MIC’s Faculty of Education Take the Lead on Inclusive Education with New Handbook for Parents & Teachers
On Wednesday, 17 February, Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science, Simon Harris TD, will launch a new book from Mary Immaculate College (MIC) that focuses on creating an inclusive early years education system where all children and families can flourish.
‘Leading Inclusion from the Inside Out: A Handbook for Parents and Early Childhood Teachers in Early Learning and Care, Primary and Special School Settings’ is the first book of its kind to provide parents and early years educators in early learning and care, primary and special schools with practical and effective strategies to support inclusion for all children in early years education.
Recognising this critical phase in a child’s education journey, ‘Leading Inclusion from the Inside Out’ draws on the renowned expertise of MIC’s Faculty of Education and the very latest in national and international research on inclusive education. Edited by Professor Emer Ring, Dean of Education at MIC; Dr Lisha O’Sullivan, Head of the Department of Reflective Pedagogy and Early Childhood Studies; lecturer Marie Ryan; and Dr Patsy Daly, former Head of the Department of Educational Psychology, Inclusive and Special Education at MIC, this new publication proposes a more personalised approach to inclusive education that focuses on listening to the child’s voice and considering each child’s strengths and potential.
‘Leading Inclusion from the Inside Out’ highlights the critical importance of placing the child at the center of decision-making and suggests that capturing the voices of all children is a matter of human rights and social justice. It offers a range of helpful strategies to support parents and early childhood educators in meaningfully harnessing all children’s voices at home, in ELC, primary and special school settings.
Other highlights of the book include strategies to support early childhood educators in enhancing communication with parents and families, and ways in which parents can be encouraged to engage in children’s learning. Effective leadership for inclusion is also explored, as well the critical importance of whole-setting and individual planning in ensuring the inclusion of all children. In addition, this book acknowledges that providing equity of access and opportunity for all learners remains a challenge for all education systems globally.
Believing that language is a significant contributor to progressing an education system where all children are valued equally, the authors have directed specific attention to the use of terminology in this publication. According to Professor Emer Ring, Dean of Education at MIC, “The terminology employed is inextricably linked to the power of language to shape our attitudes and the power of those attitudes to transform lives for better or worse. The authors are concerned that a language of deficit continues to be employed in describing children who are perceived to require extra or special inputs in order to progress through our education systems. The reality is that all children learn differently and at the 25th anniversary of the Salamanca Statement, we should be moving to a place where using terminology such as ‘integration’, ‘inclusion’, ‘special’, ‘extra’ or ‘additional’ is no longer relevant or necessary. The continued use of this terminology contributes to maintaining exclusionary practice in our education settings and in the broader society. The authors aspire to a future where the need for specific terminology is eradicated in favour of a system where education for all becomes a reality, and the differences that all of us have are equally acknowledged, understood, celebrated and accommodated.”
Speaking ahead of next week’s virtual launch, Professor Ring said, “The launch will provide an overview of the book as well as providing an opportunity to engage with the responses of a wide range of stakeholders who have reviewed the book, including early childhood teachers in early learning and care, primary and special schools as well as key education stakeholders. We would also encourage parents to attend as the authors hope that the book will be of benefit to parents in terms of promoting and facilitating meaningful partnerships between early years educators and parents.”
She added, “At MIC we are committed to creating a more just and inclusive society. The dynamic and progressive team in MIC’s Faculty of Education is committed to contributing to the creation of an education system where diversity is the norm and where all children are enabled to flourish and achieve their full potential. ‘Leading Inclusion from the Inside Out; A Handbook for Parents and Early Childhood Teachers in Early Learning and Care, Primary and Special School Settings’ is inextricably linked to this commitment and focus.”
The virtual launch will take place via Microsoft Teams at 2.15pm on Wednesday, 17 February. To attend the launch, please RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org no later than Monday, 15 February at 5pm. For further information, click here.
‘Leading Inclusion from the Inside Out; A Handbook for Parents and Early Childhood Teachers in Early Learning and Care, Primary and Special School Settings’ is published by Peter Lang Oxford and is a follow up to the hugely successful, ‘Autism from the Inside Out: A Handbook for Parents, Early Childhood, Primary, Post-Primary and Special School Settings’. The book retails for €25 with all proceeds from the sales going towards an inclusion charity. All those in attendance at the virtual launch will be able to avail of 30% discount which will be valid until the end of May 2021.