence-based models for preschool inclusion.

Mission

  • The success of inclusion depends on everyone realizing that it involves much more than children "just being there".
  • Inclusion refers to the full and active participation of young children with disabilities in everyday settings

Goals

Increase the competence, confidence and effectiveness of personnel in Head Start programs to include children with disabilities.